I am in the business of health, do not get me wrong, but I am here to sell a lifestyle, not a product. I want people to eat healthy! I do not want to take advantage of uneducated individuals, that is not my philosophy or personality at all. I want to see people succeed and it kills me when I have clients that choose not to work with me anymore because they are not getting fast enough results, and they go join some weight loss challenge or start a fad diet or some other quick fix, and it goes back to the yo-yo dieting where it all began.
Losing weight is not always easy. Sometimes we might take two steps forward and one step back, and that is ok. It takes time to develop new habits. Many of us have developed these habits over 30, 40, or 50+ years and it is hard to change. Fad diets usually are programs that is to be followed for a few weeks, not a lifetime. The reason being, is usually because they are not sustainable. Unfortunately, many people do want the quick fix, they want the satisfaction right away.
Although, I will have to say, people are very confused about nutrition, and that is one of the very reasons fad diets exist. If we all knew how to eat, there would not be any diet or nutrition books. I do believe that many people might feel out of control and are unsure what to do and where to start. Some of the fad diets can be very regimented which can make people feel more comfortable because it takes all the guesswork out.
One of the most common features of a fad diet is rapid weight loss. Any program that is promising more than 2 pounds per week is one that is probably extremely low on calories. At this point, we tend to lose water weight, not fat. and if we are going too low on calories, that puts us at risk for a loss in lean muscle mass. Our body will start to metabolize our muscle if we do not eat enough, no matter how much weight we have to lose, especially if we are chronically taking our calories well below 1200.
If we tend to get in the habit of starting a fad diet to jump start our weight loss, it may eventually lead to weight gain if we continue to do it over and over, never getting to where we actually want to be. In the long term, keeping the weight off is more important than getting there quickly. The best way to wean off of fad diets and start moving toward a healthy weight and lifestyle is through small changes. Below are my favorite tips:
1.) Move. Exercise 4-6 days a week, even if it is just a few minutes at a time. Eventually work up to 20-30 minutes and even longer. But just getting in the habit of parking farther away from the grocery store, taking a lap around the office every hour or so, and just making a conscience decision to be more active.
2.) Set one or two small goals per week. More than that is overwhelming, and that is why most people do not stick with a particular diet. This will help gain confidence, and do not expect to succeed at every single goal per week.
3.) Drink more water. Many times we may confuse our thirst for hunger, and that may cause us to overeat. Invest in a water bottle and carry that all day long, making a choice to be more aware of water consumption.
4.) Eat fruits and veggies. Try a new fruit or veggie every week. It is probably likely we have not tried every single fruit or veggie at the supermarket. Find out what tastes good and what doesn't. We never know what we will like until we at least try.
5.) Allow for treats. Enough said. When we label foods off limits we tend to treat it as a bad food, and I like to steer away from that mentality. When we allow ourselves to have certain foods whenever we want, we do not carve them as often.
So, after I have presented this info, I hope we can all finally consider giving up on the fad diet mentality, even if it takes time. The constant up and down is not good for our mental health, our metabolism, and our bones. Please consider investing in a healthy lifestyle, not a quick fix!!
Photo Credit: Shutterstock