If you have ever followed a diet, you must have felt stuck counting your macronutrient intake, while wishing to eat a favorite food. You must have also felt the guilt of eating something that you wanted to, but it was not a part of your diet plan. This led you to think that to lose weight you should deprive yourself of almost all food.
And after all this effort, you may have regained the lost weight.
If this has happened to you, there is a huge possibility that you were following a fad/crash diet.
A fad diet is a trendy weight-loss diet plan that promises dramatic results. These diets are highly imbalanced in terms of nutrients and unsustainable. Some of these can even be very dangerous for your health. For example –
- Keto diet – It is a low-carb, high-fat diet.
- Atkin’s diet – A high-protein, high-fat diet in which carbohydrates are severely restricted.
- Paleo diet – It is also called the caveman diet. In this diet plan, one can only consume the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, consisting chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit and excluding dairy or cereal products and processed food.
- Juice fasting – A juice fast is a period when you only drink juices or sometimes other clear liquids, like water and tea.
And many more of such diets.
Sounds highly restrictive, right? You have one life, why to waste it stopping yourself from eating.
Initially, a diet referred to the food a person or community habitually eats. But nowadays, dieting means eating food that doesn’t make you happy, for the sake of losing weight.
REASONS TO QUIT FAD DIETS
Although fad diets promise magical results in a short time, they can cause many serious health problems.
1. You will always feel tired and fatigued.
These diets highly deprive you of calories, and calories provide energy to carry out day to day tasks. So chances are you will not have enough energy throughout the day, thus feeling tired, fatigued and dizzy all day. Instead of dieting, have a healthy lifestyle instead.
2. You can get digestive problems.
Fad diets make you eat less, and some that restrict carbohydrates deprive people of eating whole grains and fruits too, which are significant sources of dietary fiber.
Losing weight very quickly makes people prone to diarrhea as they lose their water weight, causing dehydration. And eating a low-fiber diet can cause constipation.
Your diet must be such that it provides an adequate amount of fiber.
3. Inadequate vitamin and mineral intake may weaken your immune system.
Since fad diets are highly imbalanced in nutrient intake, they prevent you from consuming enough vitamins and minerals. It may cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies and symptoms. This may have long-term harmful effects on the body, such as weakened immunity or proneness to infections and diseases.
4. They are unsustainable.
It is practically impossible to follow fad diets for life since they restrict almost all food consumed regularly.
That’s where yo-yo dieting comes into play, wherein the dieter is successful in achieving the desired weight loss and stops dieting, but is not able to manage it, so he/she goes back to dieting again, and the cycle continues.
So, your diet should be such that you can sustain it for your life.
Generally, a balanced diet yields the best results in terms of long-term sustainability.
5. They have psychological effects as well.
Fad diets promote eating disorders and obsessive food behavior by making people develop an unhealthy relationship with food. People may feel guilty when they cheat on their menu and may develop a disordered body image of themselves, thereby starving themselves even when hungry (which is an eating disorder called ‘anorexia nervosa’).
People may even feel stressed when they regain the weight lost through fad diets, causing even more psychological damage.
Therefore, it is right to say that “fad diets are a trap, and one must not fall into it.”
HOW TO SUSTAIN WEIGHT LOSS THEN?
It’s not a short-term restrictive diet, but a long-term lifestyle change that works.
- It is advisable to reduce 400-500 calories from the diet without compromising their nutrient intake to achieve healthy weight loss.
- Increase your physical activity. One must try not to stay sedentary for more than an hour.
- No diet will do what eating healthy and mindfully does. Skip dieting, eat healthily.
- Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Everyone progresses at a different rate.
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“Not starvation, but moderation is the key.”