Now that the sun has come out it’s the time people start thinking about their summer bodies. Remembering you’re hitting the beach this summer can lead to many temptations to embark on yet another crash diet. Whilst this may seem like a great idea in the short term as your focus will be on the number on the scales declining and your jeans becoming a little looser. It can actually have detrimental effects in the long term. Below I’ll explain exactly why fad diets don’t work. You may be able to relate a little too well with some of the reasons if crash dieting is your usual style. Although let’s work together to put a stop to that and improve your overall health and wellness using lifestyle techniques. If you stick around, I’ll share my top tips for getting into shape ahead of your holiday without resorting to the fad diets.
Fad diets are restrictive by nature, whether you’re cutting out carbs, opting for the low fat variety or even resorting to juicing or maple and lemon water; they all come down to the same thing – you’re limiting your intake of certain foods and food groups. It’s human nature to want what we can’t have, therefore after a period of time on your fad diet you’ll ‘cave’. There’s a common cycle which occurs following this – firstly you’re likely to binge as a result of the limited dietary choices, following the binge the guilt sets in and at this point you feel the need to restart (in a bid to stop the binges) and the cycle continues.
At this point you may be thinking that you can just use your ever so strong will-power where you’re actually missing the fact that the brain chemistry plays a key role in this cycle and will-power isn’t everything.
- Nutrient Deficiencies
Following on from the previous point, restriction leads to minimising the intake of certain food groups which can lead to increased risk of nutrient deficiencies. For example low fat diets can often lead to risks of vitamin A,D E and K deficiencies as these nutrients require fat for absorption and utilisation. As a result you may relate to the feelings of exhaustion whilst on a fad diet. This is simply because your body doesn’t have enough nutrients to be able to maintain its normal everyday physiological function and energy levels.
- Impaired Metabolism
Most fad diets significantly reduce the total calorie intake which can play havoc on your metabolism. Slowing down your metabolism can impair the rate at which calories are utilised as a result you’re more likely to gain weight in the future. You may know someone who’s always on a fad diet and never losing much weight… this can be a result of significantly impairing their metabolism when younger and struggling with their weight ever since. A slow metabolism can make it harder to manage your weight in the future. Consequently starting on a fad diet is quite simply a recipe for a crash!
It’s also important to note that drastically reducing your calorie intake too will increase your risk of nutrient deficiencies and energy depletion. Eating a low calorie diet whilst coping with the everyday tasks of daily life is the same as expecting a car to drive long distances on empty…It will never end well!
- Impaired Gut Health
If you’ve read many of the other Transformation Kitchen and Fitness Company articles you’ll be aware by now that gut health is hugely important in weight management, mental well-being, gut function and even the development of neurological disorders. Some fad diets which reduce carbohydrates can contribute to impaired gut function. This can occur as a result of a limited fibre intake which fails to feed gut bacteria. As a result you may begin to experience gastrointestinal discomfort such as bloating, gas, flatulence and impaired bowel function.
So evidently fad dieting has it’s downfalls and isn’t the smartest way to shed some fat ahead of your beach appearance yet this isn’t to say it can’t be done. Below are some ways which you can slim down in a healthy way.
- Increase your vegetable intake – vegetables are naturally low in energy and high in fibre meaning they’re likely to keep you fuller for longer. Ensure half your plate at every meal is filled with veggies.
- Increase your water intake – dehydration can also contribute to a slower metabolism. Water is essential in order to help carry out daily physiological function. You’re also less likely to mistake thirst for hunger if you ensure you’re always hydrated.
- Increase your physical activity – there’s no denying it that physical activity goes hand in hand with diet when you’re looking to slim down. If the gym isn’t your preferred exercise method try getting off the bus a stop earlier or going for a walk after work. Now that the sun goes down later there really is no excuse!
- Load up on the beans and pulses – these foods are highly underrated! They’re rich in fibre to help promote a healthy gut flora and they’re also relatively low in energy. Much like the vegetables they’ll keep you fuller for longer without the added calories.
- Limit your sugar intake – yes it’s popped up again! High sugar foods really do cause a blood sugar roller-coaster which leaves you feeling hungrier faster and as a result you’re more likely to over consume on foods you wouldn’t have otherwise opted for.
Finally, I recommend starting a little earlier with these tips. Focus on one to start with rather than tackling them all at once! You’ll start to incorporate them into your lifestyle and remember if you want something a little sweeter then enjoy it as long as 80% of your diet is healthy and balanced.