For most people the first thing they think of with the new year is New Year’s Resolutions. When you tell yourself, “In the new year I am going to eat better and workout”, do you even know how to accomplish that goal? If not, you’re setting yourself up for failure before you even start. I’m going to help you spot the fads so it doesn’t turn out bad.
We all need to know that losing weight and keeping it off requires a long-term commitment and still, even savvy dieters can occasionally be tempted by the quick weight loss promised by fad diets. As each new “lose weight fast” gimmick comes along, people forget about the negatives associated with fad diets. From a lack of nutritional value to food restrictions that are hard to live with, most people might not know if the weight-loss plan they’re considering is a fad or a program that could be helpful over the long term.
Beware of magical claims and passing promises. It’s human nature to be attracted to fad diets, which promise quick and easy results. Weeding out fad diets takes a bit of effort because there is no standard definition of a fad diet. Here are some of the red flags that indicate a weight-loss plan is an ineffective fad diet:
– The diet promises that you will lose weight at a fast or unrealistic pace.
– The claims sound too good to be true.
– The diet’s recommendations little or no reputable research at all.
– The diet’s recommendations seem extreme.
– Statements made about the diet are refuted by reputable scientific organizations
– Personal testimonials are used to “sell” the diet.
– The fad diet involves crash dieting, or very intense reductions in eating and drinking.
Why do fad diets become the rage? Many factors can fuel their popularity; celebrity endorsements being a major influence. Who doesn’t want to be as slender as the pop-starlet on television? In this age of instant gratification, there is a natural temptation to fall for weight-loss plans that promise quick results in weeks rather than months, it’s especially tempting when endorsed by your favorite celebrity.
The “elimination mentality”, the belief that cutting out certain foods will result in quick weight loss, plays into popular beliefs about dieting. Many of these diets promote elimination of one or multiple food groups for a set number of days or in very specific combinations with some sort of gimmick. Many people relate misery and deprivation to dieting and are more willing to accept this type of weight-loss plan, at least for a brief while.
Many fad diets only work for a short time, usually causing you to drop pounds due to reduction of water weight. The fad diet may succeed at jolting you from the grind of mindless snacking and eating junk food on the run and skipping all the calories and fat-packed extras like whipped cream in the cappuccino or grabbing a slice of pizza on the way home. Just making these lifestyle adjustments is usually enough to see some weight loss. Unfortunately, many fad diets do not meet the nutritional needs of most people. There are some signs that a fad diet is not healthy for you, like muscle cramps, dizziness, confusion, fainting, dehydration, constipation, diarrhea, mood changes, and constant hunger.
People who are on medication or have chronic health concerns must be especially cautious and should always talk to a doctor before trying any new diet. There could also be psychological consequences to fad dieting. Fad diets set the individual up for failure; when the diet fails, the dieters may blame themselves and develop a feeling of demoralization or hopelessness, thinking that they are unable to lose weight. This can make it harder to make the healthy changes needed for long-term weight loss.
One of the most effective ways I’ve found to eat right is to make healthy eating a game. After all, what’s the point of living healthy if you aren’t enjoying it? So, that’s where these 4 healthy eating activities for adults come into play.
1) Secret Ingredient Week
The goal here is to try eating a new, healthy ingredient each week to expand your horizons and get a broader variety of nutrients into your diet. The next time you’re at the grocery store, buy a healthy new ingredient you’ve never tried before (vegetables, fruits, spices, legumes, etc.). When you get home, find a recipe that features that ingredient and cook it up. This is a great activity for family bonding because you can choose the recipe and prepare it together.
2) Favorite recipes
Set aside some time one evening or on a weekend. Gather up your favorite cookbooks or pull up your favorite recipe website. Choose recipes from these sources that you’ve enjoyed in the past. Ideally these recipes should also be straight-forward and easily put together; they should include ingredients you typically have in your kitchen.
Now put those recipes into a spreadsheet, don’t forget to include the source). If the recipe is online, make sure you copy and paste it (cite the source) into a document because you never know when a website will disappear without warning; it would be a shame to never have access to that recipe again, wouldn’t it?
The idea behind this activity is to compile a list of recipe ideas so the next time you’re scrambling to find something to make for, you can just consult your list.
3) Label-reading Mogul
If you want to get better at reading food labels, this healthy eating activity is for you. It’s quite simple: go into your cupboard, choose a product and read the health/nutrition claims on the front of the package (e.g. “low fat” or “all-natural” etc.). Ask yourself: how does the claim make you feel and what do you think of when you see that health claim? Now, turn the package over and read the ingredient list. Do any of the ingredients surprise you? Do you know what the ingredients are? If you don’t recognize an ingredient don’t be afraid to look it up to find out what it is. One of my favorite resources for understanding food additives is the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s comprehensive list of ingredients. This kind of practice will help make you more aware of what’s in the food products you buy.
4) Daily Mantras
This healthy living activity will enable you to better identify and overcome emotional eating. First, identify triggers that contribute to your emotional eating. The next time you find yourself eating for emotional reasons, write down what was happening right before you began eating. Do this several times and you might discover a pattern.
Second, create a mantra to repeat to yourself when you’re triggered. Try to keep your mantra positive and focused on something that’s the right fit for you and your personal triggers. The more customized it is the more effective it will be. Start repeating this mantra to yourself on a regular basis so that it will be easier to recall when you are feeling triggered to eat emotionally.
Now, the working out part: just do it with no excuses. You may walk into your room or a gym to work out and think “well, I don’t know what to do, so I will just sit here and play with my phone.” Put that phone to good use and search the web for beginner exercises; you’ll have an entire list in front of you to help get started and no excuses to fall on. My favorite excuse: I can’t because I don’t’ have a leg. Modify what you know and look up what you don’t. There are lots of resources to help you, especially on-line where you can look in to different training options. I can even give you the name of a great personal trainer who does online training AND is an amputee: Jenny Pollreis at Pollreis Personal Training. Excuses only hurt yourself and here are hundreds of them; I can help you throw them all out the window. We have already gone through too much pain, why do that to ourselves again?
Remember, eat better and start a workout regimen and be sure to check out the video accompanying this blog on YouTube here for more info and tips on nutrition. I’ll check on you next month to see if you are sticking to your resolution. In the meantime, visit our Facebook page at Facebook.com/rushfoot. Make sure to LIKE our page and visit regularly for upcoming blog posts, informative videos, and to meet and chat with all your favorite RUSH® Rebels, ReBELLES and Rascals.