Though you’re constantly being told that fad diets don’t work, it might be hard to fight the temptation of a “fast track” weight loss program when the warm weather is only months away. These fast track diets, like the cabbage soup diet, often promise rapid weight loss in a short period of time by simply following a few food rules.
Diets that make these promises might sound too good to be true, and that’s because they are. While most of these diets advise you to resist your cravings, the only thing you should be resisting is the temptation of choosing one of these diets in the first place.
Before you fall victim to another fast track diet plan, carefully read the following reasons why these “quick fix” temptations should be avoided at all costs.
1. Rapid Weight Loss Will Not Be Permanent
A healthy rate of weight loss is about 1-2 pounds per week, as compared to diet plans that promise a 10 pound weight loss in 7 days; it’s no wonder people are tempted to choose the latter. The important thing to keep in mind in order to resist the fad diet temptation is to think long term rather than short term.
It might be hard to do this when you have a specific goal in mind, but the best advice is to forget the number and make “healthy” your goal and the weight will come off effortlessly. The reason why rapid weight loss isn’t permanent is because the rules diets provide cannot be sustained over a longer period of time. Therefore, when you stop the diet, the 10 pounds you lost in that one week immediately return.
2. Slows Metabolism
Eliminating certain food groups and restricting your calories is actually counterproductive for weight loss. The reason is because your body cannot differentiate between calorie restriction for weight loss purposes and calorie restriction due to starvation.
Therefore, your body’s main goal when experiencing calorie restriction is to prevent starvation and it does this by pumping the breaks on your metabolism. When your metabolism slows down, you begin burning less fat and holding onto more of it, hence, the weight loss plateau. This is why dieting goes against biology – your body is actually fighting against you when you are trying to lose weight.
3. Requires Unhealthy/Unrealistic Efforts
How realistic is it to eat cabbage soup every day or completely cut out all sources of carbohydrates from your diet? Not only are these diet rules unrealistic, but they’re unhealthy and not sustainable. Diets guidelines can only be carried out short term, which is why your results only last for a short period of time.
When it comes to losing weight and keeping it off, you want to engage in healthy eating habits that can be followed throughout your lifetime. Rather than following a regimented fast track weight loss diet, focus on simply increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables, incorporating whole grains where you can, choosing leaner cuts of protein and eating a balanced breakfast every morning. Small, slow changes are what benefit your weight and your health for the long term.
4. You Lose Less Fat with Rapid Weight Loss
Though you might be seeing a lower number on the scale, that number is not reflective of what is really happening in your body with rapid weight loss.
It is biologically impossible to burn 10 pounds worth of fat in such a short period of time. Often times what your body is getting rid of first is water and lean body mass – two things you do NOT want to be getting rid of. It is important to hold onto your lean tissue because the more lean muscle mass you have, the faster your metabolism is and the more fat calories you burn.
5. Rapid Weight Loss Plans Have Unpleasant Side Effects
If you have ever dieted before, you know that restricting calories and fighting your food cravings is not exactly a pleasant experience. Common side effects of decreased food intake include moodiness, inability to concentrate, feelings of fatigue, dizziness, headaches and stomach pains.
Experiencing these unpleasant side effects of dieting is your body trying to tell you that the way you are eating is not optimal for your health. Weight loss should be making you feel good and energized, not fatigued and irritable.
6. Fast Track Weight Loss Leaves Little Room for Exercise
Exercise is an important piece of the weight loss puzzle in that it helps you burn extra calories, build fat burning lean muscle mass and release mood boosting endorphins. Fast track weight loss programs don’t usually include exercise because, well, restricting calories and decreasing food intake leaves you little energy to do so.
Engaging in regular exercise along with healthier eating habits that eliminate strict food rules is the best combination for long term weight loss success. This is something that should definitely be considered if you are someone who enjoys daily exercise.
7. Slow and Steady Wins the Weight Loss Race
“Slow and steady” is a general weight loss rule of thumb that you should always keep in the back of your mind. If something seems too good to be true, most of the time it is.
Though you may not want to hear this, permanent weight loss takes time and cannot happen overnight, or even in a single week. Make one small change at a time and focus on achieving overall health rather than a specific goal weight. Paying attention to how eating healthier foods and exercising makes you feel, rather than making it a job is the mindset you need to have for losing weight and keeping it off for good.
Hopefully this gives you enough reason to say no to the next fast track diet solution that comes your way. Even though summer is only months away, you will be surprised at how much change you will see in yourself by simply switching focus away from a strict meal plan and towards general healthier eating habits.