Ahh, the allure of a fad diet, the one that promises instant results with little to no exercise, on a diet that’s only sustainable for as long as you will allow yourself to be tortured. Yea that diet where friends remove rice off their sushi as carbs are bad in all forms, where people torture themselves to eat nothing but cabbage soup for every meal, or worse go on a week-long juice detox to lose 10 pounds, only to gain it back as they return to normal eating. The internet is full of them and social media sites like Pinterest have become a haven for them, bating people from all walks of life. While some of these diets will give you the desired results, they will not stick forever and cause irreparable damage in the long run (slow down your metabolism).
So what is a fad diet and how do I know if I’m on one? If you are on a diet that causes large amount of weight loss in a small period of time, then it’s likely a fad diet, e.g. a diet that promises you will lose 10 pounds in a week. If you want to lose weight the health way, then plan on losing 1 to 2 pounds per week as it will ensure that you don’t just losing water weight or have any sort of nutritional deficiency in your diet. It is a known fact that eating a low carb diet with high protein and fat generally leads to weight loss, but one has to combine that with a proper exercise regime to see results. Simply cutting carbs completely from your diet will likely just lead to a plateau at some point and may even cause you to binge if you relapse on your old diet. So ultimately choosing a diet that is sustainable in the long run for you and one that doesn’t cause you to make significant sacrifices is the best way to go. Eat clean, add lots of veggies, lean meat and fish to your diet. If you are a vegetarian, then you will likely depend on beans and pulses for protein, which could increase the amount of carbs that you intake as well. But vegetarians generally weigh less than their meat eating counterparts as long as they choose their carbs properly. You don’t need to avoid carbs entirely, just focus on eating the right foods. Fad diets also lead to yo-yo dieting, where you generally gain all the weight you lost, quickly and possibly even more.
Some of the drawbacks on being on fad diet –
- Fad diets are not based on nutrition, which is required for total body health and wellbeing.
- Generally most of the fad diets will lead to lose of water weight and not fat, which is another reason why they are not sustainable.
- They generally lead to a slow or sluggish metabolism, causing you to not only hit a plateau, but eventually gain the weight back on
- Most of these diets don’t fit well into our lifestyle, causing us to either get bored or crave foods that we are restricted, leading to binge eating eventually.
The best thing to do is eat a healthy and whole foods diet that is rich in protein, fiber, healthy carbs and fats. Start cooking at home and add veggies and legumes to your diet along with lean meat and fish.
Some tips for losing weight and staying fit without going on a fad diet –
- Eat a healthy, balanced breakfast to give you energy throughout the morning. Also make your breakfast the largest meal of the day.
- Eat a variety of foods that contain complex carbohydrates, whole grains, lean proteins, vegetables, and fruits. Eat healthy good fats from fish, avocados, olive oil or nuts.
- Stay away from saturated fats from animal sources and Trans fat from any source
- Replace sugary drinks with water, green tea or healthy drinks like Almond milk smoothie.
- Eat 4 to 5 small meals a day instead of 3 large ones. This will rev up your metabolism.
- Allow flexibility in your meals and do indulge in your cravings from time to time to avoid getting bored.
- The well-being of the body also involves being physically active in your daily life and exercising. Make small lifestyle changes like take the stairs instead of the elevator every chance you get and exercise at least 3 to 4 days a week for about 30 to 60 minutes.