It seems there’s a new fad diet every few months!
The Blood Type Diet
The Southbeach Diet
The list goes on and on……..and on. I’m FAD up!
With the internet at our fingertips, it’s never been easier to access information about diets and, more often than not, you don’t even have to go looking. It’s there in your social media feed, television ads, the sidebar of your email account. You almost have to wear blinders to avoid it!
They arrive with fanfare, promising fast, easy results. Many of them masquerade as a ‘lifestyle’ rather than a diet… but, really, they’re all the same.
While they seem promising, diets tend to create a vicious cycle
The majority of people who diet end up putting the weight back and then some, winding up heavier than they were before embarking on a diet. In my opinion, this diagram is spot on!
Not only are diets rigid and, therefore, unsustainable but may cause short-term symptoms such as:
- fatigue and low energy
- nausea and headaches
- vitamin and mineral deficiency.
In recent years, science has proven that diets don’t work. The reason for this is many of these diets don’t provide all of the essential macronutrients and micronutrients the body needs to function effectively, let alone sufficient energy to carry out day to day activities. In the long term, starving the body of essential nutrients places stress on the body and may lead to mood swings, depression and anxiety.
How do I know if it’s a fad?
First of all, if you have a legit medical condition or food intolerance that requires you to avoid eating a certain food, I’m not talking about you. That’s not a fad, it’s a necessity.
But if you are regular dieter and your weight yo-yo’s as you launch from one eating plan to the next, consider the following red flags. Fad Diets generally share these characteristics:
- rapid weight loss
- elimination of an entire food group (usually carbs) or rely solely on one food group (ahem… Cabbage Soup Diet. I’m talking about you!)
- backed by sketchy pseudo-scientific ‘evidence’.
- strict rules to follow
Anti-diet Dietician Christy Harrison goes so far as to blame diets for robbing you of life.
Diet culture steals your joy, your spark, and your life.
If this sounds like you, I recommend checking in with your doctor, naturopath or nutritionist regularly to ensure you’re getting all the daily recommended vitamins and minerals. And, perhaps take a moment to consider whether you’re stuck in a cycle. Check out this blog if you’re not sure.
How do I break the cycle?
Registered Nutritionist Dr Laura Thomas is a wealth of information about how to break the cycle and ditch the diets. She’s got a kick-ass podcast (try episode 86 or episode 97) and recently released her first book Just Eat It. And, then there’s London Centre for Intuitive Eating.
Basically, no diet will do what eating healthy does.
I encourage clients to eat a well-rounded diet, teaching them to make sensible choices from all food groups (yep, even the so-called ‘naughty’ stuff). This, together with small lifestyle changes and regular exercise is all you need to remember.