People often will try anything that promises to help them lose weight. They may want to look or feel better, or may worry about certain health conditions. Companies that promote fad diets take advantage of this fact. They appeal to people by promising weight loss that is quick and easy. Many people prefer to try the quick fix of a fad diet instead of making the effort to lose weight through long-term changes in their eating and exercise habits.
Fad diets also are popular because they work for a short amount of time. In most cases, this is because you eat fewer calories than normal. With a fad diet, you also pay more attention to what you eat. However, it’s likely that most of the weight you lose is from water and lean muscle, not body fat. It also is hard to keep up with the demands of a strict diet. Fad diets often limit your food choices or require you to eat the same foods over and over again. After a fad diet, you could end up gaining back the weight you first lost.
FAD: “an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived; a craze”.
I’m sure we’ve all heard of the following diet examples:
- Paleo Diet, also known as the caveman diet
- Atkins Diet
- The Blood Type Diet
- The Cabbage Soup Diet
You have to ask yourself, if these diets are so effective, why are there so many new ones?
Most diets will fail for the following reasons:
- The diet’s requirements were unsustainable (too strict or difficult to follow in the long term)
- The dieter reverts back to old habits after the diet has “finished”
- The sense of deprivation that comes with a diet often encourages binge eating
To lose weight long term you need to follow a sustainable balanced eating plan, eating a variety of healthy foods.
Healthy eating tips:
- Eat plenty of vegetables, legumes and fruit.
- Include a variety of cereals (including breads, rice, pasta and noodles), preferably wholegrain.
- Include lean meat, fish, poultry or alternatives.
- Include milk, yoghurts, cheeses or alternatives.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Limit saturated fat and moderate total fat intake.
- Choose reduced fat varieties of foods where possible.
- Choose foods low in salt.
- Limit your alcohol intake, if you choose to drink.
- Consume only moderate amounts of sugars, and food and drinks containing added sugars. In particular, limit sugar-sweetened beverages.
Some tips that apply to any healthy weight loss plan:
- Eat breakfast every day and don’t skip meals.
- Eat a variety of foods to ensure that you get all of your daily nutrients.
Watch what types of fat you consume. Do not eat any Trans fats. Trans fats come from partially hydrogenated oils and are found in many fried and baked goods. Read nutrition labels as you grocery shop. Limit your daily intake of saturated fat and sodium. Try to eat healthy fats instead of opting for a strict low-fat diet.
The latter typically is higher in carbs.
- Limit the amount of sugar in your diet. High-sugar foods often are high in calories and low in nutrients. They also can lead to inflammation in your body.
- Limit liquid calories by avoiding soda and alcohol. Choose whole fruits instead of juice. Drink plenty of water every day.
Watch the size of your portions.
- Use the nutrition label to determine the correct serving size.
- Exercise on a regular basis. Pick an activity that you enjoy. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes, 4 to 6 times per week.
- Be more physically active in your daily life. Park further away from the door and take the stairs when you can. Get a pedometer or step counter and work toward a goal of 10,000 steps per day.