I just read another great article: 12 Ways to Spot Fad Diets
Quick Summary: Permanent weight loss takes effort and time. There’s no magic diet, pill, or food that’s going to make you shed weight for good. The article includes key phrases that are often used for these that seem appealing, yet are just not true.
Fad diets have always been a pet peeve of mine. Growing up, I watched my mother, who is an amazing woman, try out diet after diet. Slim Fast (or as she liked to call, Slim Slime). The Grapefruit Diet. The Cabbage Soup Diet. None of these provided permanent weight loss. If she did lose weight, she would gain in back when she started eating normal foods again – hence the term yo-yo dieting.
As a side note, she eventually joined Weight Watchers, where she learned healthy habits and lost the weight for good. And that’s awesome – because there are new fad diets coming up all the time – the Special K Diet; the Hollywood Cookie Diet; Juice Detoxing; Sensa; Hydroxycut….all making big promises that are not sustainable.
One of those key phrases that the article mentions is “Scientifically Proven! Doctor Endorsed!”. This one strikes a particular nerve with me – especially when it’s highly-regarded people making those claims. I love Jillian Michaels, but I HATE that she helped develop a “diet pill”. Though she does not claim that it alone will make you lose weight (she claims it’s all natural and it boosts your metabolism so that when you diet and exercise, you’ll lose faster) – it’s still false promises. Another fad diet with a high-up endorsement that I just recently came across is the Dr. Oz Swimsuit Slimdown. Before every meal, a dieter is to drink 8 oz of grapefruit juice mixed with 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (like Jillian, Dz. Oz claims that this will boost your metabolism) and dieters eat salad at lunch.
It burns me. These people often talk about making healthy lifestyle changes – but then give in to the “here’s what to do in a hurry” mentality that people want to hear. STOP GIVING PEOPLE FALSE HOPE. PERMANENT WEIGHT LOSS TAKES TIME AND EFFORT. IT TAKES WORK. Guess what’s going to happen when you stop eating salad for lunch and eat that fast food burger everyday? I don’t care how much grapefruit juice you drink, you’ll gain the weight back when you fall back into bad habits.
I know – I am no expert, like Dr. Oz or Jillian Michaels – but I am living proof about falling back into bad habits and gaining the weight back. If you can’t sustain the lifestyle, you won’t maintain the weight.
And I realize that I risk sounding like a hypocrite here – as you could lump Weight Watchers and the Zone Diet – both of which I use – in with fad diets (along with all those other well touted ones like the Atkin’s Diet, the South Beach Diet, the Paleo Diet, etc). But here’s the main things that I think they do differently (at least the two that I use) – they teach you healthy habits – especially portion control – and they do not forbid any food. To me, that is THE key for a sustainable lifestyle – being able to eat whatever you want, so long as you eat the proper portion.
I know – talking the talk is easier than walking the walk. Just knowing proper portions doesn’t make a lifestyle sustainable – because I knew I was eating way more of all those yummy, fatty things than I should have when I was dong it and I know that’s why I gained my weight back – but it didn’t stop me at the time. But this time around, I am treating this as a lifestyle and not just a diet to lose weight.
So moral of this soap box: Fad diets are not sustainable. I know they are tempting (I love grapefruit juice – I could really get in to the Swimsuit Slimdown). They’ are just a temporary fix. DON’T GIVE IN TO THEM.