Fad diets have been around for, well, for as long as we have decided that dieting to lose weight was necessary. I mean there’s been the cabbage soup diet, Atkins, Mediterranean, Caveman, Low Fat, South Beach, Paleo, High Carb, Low Carb, High Fat, Keto, No Dairy, and the list goes on. But seriously, do these work, should we consider the latest fads? Well, unfortunately there is no easy answer.
First, yes, these diets (fad or not) work. Mostly temporarily, unless you are able to stick to it. Whenever you give up a particular food group or significantly reduce it, you are most likely taking in fewer calories, thus you will see success in losing some pounds. That is how these things work. For example, when you follow a low carb diet, you are eliminating refined carbs (those that aren’t good for you anyway) and replacing them with fiber rich complex carbs (veggies). These carbs have less calories and will keep you full longer. And typically on a low carb diet you are also eating more fat (only the good kind like olive oil, seeds, nuts and avocado), and more protein…again these things keep you full longer, thus you consume fewer calories.
Second, no, these diets (fad or not) don’t work. It is difficult to cut out a total food group or significantly reduce a food group. So thus it is a hard thing to stick to. And some of these diets are super restrictive. Like the Atkins diet, you cannot have carbs (like whole grains or fruit). The end result is you don’t stick to it and the weight you might have lost comes back.
So, what do you do? You have to find what will work for you. What lifestyle change can you make so that if the goal is to lose weight and keep it off, is something you can stick to. My advice of course is to not go crazy and eliminate a whole lot of food groups. I do suggest to reduce the amount of processed foods as much as you can. Read labels and see what is in the foods that you are buying. If there are a lot of ingredients that you cannot pronounce, then I wouldn’t buy it. Aim for foods in its most natural state. Fresh, is always better.
Here is my best advice:
- Eat your carbs (try for the ones with the most fiber like berries and whole grains) in the earlier part of the day when you need energy.
- Drink water – try for a minimum of ½ your body weight in oz. of water
- Keep a food log – and track how you feel each day based on what you eat – that way you will know what foods work best for you
- Meal Plan and Prep – this (regardless of your diet) can make a huge difference because you have planned out your meals and prepped (especially snacks) so you don’t have to make a decision later
- Don’t beat yourself up or give in because you overdo it or make a poor decision for a meal or snack. It is ok. It doesn’t mean you totally messed up. Just get back on track and keep moving forward.
- Get an accountability partner. Doing this with another person or others can keep you motivated to keep at it. After about 3 weeks, you will have made this new lifestyle a habit.