Fad Diets and How They Could Be Making You Gain Weight
By: Samantha Steiner
Quick weight loss fad diets are in right now and they have been for a while. Celebrities use them, TV reality stars use them, and they always seem to be glamorized by the media for a fast and effortless way to lose weight quickly. It seems like they are the perfect quick fix. Especially if you have a specific occasion or event coming up such as a wedding, birthday, holiday, vacation, or prom and you need to lose that last 5-15 pounds. Who wouldn’t want to take the easy way out when your event is only two weeks away and you haven’t had the time or chance to eat a well-balanced diet and hit the gym more than once? How bad could these diets be, right? They must work, after all, it seems like everyone you know has tried at least one of them.
There are more fad diets out there than we know what to do with. Two of the worst for you have to be fasting and certain types of restricting fad diets. Fasting diets are obviously never good for you because you’re not replenishing your body with the things that it needs. With restricting, when done in moderation and at well-balanced levels can be healthy for you but that is not the type of restricting we’re talking about here. We’re talking about crash dieting the, “I need to lose 15 pounds to look good in this selfie,” restricting.
There are three types of fasting diets I have in mind at right now; The Water Diet, The Lemonade Diet, and The Detox Tea Diet.
- The Water Diet is exactly just what it sounds like. You drink nothing but water and people do this anywhere from 7-14 days.
- The Lemonade Diet is not really as sweet as it sounds and it does not taste as good either. This diet is considered a type of cleanse made of fresh lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and a maple syrup. Different recipes call for a few variations of the ingredients. You are supposed to drink this cleanse every few hours for 7-14 days and repeat as needed every so often.
- The Detox Tea Diet has a wide variety of teas that help cleanse the body of toxins. Again, you are supposed to drink this tea for 7-14 days and repeat every so often to continuously cleanse the body of toxins.
With restricting diets there are three main categories that people seem to think of first; restricting calories, restricting carbs and restricting to only eating specific food items.
- Restricting calories for quick and rapid weight loss is generally done by eating less than 500 calories a day to an extreme of completely starving yourself depending on how much weight you are trying to lose. One of these calorie restriction diets is called the ABC Diet (Ana Boot Camp Diet) which is really popular among people who are Pro- Anorexia. It’s a complex diet with varying low-calorie restrictions per day. It lasts for about 50 days and five of those days are fasting days.
- Restricting carbs by limiting or eliminating the number of carbohydrates that you take into your body to lose weight quick.
- Restricting to only eating specific foods like the grapefruit diet or the cabbage soup diet to limit what you put into your body is, in a way, sort of like fasting but with solid foods to achieve rapid weight loss result.
These diets seem so simple, right? I would not advise any of them unless you attempt them while you are being monitored closely by a licensed physician. Rapid weight loss in any form can be unhealthy for you. When it comes to losing weight quick fad diets, they can deprive your body of the important nutrition it needs to keep itself in healthy working order. Your energy and glucose levels can crash causing you to become easily tired, fatigued, weak, and it can even greatly affect your moods and hormones making you feel irritable and moody. Your muscles can even break down over prolonged fasting and restricting.
You can actually gain weight after participating in a fad diet since these diets are only meant to be used for short periods of time, which mean you will eventually start eating normally again. Fad diets are quick fixes, they are not lifestyle changes. When you return to eating like normal again you gain the weight back and sometimes that can happen within a matter of days. Fad diets also slow the metabolism down actually making it harder to lose weight. With restricting and fasting the body thinks it is starving and goes into starvation mode and slows down and it tries to hold onto what it’s got left in it. So when we go back to eating normally, the body basically does not know what to do with itself which, in a way, makes it malfunction and it can no longer keep up with the increased food intake.
Ditch the fads. Losing a few pounds now really isn’t worth making it harder to lose weight in the future. It’s not worth risking your health over either. Fad diets really are fads because they’re, here today and then gone tomorrow. This, in all honesty, is probably a good thing. If you want to lose weight and be able to keep it off the only safe and effective way to do that is by eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, and getting lots of exercise.
Samantha is the author of "My Bipolar Mind: You're not alone," she is also a freelance writer, blogger, and mental health advocate who runs and manages her own mental health blog MyBipolarMind.com.