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Dieting and You

Do dieting schemes have you confused?
Do dieting schemes have you confused?Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

While in a perfect world it would be easy to believe the “one size fits all” diets that are constantly advertised, sadly these have little truth to them. Instead of opting for a diet that looks too good to be true-know that it probably is and save yourself from the anger and frustration of it not working out. Sure, any of these options might work extremely quickly and well short-term, but what are the consequences? Are they maintainable? Do they cause extensive harm in other health aspects? Will you be satisfied? Here are a few things to consider when examining a few popular diets out there.

1. It has the word “Diet” in the name

Yes, all the annoying motivational phrases and health gurus always gush about “nutrition not being a diet-it’s a lifestyle”, but it’s true. The word “diet” signifies that there is a finish line or an end to the “healthy eating”.

2. You only eat one food

This is where the easy part comes in. Any diet that claims you can eat cookies, cabbage soup, or drink lemonade all day, every day is one that should by no means EVER be trusted. For example, the lemonade diet, or Master Cleanse is simply a drink made from lemons, water, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup to last the entire day to replace all foods. Not only does that sound disgusting, but where is the nutritional value? Sure one could argue that water, lemons, and cayenne pepper all have healthy properties, but not enough to sustain a healthy lifestyle or body. And yes, there are people out there who believe that eating cookies or cabbage soup all day is a better idea than eating a variety of foods. No one food can cure an otherwise bad diet.

3. Label claims that no exercise or healthy eating are required

This is quite possibly the greatest red flag in diet fads. If, under any circumstances you are tempted by an ad that claims “weight loss without working out or healthy diet”, run the other way! These are generally products and not food. Taking a pill or powder to sabotage the body’s natural metabolism by speeding it up or redirecting nutrients does more harm than good long-term, and sometimes with awful side effects- although it may help the person to lose weight. In any instance that you feel ready to lose weight, the only tried, true, and responsible ways are to do so include a mindset reevaluation, moderate exercise throughout the week, and more mindful eating from a variety of different foods.

4. It is restricting

Whether the diet restricts calories to the extreme, carbohydrates, fat, or protein, it’s missing the point. Having a healthful diet means having every nutrient group in moderation. Of course no two people have the same requirements, especially when it comes to different goals in weight loss, gain, or maintenance, but the general necessities remain the same in order for the body to function at its best. Many of these types of restrictive diets include the Master Cleanse, the HCG Diet, the ketogenic diet, which is similar to the Atkins Diet, the fat-free diet, and so many more. In any of these choices, will you feel satisfied and want to continue the eating after you reach your goal weight? What will it take to maintain your success and continue progressing? If this is like every February after making New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and the excitement wears off, then maybe this diet isn’t feasible for you. When the body feels too deprived or restricted, it simply overcompensates by giving you cravings or by essentially cannibalizing the muscle stores it already has. If there are not enough nutrients supplied via food, your body will do its best to make them, but at the expense of working harder and potentially causing damage to vital organs, so it is safe to say that restrictive diets will more than likely stress you out both mentally and physically!

The next time you’re considering trying a new diet or taking on a new health kick, consider these thoughts about it. Setting goals and having a deadline to reach them is suggested, but it is what happens once the goal is attained that matters. Will you continue or will you revert back to old ways? What happens when you stop dieting and go back to “real food”? Does the weight add up even heavier and faster than before? If this is a possibility, identify it before starting and ask all the questions you can. The only fool-proof way to losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is to make dietary adjustments for the better and exercise. No one food can make or break a diet-unless taken to the extreme.