Fad diets… Bad diets

Blog Challenge: Op Ed on Random Topic Given. Here we go. 

Fad diets. So yesterday. At least they should be. Fad diets. Bad diets. 

It’s 2015. The day and age of a wealth of good health information everywhere we turn. 

Every single food item in the grocery has a nutrition chart prominently listed on the packaging. Yep, even apples. 

  
Most grocery stores conveniently offer washed and chopped vegetables and fruits, snacks and fresh food entrees. Some groceries also offer health tip sheets and recipes displayed in the fresh food section. 

Restaurants not only list nutrition charts, and calorie counts on their menu, they have diet conscious items listed prominently on their menu. 

Convenient stores now stock fresh fruit, bottled water, and low cal options just as readily available as chips, candy and soda. 

Juice bars and smoothie stands are common in the mall and in brick and mortars. You can hide a pretty big handful of superfood kale in a yummy green juice. There are free recipe booklets for juicing at home. 

There are health and wellness websites, phone apps, food logs, food plans, healthy weight and BMI charts numbering in the hundreds of thousands available for anyone with internet access. There are menu planners, recipe books, motivational materials and more available for free for anyone with public library access. 

The local health department has nutritional advisors on staff for diet plans and personal care. 

Physicians from pediatricians through elderly care routinely advise a healthy balanced meal plan, with regulated portions, to support a healthy weight for optimal overall health. Age, sex, build, height, current weight, goal weight, and medical issues are taken into consideration. The end result is always the recommendation of a balanced diet, portion control, exercise and proper hydration. 

Where did fad diets come from? Why are they still around? Why do people put their hopes into fad diet claims? It’s inevitably one of a handful of reasons:  the dress, the big event, the swim party aka the bikini… One hit wonders of time that lead to the agony of the fad dieting that leads to yo yo dieting that leads to diet epic fails. 

  

Temporary crash diets lead to temporary results, but at some point can lead to permanent problems. The ups and downs of weight lost quickly and just as quickly regained is not good for your overall health. It tears up your digestive system. Sometimes badly. Starving your body by severe restriction, major changes of omitting food groups, even for short periods of time, is not good for you. It can also wreak havoc with your closet as well as your emotions. Restrict your diet too severely and the feelings of failure will be overwhelming when you raid the fridge for real food after two and a half days of fadding. One vegetable soup diet? Baloney. 

  
Weight management, for a lifetime of staying in the healthy category (as opposed to the overweight or obese category), never comes by way of fad dieting or quick fixes. Never. Maintaining a healthy weight is a long haul, big picture process. In a good way. A really good way. It simply means choosing, every day, to fuel and exercise your body for optimal health. It comes with so many benefits. 

The good news is easy to see. Weight loss or weight management isn’t complicated or hard to figure out. It doesn’t cost any money or require log ins or sign ups or fees. It won’t keep you up at night researching or have a confusing chart of nonsense. 

The hard part of dieting or weight management is not the formulation of a meal plan. The hard part is making the decision to alter your diet. 

If you want to change your weight… Change your mind. 

  
Every healthy diet plan for maintaining or losing weight falls back to the same basic guidelines like lean meats, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, water hydration. 

Ready to ditch the crash diets? Ready to ditch the fad and go fab? 

Tips for healthy diets as opposed to fad diets:

  • Love yourself. Love your body. As is. 
  • Be kind to yourself even if you are not at your optimal weight. Positive thoughts breed positive results. 
  • You are in competition with no one but your healthy self. Lay down a challenge for yourself and meet it. 
  • Relax. Find ways to honor your peace of mind. Try to find 30 minutes a day of intentional time to calm your spirit to lower stress hormones. The weight loss will follow. 
  • Find the healthy meal plan that works for your body type. Some people lose weight with fewer overall calories. Some people lose weight with fewer carbs or different proteins. 
  • Fuel up with breakfast, lunch and healthy daytime eating. Restricting food during the day will have your body craving it at night. Late night eating contributes to weight gain and stubborn weight loss. 
  • Exercise. Safely. Regularly. Increase time, repetitions and crosstraining as you go. Safely. Know your body. 
  • Hydrate. Water is your body’s friend. 
  • Make the choice to eliminate junk food, chemicals and processed food, fried food and empty calories. Don’t buy it, cook it, order it or bring it in the house. 
  • Portion control. Look it up. Not only will it help with weight loss, your belly will thank you. Less burps, bloating, gas and emergency trips to the bathroom. Win Win. 
  • Think it through. Want birthday cake on Saturday night? Great! Adjust your Wednesday, Thursday, Friday meals to lighter ones. Hydrate. Add a few minutes to your workout that week. Enjoy every bite. Celebrate. 
  • Use convenient ways to move more. Park farther out in the parking lot. Take the stairs. Walk the dog. Dance in the kitchen. Run through the sprinkler. Move more. 
  • Ask for support from your significant other or parents or best friend. Healthy, positive support (like cooking together or exercising together) as opposed to negative non-support about your choices or your body. Let anyone who is not supportive, who repeatedly tempts you with unhealthy food choices or who points out your chubby bits, know that thanks, but no thanks. You don’t need that negativity in your life. Create a boundary there. A good sturdy one. 

The best thing about a healthy diet is that it carries the freedom of choice. It is ultimately more successful than fad dieting. It’s a great way to feed yourself, enjoy nature and cultivate a healthy food environment. It will make you proud of your every day choices. 

Ready to get started? Good. Take a walk around your local farmers market or fresh food vendor. Look at those beautiful edible reds, greens, yellows, purples, pinks. Beautiful to look at. Wonderful to smell. Tasty to eat. Fill your cart and enjoy! 

  

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