The word “diet” has negative connotations associated with it, and for good reason. Seemingly every day there’s a new diet marketed to the public claiming miraculous results with minimal effort. Time after time, the diets fail to live up to their promises. Let’s stop the madness. Here are the top five reasons why diets don’t work and what you can do instead to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.
5. Unrealistic Expectations
Fad diets promise quick and easy solutions, with a guarantee that you’ll lose weight. Promises of losing 10 pounds in five days, supplements that melt the fat away, low carb, no carb — the list goes on and on. No wonder consumers are confused, but anyone considering such a diet should stop and ask himself or herself, “Do they really work?” The gimmicks on the market have not been approved by a creditable organization, nor should you believe the testimonials. A quality program or diet will provide proof of scientific research performed by a medical or government organization to back up their claims. None of the fad diets provide such research, which in turn should lead you to wonder.
4. Emotional Roller Coaster
The “promise” diets don’t work and affect consumers emotionally as well as physically. There may be a slight weight loss in the first few days, but most of that is from water loss, not fat reduction. Once the diet is stopped, all the weight returns. The bold claims that seem so enticing when you start the diet turn out to be unrealistic and will only result in failure. The emotional toll of failure spirals into lower self-esteem, which can trigger behaviors such as binge eating. Stop the emotional roller coaster and consult a qualified health professional or doctor before attempting to lose weight.
3. Bad Short-Term Effects
Fad diets are nutritionally unsound and can deprive the body of critical vitamins and minerals. Carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals are nutrients the body needs each day for optimum health. Some diets cut out an entire food group, which causes nutritional imbalances and increases the risk of illness and disease. Other side effects of a nutritional imbalance are a decrease in energy, an “edgy” feeling, increased stress and headaches. The deprivation of a vitamin or mineral can lead to unexpected health issues for the dieter, and these health problems can often be misdiagnosed. Unless the diet is a well-balanced program that incorporates some type of physical activity, beware.
2. Dangerous Long-Term Effects
High-protein diets contain high amounts of animal fats, which over time cause high cholesterol, heart disease and weight gain due to the increased amount of saturated fat. Low-carbohydrate diets cause a significant decrease in energy and most unbalanced diets and supplement diets have a negative effect on internal organs. Diets that significantly reduce calorie intake can affect homeostasis, which puts stress on the heart and other organs and can even lead to organ failure. The kidneys and liver are hit the hardest because they work overtime to process the various foods, chemicals and overload of certain nutrients in the fad diets.
1. Skip The Diet, Change Your Life
Adjust your mindset and skip the diet. Change your lifestyle instead. A healthy lifestyle will improve your quality of life both physically and emotionally. Your choice of a new lifestyle will become just that, a lifestyle. It will be “normal” for you to eat healthy foods and exercise daily.
You’ve undoubtedly heard this before, but it can’t be stressed enough that a healthy lifestyle starts with eating well-balanced meals that contain all the food groups: complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, heart-healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, whole-grain products and legumes. Think you’ll miss your favorite cookie or slice of pie? Go ahead and enjoy your treats, but in moderation.
Daily activity is the other component of a healthy lifestyle. Whether it’s going for a brisk walk, running, biking, swimming or horseback riding, do what you love. Join a gym, participate in a fitness, yoga or kick-boxing class, or exercise at home with a variety of DVDs to keep it fun and interesting. Schedule activities into your day as you would a meeting or a play date with the kids. Exercise is a better alternative than any fad diet at reducing body fat, stress, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Most importantly, it keeps your heart working at its best so that you can live a quality, energized life.