by Tracey Shaffer, RDN, LD
We have all seen that friend, co-worker or relative that has recently dropped a lot of weight and fast. When we ask what they did to lose the weight they tell us the latest fad diet and we begin to wonder if that isn’t the way to go.
It’s easy to get caught up in the promise of popular diets but it’s also easy to get confused. Unfortunately, nearly all of those who follow a fad diet with quick weight loss gain all, and sometimes more, of the weight back. The worst part is that because quick weight loss plans tend to cause you to lose muscle, the weight gained back is fat, not muscle, and you end up worse off than when you started.
Fad diets are flashy and they sound easy. But unfortunately weight loss is not easy and most fad diets fizzle. If you want to be a successful loser, evaluate weight loss plans carefully and look for these red flags.
Magic or miracle diet – There are no magic foods or miracle diets that magically melt away fat. What works for one person is not guaranteed to work for another.
No need to exercise – The key to successful long-term weight loss is regular exercise. Simple activities like walking or biking are important for healthy weight and for overall good health.
Easy – Weight loss is not easy. Successful weight loss requires making positive changes to both eating habits and physical activity patterns.
Eat specific foods – No individual food can cause weight loss. Weight loss means sticking to healthful eating habits that include a variety of foods.
Quick weight loss– Studies show that gradual, steady weight loss increases your chances of maintaining a healthy weight. Aim to lose one to two pounds per week.
Lists good and bad foods – There are no good foods or bad foods, just good diets and bad diets. All foods can fit into your weight loss plan in moderation. Look for a plan that you can realistically follow for the rest of your life.
Ultra low calories – Diets with less than 1200 calories don’t have enough nutrients to be healthy. And, a diet very low in calories leads to binge eating and muscle wasting.
You can succeed at losing weight. The key is to be patient and do some research before jumping into the latest fad. Healthy eating and exercise are the only tried and true strategies for losing weight and keeping it off.
A healthy diet begins with breakfast. Get out your slow cooker and have a healthy breakfast waiting for you in the morning.
Tracey Shaffer, RDN, LD is a registered dietitian at the Blue Springs Hy-Vee. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The information is not intended as medical advice.
Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.