With the different dieting trends out there, it is important that people be informed of their actual effectiveness and potential dangers. People should also learn that there are alternative options.
There are good diets, and there are crazy diets. I am talking about fad diets that promise you will lose ten pounds in a week. In case you were wondering, that is impossible to achieve. If you do manage to lose the weight, it is certainly water weight, and it will come back.
There is a trendy diet in Latin America that requires you to eat tuna and vegetables only. For seven days, you can only eat veggies for breakfast and lunch. For dinner, you can only have tuna.
The diet gets boring pretty quickly. Eating tuna for seven days straight is not only unhealthy but also disgusting. Despite that, those who follow the diet claim that they have lost up to seven pounds in a week.
Few sane people are willing to sacrifice themselves that way to lose some pounds. Also, this way of eating is simply not sustainable. Nobody can live on lettuce and tuna for the rest of their life.
Eventually, people give up and go back to their regular diet. Because their diet was likely unhealthy in the first place, they gain the weight back. At that point, they realize that they spent weeks feeling miserable and smelling like fish for nothing. The same concept applies to other “miracle” diets such as the cabbage soup diet. Let’s be honest, who can manage to survive on cabbage for more than a couple of days?
Another common strategy involves replacing meals for protein shakes. Slimfast is known for its shakes that make you feel satiated. In all honesty, I find this method to be extremely effective. After all, you end up consuming fewer calories. You may be replacing a 500 calorie meal with a 150 calorie drink. If you cannot lose weight doing that, then I do not know what to tell you.
My issue with meal replacement is that, again, it is not sustainable. It works, but people cannot spend the rest of their lives drinking chocolate shakes. And when they quit, they gain weight again.
There seems to be a pattern when it comes to fad diets. They help you change your appearance, but results do not last. Results do not last because fad diets do not change your way of thinking and behaviors.
For weight loss to be sustainable over time, people need to change their relationship with food significantly, and that is not easy. Food takes an important role in our lives since we are little. We eat when we are happy, sad, or angry; we also eat when we want to celebrate something.
While it can be challenging, it is achievable. I have learned from different therapists and dieticians that keeping a food journal is an excellent way to start changing patterns of behavior. So, take your favorite notepad, and start recording everything you eat, including drinks. Also, keep track of how you felt when you ate each meal.
Before going to bed, go over your journal and determine whether you made good or bad choices that day. Also, evaluate whether your moods influenced what you ate. For example, some people eat more carbs and sweets when they are sad.