With so much emphasis placed on outward appearance today, it is no wonder that everyone is perpetually striving for perfection. We are constantly chasing that “skinny moment” – we all want to get thinner faster. And to make matters worse, the media bombards us with images of near-skeletal models, presenting them as aspirational.
We all want to look like the models in the magazines. Well, I’ll let you into a little secret: so do they! Most of the pictures in magazines today have been digitally altered to remove pimples, freckles and even a few centimetres. They are not a representation of reality, and yet they have the power to make us feel bad about ourselves. That is why so many of us fall for the false promises of fad or crash diets. None of these are effective diets. Yes, you might lose lots of weight in a short time, but I promise you you’ll gain it all back – with interest! Think about it, no one is better off after a crash.
Why fad diets don’t work
- They are not sustainable
We go ‘ON’ a fad diet knowing that after 2 weeks we will be forced to come ‘OFF’ of it. Fad diets are restrictive. Healthy Diet Plans are not. They often omit certain foodgroups from your eating plan and most likely you are not allowed to eat your favourite foods when ‘ON’ the diet. And when you are denied something, you are more likely to overindulge the moment you are allowed to have it. It’s like holding your breath under water. Sheer willpower will work for a while, but when you are finally forced to come up for air you will gasp! The same thing will happen when you come ‘OFF’ the fad diet. You will gasp for your favourite foods and take in as much as you can.
- They have a negative effect on your metabolism
If you lose weight too quickly (more than 1 kg per week) you are probably losing musclemass too. And although you may feel positive when you see the numbers on the scale, they are in fact negatively impacting your body. As we lose muscle our metabolisms slow down. Eventually our bodies ‘out-smart’ our diet and learn to function perfectly ‘normally’ with less food.
- They make you feel horrible
Ask anyone who’s been on a fad diet and they’ll tell you the same: it’s no fun being on one. You feel hungry all the time. You feel deprived. You feel ‘left out’. Food is monotonous. You feel isolated from you family. You have no energy. You feel depressed. Your cravings get worse. You wish your life away, counting the days until the diet ends.
How to identify a fad diet or nutritional quackery:
- Excludes an entire food group
- Encourages the use of pills or supplements as essential to its success
- Makes dishonest, unjustified or unreferenced claims
- Not practical for your lifestyle
- Discourages exercise
Remember: If it seems ‘too good to be true’ , it is!