You should steer clear of fad diets for the sake of your mental and physical well-being. Fad diets can help you to achieve significant weight loss very quickly, but you most probably won’t keep the weight off, and being on a diet can be hellish. With so little to show for so much time, effort, and hunger what is the point? You could lose weight by setting yourself a realistic weight-loss goal and trying to achieve it by making changes that you can actually carry on with because they slot conveniently into your routine. Fad diets offer a short, sharp shock to the system as they are a complete break from your usual routine, so that suddenly all you can think about is food – how much you are ‘allowed’ to eat, when you next get to eat, and all those foods you aren’t supposed to have.
This doesn’t exactly sound like a healthy approach to weight loss, now, does it? Fad diets can help you lose weight since they aim to get you to cut calories from your diet by choosing very low calorie foods and cutting out all foods containing a more substantial amount of calories. However, even though weight loss requires you to reduce your calorie intake you still need to ensure your body is getting the right nutrients, and so you shouldn’t simply cut out carbohydrates, for instance, because they contain more calories than fruit and vegetables. Carbohydrates are essential for a healthy mind and body, and if you don’t get enough of the complex variety your energy levels will be low, you may feel hungrier than usual, and you will probably experience mood swings.
When you start a fad diet you can feel good as you know that you are making an effort to change the way you look, and so feeling hungry can be a reminder of what you’re trying to achieve. For most people, though, the hunger is only welcome for so long before they start craving a range of foods that their diet prohibits. If the body is in starvation mode, which it will enter if it is receiving less than 1,200 calories daily, the calorific options are regarded as the most preferable as your body is crying out for calories. Soon you are craving sugary and fat-laden foods and sometimes you are unable to resist the urge to give in before you have even reached your weight-loss goal. If you give into temptation you might decide to resume your diet the next day or simply abandon it altogether.
Either way the diet will come to an end at some point, whether you reach your goal or not, since fad diets are designed to promote quick weight loss. If you manage to reach your goal, though; what then? If you have been living on cabbage soup for the past few weeks you might decide to ‘treat’ yourself with food containing lots of calories, which is only meant to be a one-off but soon becomes a regular habit again. You end up regaining the weight you lost and feel extremely demoralised because of it, leading you to seek comfort in more food. If your body has been starving it will decide to store any excess calories as fat, preparing itself to be able to cope with any future periods of starvation, and so you could end up weighing more than before you started your fad diet.
It is therefore advisable to steer clear of fad diets, as they may result in short-term weight loss, but they won’t change how you think about food or help you to keep the weight off in the future. The only sensible way to lose weight is gradually, over time, by adopting a healthier diet and getting more exercise.