There’s been fad diets as long as time. They make the promise of better looks, more energy. Significant results, fast. They’re enticing, appealing, and sometimes they just might seem doable.
They’re all essentially the same. They all have a set of rules that you have to follow. Some have you buy their product exclusively, others give you a specific shopping list or a set amount of calories you can have.
In theory, it sounds great. In theory, all you have to do is eat by these specific rules and you’ll become perfect. How hard is it really to change your diet? All you have to do is get through the first few weeks and then you’re good. It’s all smooth sailing to a perfect body and a clear mind.
THE HARM IN FAD DIETS
I’ve tried out a fad diet. I did whole30 and I didn’t even make it through the whole thing.
In all honestly, I felt amazing. I actually did. I even lost a couple pounds within the first week and following the rules wasn’t all that bad.
The issues we ran into were with my husband. The diet turned on him and made him feel sick. He had no energy, he couldn’t think, and he had headaches that practically paralyzed him.
That’s the problem with fad diets. They’re not focused on the individual.
You see, in whole30, you cut out carbs and sugar. It doesn’t sound like that would be bad for anyone, but we’re all created differently. We all need different things to function.
It turned out, Ian needed carbs which we quickly figured out and quit the diet.
But these diets, obviously, frown upon quitting. If you quit, you’re not giving yourself time to get your body used to it. If you quit, you have to tell everyone you quit. If you quit, you’re a quitter and you’ll never lose weight or be healthy.
That’s the other problem with fad diets. The mentality.
There’s a lot of pressure when you decide to start a fad diet. I’ve heard people’s complaints on fad diets of how terrible they feel throughout the whole thing, never realizing that if they’d just stop and accept their body needs something they’re not getting, they’d be healthier than they are on the diet.
It’s hard to quit once you’ve started and really, unless you’re a nutritionist, you won’t be able to tell if your bad feelings are part of the process and you need to stick it out or if they’re seriously harming you and you need to stop immediately.
THE MINDFUL APPROACH TO FAD DIETS
Because our bodies are all so different and we all need different things, I think it’s important to take a mindful approach to dieting. The healthiest thing for all of us is to be extremely intentional and informed when making big changes to our lives, even within the food we eat.
Realize we all need different things
Food is really just fuel for our bodies. We’re not all made the same, we have different needs and different body types. There are a few general rules we can follow with our diets, but when thinking about fad diets, there’s no way of telling if it’s going to be good for you or not before actually trying it.
When approaching fad diets, I don’t think it’s wrong to try, but don’t be afraid to let it go. Not every diet will work for everyone just because it worked for someone. No one should give you a hard time for being healthy. Even if it means dropping your diet and having cake every once in a while.
Understand that some of these diets are meant to be done with professionals
Because our bodies are all different and information spreads these days is like a game of telephone, it’s important to make sure you have a clear understanding of what a diet is supposed to be used for before deciding to take part.
The Keto diet, for instance, was originally crafted to help children with epilepsy. They are finding it may be a really great resource for neurological disorders with a side effect that happens to be weigh loss, but it was never meant to be specifically for weight loss. It was always meant to be done under the advisement of a doctor and there are many body types that could have extremely negative consequences to starting this diet unsupervised.
In general, it’s good to have all the information for a diet and to proceed with caution when making extreme changes to the food you eat.
Accept that we’re not all meant to be model thin
Yes. It is super annoying that some people can eat a whole cake and be a size 0. I get it. I get it because I was that and now I’m not.
First of all, healthy is healthy and that is not determined by what size you wear. It’s determined by whether or not your doctor says you’re dying. Forget sizes, forget pounds. Forget outward appearance altogether when thinking of dieting.
For some of us, we’re not meant to be small. It’s not an invitation to become unhealthily obese, but it is an invitation to realize that size does not matter as long as you are healthy.
So when you’re thinking about dieting, don’t do it to become a specific size or weight. You may not get there, and if you do, it may not be good for you. If you’re super concerned, talk to your doctor about it. If your doctor says you’re healthy, learn to love the body you have.
While zero can be a beautiful number, it is not the only beautiful number.
Remember, The best diet is simply eating better
Over the course of time, there have been new findings on super foods and foods that kill. Every time, if you’re watching close enough, you realize that there are 500 different perspectives on these discoveries.
Avocados are not meant to be eaten exclusively every single day. Even doctors can’t give a general answer for how much of anything should be consumed in a day because we’re all different.
The best we can know all on our own is how we feel when we eat certain things. We can try and give ourselves a more plant based diet with less processed food, but we don’t have to take anything to the extreme.
If you are very concerned with your health, you can see a nutritionist to get a better understanding of your specific dietary needs. Otherwise, just remember: everything in moderation.
For the most part, fad diets are a great way to get you thinking about your nutrition and to start looking into healthier options for the food you’re eating. It’s true that some food out there just isn’t great for us.
Organic food is generally better for us, food that hasn’t been processed is generally better for us, but it’s really easy to be tricked on all levels. Different regulations for different countries, using certain words to make something appear better than it really is, clever marketing that makes us think our food is something it’s not.
Marketing tricks have become clever and the only way to truly know what’s good for you and what isn’t is to do your research and proceed with caution.
When in doubt, just remember moderation. It really is key.
Photo by Daria Shevtsova