Sometimes it’s fun to jump on board the latest trend, but when it comes to fad diets you might want to consider skipping out. Not only do fad diets not work, but they can cause long-term harm to your health. UCLA looked at 31 different diets that lasted 2-5 years and concluded that 30-60% of dieters regained all the weight or more! Not only that, but weight cycling has been shown to increase the likelihood of death by coronary heart disease by 66%. Now you might be thinking, how can I improve my health in a healthy way? Studies show that losing 5-10% of body weight will strengthen your heart, lower diabetic risk, reduce strain on blood vessels and posture, and help your breathing! There are easy ways to make sure your weight loss journey is healthy and maintainable!
Why Fad Diets Don’t Work
Most fad diets are based on elimination or deprivation of the body. Any diet based on restricting specific food groups, combining foods in a specific order or timing, or following rigid menus each day are typically unsustainable and harmful to your health. Such diets show quick results, but not because you are losing fat. Fad diets target fiber, lean muscle, and water weight loss. This type of weight loss causes deficiencies to nutrition, dehydration, and fatigue. Additionally, fad diets often focus on only caloric intake, but do not emphasize the importance of exercise and healthy lifestyle choices.
Healthy Ways to Lose Weight
Focusing on healthy behaviors rather than a number on a scale may encourage feeling healthier. Other health benefits, such as a strong heart or decreased blood pressure, will help to keep you motivated on your journey. You can also think about using other healthy goals as a measurement of your weight health. For example, working toward a 5K instead of focusing on running to lose weight provides incentive, accountability, and a healthy mindset!
Think about what a stable and healthy weight looks like and how you can avoid weight cycling. Weight control is often a natural product of a balanced nutritional diet. Fad diets provide quick but unhealthy results that make it impossible to keep weight off long term. Instead, focus on eating a healthful balance of foods that satisfy you. Instead of cutting out food groups, focus on healthy substitutions that satisfy the craving yet provide healthy nutrients for your body.
Another tip for stable weight control is to act in moderation. Rather than denying yourself, enjoy your favorite food or a sweet treat in moderation. When you crave chocolate and fruit simply isn’t cutting it, indulge by eating 3 pieces of dark chocolate, a healthier option to overly sugared candy in bulk!
Finally, don’t underestimate the importance of exercise! While healthy food choices contribute heavily to health, exercise is an important component of building a healthy lifestyle. Find physical activities that you enjoy and can look forward to doing in your everyday life.
You’ll be surprised how manageable your weight loss journey is when you combine fun physical activities with delicious and healthy food!