Fad diets are often marketed as the quickest route out of pounds-ville – have you noticed how they tend to change from one year to the next? – and it’s little wonder anyone looking to shed weight fast is always turning to them.
These lose-weight-fast diets could come in different shapes. Juice cleanses. Soup-only diets. The paleo diet. The ketogenic diet. The whole 30; these are all fads. You can also throw intermittent fasting in there.
Most tend to come masked in the “100% money-back guarantee” promise. And why would they not? Fad diets do work. Well, at least they try to! If they promise you will lose 20 pounds within six weeks, chances are you will get within a ballpark of that figure.
But that’s just about where the fun ends.
Why you should avoid Fad Diets
Short-term diets could see you lose a couple of pounds within, uh, a short time.
However, it’s best not to even get into them because not only will you regain this weight down the line, but you will also pack on some additional unwanted pounds, condemning you to eternal misery.
In other words, you will end up worse than you started.
Funny then, how people are always excited and intrigued by the latest fad diet on the market, certain that it will work wonders.
Some will argue that you can always start another diet before you gain the weight again. You can. But weight cycling, exposing your body to many short-term diets, has ramifications of its own.
If, for instance, your body is prone to being overweight, weight cycling will only serve to aggravate your inclination to obesity.
Long-term dieting can inhibit weight cycling. But the problem with long-term dieting is that when all is said and done, it is not any better than abstaining from any diet at all. The reason is that you only manage to shed just a fraction of a few pounds a year.
Fad diets lack sufficient vitamins and minerals essential for total body health which, could in turn, negatively affect your overall well-being. In essence, what these regimens do is ask us to purge certain foods – often whole food groups – from our diet.
Fad diets tend to be based on some kind of ludicrous eating plan or liquid diet that fails to address some of the underlying issues that result in weight gain. This is one of the reasons they make to reliably poor remedies for long-term weight loss.
Spotting a Fad Diet
You can tell a fad diet from the real deal by asking yourself a few questions:
- Does the diet promise unrealistic weight loss within a short period of time?
- Does the diet promise you will shed pounds without any exercise?
- Does the diet totally warn you against certain foods?
- Are there particular foods for this diet that you are required to buy at a special store?
- Does the diet categorize foods as “good” and “bad”?
- Is the plan temporary?
Any of these questions can be a surefire sign that you have a fad diet on your hands.
Fad diets tend to employ some very rosy language. We have all seen those classic marketing gimmicks along the lines of “Lose 20 pounds in 14 Days!!”
In all truth, this is not a healthy way to lose weight. It has never been.
Losing Weight sans Fad Diets
The secret to lifelong, aka healthy, weight loss is to assess your eating habits. After all, this is the reason we keep piling on those pounds in the first place!
Losing weight the right way calls for incorporating calorie-burning activities while making conscious eating decisions.
Here are a few proven changes that can help you lose weight naturally:
Watch your portion sizes
One of the most effective ways to lose weight effectively is to cut back on your portions.
Eat only until you are satisfied and avoid stretching beyond “that point”.
Don’t skip breakfast
There is nothing like starting your day on a nutritious meal. It helps replenish your glucose stores in the morning, which helps stabilize your insulin levels.
Avoid the drive-through and opt for homemade breakfast instead. A protein and good fats combo (for e.g. eggs and avocado) constitute healthy. Here are a few more ideas to get you started.
If you are one of those who doesn’t have the appetite in the morning, try a healthy smoothie or liquid shake.
Choose less sugary drinks
Opt for natural drinks like fruit juices and smoothies instead!
Pack fruit for a snack
You could be consuming healthy meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but if the snacks you take in between include chips and candy, you are not doing yourself any favors.
Substitute the unhealthy snacks with fruit which will give your body important nutrients while naturally regulating your glucose (and energy) levels.
Choose lean protein
Fish, chicken, turkey and vegetarian protein sources like beans and tofu contain less fat compared to other proteins.
Consume more whole grains
Whole grain food sources are more filling than their refined counterparts.
Instead of cookies and pastries, opt for whole grain bread, brown rice, whole grain pasta, and high-fiber cereals.
Make fruit and vegetables a staple
If you are not eating enough fruit and vegetables, you need to increase your servings by making either or both of them a regular feature on your meals (and as snacks).
Tweaking your eating habits in small, practical ways is the way to go. It will not guarantee you instant results as you may want to see, but that’s just how life was designed to be: a marathon; not a sprint.
If you can, try fitting exercise into the equation for best effect.
It doesn’t get any more natural than that.