Fad diet text

Promises, Promises! Avoiding Weight-Loss Fads

How can you spot a fad diet or weight-loss plan? As with many things, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Fads often promise much more than they deliver, and they can be harmful to your health in the process. From special drinks and powders to restrictive food plans, weight-loss fads seem to be everywhere, especially now, when people might be ready to give up on their New Year’s resolutions.

Fads to Avoid

  • If it says you can lose more than 2 pounds a week, walk away.
  • Does it restrict food groups, such as carbs? Foods across all food groups are necessary for good nutrition.
  • Are special meal replacements such as shakes or bars required?
  • Is it overly strict about calorie counting? Your body needs calories to stay healthy.

There is no magic to losing weight and keeping it off. Before starting any changes to your diet, talk to your doctor to see what nutritional changes are recommended based on your overall health.

Variety, Exercise, and Stick With It

When you begin your weight-loss journey, realize that your excess weight won’t magically melt off overnight. Rather than being the hare who sprints ahead, tackle your goal as the tortoise and continue your healthy diet “race” at a steady pace, undeterred by the daily movements of the dial on the scale.

  • A healthy diet includes all food groups: Fruits and veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein.
  • Include your favorite treats: Don’t stress about the food you can’t have! Just limit it to a few bites or have it less frequently. As Dr. Montenegro, family medicine and bariatric physician tells patients, “If you are eating the right way more than 95% of the time, the other 5% is not going to make a significant difference in the grand scheme of things.
  • Exercise: Find a plan that incorporates the kind of movement you enjoy and work that into your routine. Don’t be ashamed if you need to change it up a bit. Maybe you can’t ride a bicycle as you did years ago, but if you still enjoy it, look into trying an e-bike, which gives pedal assistance when needed.
  • Don’t stop: When you begin eating more healthy foods and exercising, it isn’t just to reach a goal. It becomes your goal! Choosing veggies over french fries or broiled chicken over a greasy burger are healthy diet choices you can make every day. Stay with your plan and keep going!

Talk to your healthcare provider as you begin, and use all the tools provided in the plan to support you in your new, healthier life. Also, check out 9 Principles in Medical Weight Loss for more information on a healthy diet.