The fitness world can sometimes feel like one giant infomercial. You’re consistently seeing advertisements or hearing people talk about various diets that are “supposed” to help you drop weight within a short time period. There’s various shakes, meal plans, and diet pills that are constantly endorsed by celebrities or famous fitness athletes making them seem like something you should be buying into.
Fad diets can be hard to spot but if you look carefully, you’ll be able to tell right away. Fad diets share many similarities, in the sense that they promise a lot of things. They promise “quick” fixes and will promise to drop a significant amount of weight in a very short time. For example, a diet claiming that you’ll be able to lose 10 pounds in five days says that t will also promote super foods or “magic foods” as meal replacements. Many of these diets will imply that their combination of “foods” will be able to change a person's body chemistry. Some fad diets will even try to make you eliminate an entire group of foods (ex. Carbohydrates or dairy). Food groups like these do not necessarily need to be cut out, unless you are told by a doctor or have a specific food allergy. There’s no need to cut them out if your consuming them in healthy ways.
While not all fad diets can cause bodily harm, most can, and the dangerous thing is that people don’t know how much damage they are actually doing to their bodies! Many of these diets are marketed to take advantage of people’s willingness to “try anything” to lose weight, look better, and reduce their risk of weight-related health problems. Problems like diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, gallbladder disease, and some cancers are all targeted diet topics.
A quick weight loss program might sound like a good idea at the time, but fad diets can be way more detrimental than beneficial.
Our bodies are made of 60% water, meaning a good portion of your body weight comes from water. The majority of weight that people drop when losing weight too quickly, is usually water weight. This can lead to quick dehydration. When losing weight in a healthy manner, your body burns calories and excess weight in stages, and if you try and force your body to do it quicker it can start to pull weight from dangerous areas. When losing weight, water should be one of your best friends. Water helps your body function properly and even keeps you from overeating.
Lots of fad diets will have you cut out various nutrients that are important to your digestive health. Many diets with the term “detox” in them can contain substances in them that can actually be laxatives that end up resulting in weight loss that is actually just water weight. After your body has gotten rid of all its water, this can lead to difficulty in the process of digesting future foods. It can also result in constipation.
Fad diets involve depriving yourself of calories and nutrition. These are two things that your body needs in order to function properly. Losing weight in an unhealthy manner can cause your body to go into a constant feeling of fatigue, making it difficult to do everyday tasks.
It’s extremely ironic that something designed to help you lose weight could actually make you gain weight or not lose any weight at all. Many fad diets, if done for a long period of time, are causing your body to suffer from malnutrition. Limiting your caloric intake can make your body go into survival mode. Survival mode means that your body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs to function and is therefore going to hold on to everything it gets. Foods that would usually be metabolized or broken down for energy, may be converted into fat. Just like a squirrel, you body starts to store food as a protective mechanism. So, if you’re looking strictly to lose weight, be careful of these diets.
The process of cycling through diets that promise rapid results can be truly damaging to a person's mental health. Healthy weight loss is something that takes time, it can take months, even years for you and other people to start to see an actual difference. So the idea of rapid weight loss can alter a person’s image of how their body should be fueled and function. Fad diets typically tell the person to decrease their caloric intake and limit certain foods, conditioning the brain to view food in a negative manner. Once a person has a bad relationship with food, this can lead to all sorts of disordered eating problems. These can also be extremely difficult to reverse.
When it comes to food specifically, the key to healthy weight loss is to eat a balanced diet of healthy whole foods. Food is not the enemy. Exercise is also a very important part of weight loss that fad diets tend to neglect. Having an active lifestyle and eating nutritious foods are the two best things you can do for your body.
While we are not dietitians, we are experts in gym equipment and fitness and would love to assist you if you have any questions. Or, if you want to get started on your journey by purchasing any gym equipment, we are here to help. Contact us or visit us in any of our two Texas locations.