What you need to know about fad diets from your Personal Training Red Deer team at 360 Fitness.
What do bell-bottoms, Slinky’s, Beanie Babies, and skinny jeans all have in common? They’re all fads.
Just like certain clothes are in style one year and out the next, diet trends come and go as well. Fad diets promise quick fixes and dramatic results through restrictive diet plans that appeal to people’s hunger for something new.
A few of the most popular diet fads include The Zone, Atkins, South Beach, and The Master Cleanse. Other examples you may have heard of include the cabbage, grapefruit, high protein, or liquid diets.
Now let’s get something straight – just because a diet is popular doesn’t mean it’s bad. That’s not the point here. We are talking about fad diets that are restrictive in the means that they are extremely low calorie or in the fact that they eliminate entire food groups (no carbs, no fats, etc). For women, we tend to look at diets that are under 1200 calories a day as harmful if followed more than a week or so and for men its diets under 1500 calories a day.
Thus, when we are talking about “fat loss” diets at our gym at 360 Fitness we don’t like to go below about 1500-2000 calories a day as we know our Red Deer Personal Training members will be exercising at the same time and want to have a good life at the same time.
Like clothing, some fad diets stick around longer than others. This is because they do work…for a time. And if you’ve dieted much over the years, you’ve likely tried a fad diet before. Maybe you had luck or maybe you didn’t, but here’s what you need to know before trying another diet that sounds too good to be true.
They Aren’t Sustainable
The biggest drawback of fad diets is their lack of sustainability. Yes, you can force yourself to do anything for a few days or weeks, whether that means cutting out carbs, slurping down only liquids, or eating really high protein. Diet plans like this do lead to weight loss (mostly because it’s a calorie deficit not because it’s special), but what happens when you get tired of eating such a restrictive diet? When you’ve reached your weight-loss goal, you return to a normal way of eating and the weight you lost slowly creeps back. Suddenly, you’re back to where you started or perhaps even worse off.
They Harm Your Metabolism and Hormonal Production
A drastic cut in calories or nutrition will indeed lead to weight loss, but this sudden shock to your system may harm your metabolism and hormonal balance for years to come. Without enough calories, your body goes into starvation mode and begins to hold onto every extra calorie to save for possible future energy use. This slows your metabolism, putting you at risk for future weight gain. False signals are sent to your hormones, leading to problems such as poor skin and hair health, sleeping problems, menstrual issues, depression, anxiety and weight gain.
They Leave You Fatigued
Fad diets restrict calories and sometimes eliminate entire food groups. Without enough calories for energy and nutrition for health, fad diets can leave you feeling fatigued, hungry all the time, and in a bad mood. You know exercise is an important part of healthy weight loss, but how can you work out when you have no energy?
Sure, you need to be a in calorie deficit to lose weight but at some point, there is the law of diminishing returns when you put yourself into too much of a deficit.
That’s why it’s best to eat in a slight deficit and use exercise to burn the extra calories.
They Cause Stress and Guilt
You may feel relief after committing to a diet plan that promises great rewards and when the pounds start to come off you may feel a sense of accomplishment. But as time goes by you begin to notice new feelings. Cheating on your diet makes you feel shame and failure. Your thoughts are constantly obsessing over food choices and you feel anxious about eating. Food is no longer enjoyable, but a burden to bear. Fad diets set people up for failure and guilt.
They Put Your Health at Risk
Drastically cutting calories or eating only a few types of food can be harmful to your health. Too much protein places stress on your kidneys and liver. Liquid diets and cleanses may leave you malnourished from a lack of essential vitamins and minerals. Other restrictive diets may cause digestive issues, light-headedness, low blood pressure, dehydration, a lack of energy, and muscle loss.
To put it nicely, fad diets aren’t safe or worth your time. So, eat healthily, get plenty of exercise, and get to bed at a decent hour. It may not be a hip new fad, but it will give you the results you’re after.
PS – looking for a program that still delivers results quickly but safely and with a balanced lifestyle in mind? Ask us about our 21 Day Challenge that starts on January 11th! Visit http://360fitness.ca/21daychallenge