Weight loss fads are all the rave but there are things about these diets everyone needs to know. In this article, we dive right in and look at ways to transform the best bits of some of the most popular fad diets into something safe, but effective.
There's no doubt that the most popular trends in nutrition, are weight loss fads. The problem is, most of these "crash diets" don't preach slow, steady, long-term weight loss. Instead, these fad diets promise to help you shed weight fast so you can look and feel your best for big life events like your graduation ceremony, or your own wedding.
Another problem with entering into weight loss fads is, many people aren't always aware that the methods are often extreme and potentially damaging to their health. They also go in expecting their health and body to be transformed forever which, in reality, is not how it works.
But, for example, after learning what a healthy diet looks like through MyPlate, you can be properly informed about what elements and aspects to adapt to your own diet for a safe slim down road to healthy weight loss.
What's the secret to dropping weight fast without risking your health?
Get Your Head in the GameThe first step is to take inventory, and ask yourself:
- Do you want to shed just a few pounds?
- Can you stick with a moderately restrictive eating plan that may leave you hungry?
- Are you okay with returning to your old weight when you go back to old eating habits?
A Critical Look at Short-term Weight Loss Fads
The Grapefruit Diet
- What it is: Moderate versions of this diet recommend eating a grapefruit before a smaller-than-usual meal. Extreme versions replace meals with grapefruit.
- Pros: Water-rich fruit has loads of flavor and fiber per calorie, and it's a simple and straightforward diet to follow. Grapefruits are generally cheap and easy to find.
- Cons: Diet quickly gets boring. The extreme version is missing essential vitamins and macronutrients. Often results in food cravings and intense hunger.
- Healthy diet hack: Eat water-dense fruit before meals. Add variety by venturing beyond grapefruit to oranges, grapes, and watermelon.
The Master Cleanse
- What it is: Replace all meals with a tall glass of water spiked with lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and just enough maple syrup to make it edible.
- Pros: Adds water and intense flavors to your diet. Hot pepper may stimulate the metabolism. Inexpensive easy-to-follow diet. May result in dramatic weight loss.
- Cons: Incredibly restrictive. Protein and other macros? Healthy fats? A wide range of vitamins? Forget it. It's challenging to stick with this diet due to hunger pains and malnutrition. Much of the dramatic weight loss comes from intense, prolonged diarrhea.
- Healthy diet hack: Drink a glass of water with lemon before meals. When seasoning food, replace salt with cayenne pepper.
- What it is: Replace one or more meals a day with a beverage of blended fruit, vegetable juices, and nut milk.
- Pros: Hides the flavor and texture of vegetables, for people who dislike them. Some recipes can, surprisingly, be tasty. Rich in vitamins and minerals. Meals can be drunk on the go.
- Cons: Equipment and some ingredients can be expensive. Fiber has been removed so you will likely become famished. Can be low on some macronutrients. Creating the juices is time-consuming.
- Healthy diet hack: Smoothies! Drop the ingredients from an appealing Juicing recipe in the blender. Add nutrient-rich foods like spinach and create a tasty snack or meal rich in vitamins, minerals, and filling fiber.
See also: The Best Fad Diets with Healthy Diet Hacks.
Putting it TogetherNational guidelines from the CDC suggest losing a maximum of two pounds a week for healthy weight loss. For this, you'll need to create a deficit of 1,000 calories a day—though these don't all have to come from a diet.
For safe, healthy, and long-term weight loss, aim to trim off 500 calories from your food. Water-rich fruits and low-cal shakes can help keep hunger at bay while replacing high sugar or processed foods with smaller servings of fresh meat and veggies can still lead to delicious meals without leaving you hungry. Make up the other 500 calories by getting active in whatever form you enjoy. Whether it be dancing with friends or cycling to class.
If two pounds a week isn't going to cut it, get rid of extra water weight. The culprit? Salt. The solution? Swap salty seasoning with cayenne pepper and herbs and drink at least eight glasses of water a day. For a greater challenge, follow the CDC's tips to slash salt use.
What if you didn't meet your weight loss goals? Then you have an opportunity to do something more daring: be kind to yourself. You went on a dietary journey and learned what does and doesn't nourish your body. So go out and celebrate on your special day no matter what the size label on your outfit says. You've earned the right to have your moment—so enjoy it!