Fad diets don’t work. Fact!
I’ve tried them myself, most of my clients have tried them
Sure some of us enjoyed some short term limited success.
But, let’s take a moment to look at the stats:
65% of women who hit their target weight on a fad diet put it all back on again
23% of women who start a fad diet give up within one month
The average woman starts 3 diets per year, diets for 31 years and spends £500pa on diet programmes and products. That’s 93 diet plans (some on repeat of course) and £15,500!
The diet industry is onto a winner here…when someone fails at one diet they’ll try another, and another, and another. Not the best recipe for feeling good about yourself, but a great strategy for diet companies to make massive profits. I mean WW made a gross profit of $0.8billion last year alone! And that’s just one diet programme.
Good news for them. Not good news for you.
What do I mean by a fad diet?
Wikipedia defines it as “A fad diet is a diet that is popular for a time, similar to fads in fashion, without being a standard dietary recommendation, and often promising unreasonably fast weight loss or nonsensical health improvements”
And The Free Dictionary defines is as “weight-reduction diets that either eliminate one or more of the essential food groups, or recommend consumption of one type of food in excess at the expense of other foods”
Unreasonably fast weight loss? Eliminate one or more of the essential food groups?
I define them as diets that massively restrict what or when you eat, cut your calories down to unhealthy levels (in some cases as low as 500 calories per day) and promise short-term (but fast) weight-loss results.
So why don’t they work?
Reason 1 – Drop in your BMR
When you cut your calories below what your body needs to survive your basal metabolic rate (BMR) will drop. And you BMR is the single most important factor in the number of calories you burn in a given day. Over time your body adapts to the drop in your BMR and you have to eat fewer and fewer calories. But when you stop dieting, your BMR is so low that you’re almost certainly going to put weight back on.
Reason 2 – Drop in your energy levels and movement
When you don’t eat enough calories for your body to function optimally your energy levels will drop. That’s not good, but it gets worse. Low energy levels mean you move less. So you will burn fewer calories from general day to day activities something called NEAT (click here to read more on this topic and it’s relevance for weight loss).
Reason 3 – You’re given rules but no education
Many diet programmes tell you what (or when) you should and shouldn’t be eating, but they don’t tell you why. They don’t educate you in nutrition or why their particular programme works. Why? Because if they gave the game away then there would be no reason for you to return (and pay them more money) when you put the weight back on again. If you want to keep the weight off you have to keep on dieting, and keep on paying.
Reason 4 – Your social life becomes difficult
I was chatting to a client the other day who described how when she was on one particular diet she would go out with friends for dinner and she would sit drinking water whilst they all ate. Now I don’t know about you but that doesn’t sound like a fun night out to me!
Often when you are on a fad diet (with all those rules and restrictions) it makes it really hard to choose what to eat from the menu. It makes it hard to eat the same meals as the rest of your family. And you get anxious when someone else cooks for you because you can’t be sure if the meal is within the rules of your diet.
That makes life tough, and pretty miserable. It’s no wonder that 23% of dieters give up within one month!
Reason 5 – Issues with fast weight loss
Fast weight loss seems so appealing and yet it comes with some huge problems.
First off – when you lose weight quickly you are not only losing fat (which is the aim of the game right?) but you will also be losing muscle. Muscle is calorie hungry – it drives our BMR (see reason 1) so if you lose muscle it stands to reason that your BMR will drop. Not only that but when you’ve lost weight you won’t have a lovely toned body underneath because there won’t be much muscle to give you that lovely shape you are seeking.
Secondly, when you lose weight quickly your skin can’t adapt quickly enough to the changes so you end up with saggy skin.
I doubt that lack of muscle and saggy skin was what you had in mind when you signed up for the diet.
So – why are fad diets so popular?
They are cheap – although not if you keep going back time and time again (remember the stats at the start of this blog?)
They’re heavily marketed, with promises of weight loss, and feeling great, and stories of how they’ve changed people’s lives. But you only ever hear the good stuff.
And they promise quick results. Those results make you feel great…until you put the weight back on again.
Can you lose weight without all of these downsides?
Yes you can. But not by following a fad diet.
You do it by following a programme of slow, steady weight loss; 1-1.5lb per week is a good rate for long-term results.
You do it by educating yourself in good nutrition; it’s not as simple as “eat less and move more” I’m afraid.
You do it by finding an approach that means you can enjoy meals out, you can eat the same meals as your family and you don’t stress when someone else is cooking.
You do it by getting a support structure in place so that you don’t quit within a month.
This is exactly what I help my clients with so if you’re interested in finding out if I could help you do the same then drop me an email and let’s chat.
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