Many Americans struggle with losing weight for many reasons. Losing weight and keeping it off can be a real struggle. Fad diets tend to gain popularity—particularly with the advent of social media—and many patients hop on the fad diet train after reading comments from a friend, or subjective news or medical reports that may or may not have a basis in truth. While it’s true that many fad diets can be a quick fix and help you lose weight fast, many of them can also be harmful to your health and lead you down a path that you can’t maintain. Losing weight is only half the battle—when it comes to dieting, keeping it off is the other half. Read on to learn more about fad diets, why you should stay away from them, and what a balanced diet looks like if you want to lose weight healthily.
Fad Diets Can Cause Health Problems
One of the main reasons that fad diets can cause health problems is because they leave out key ingredients or food groups that should be a part of everyone’s diet (unless there is a medical or moral restriction to restrict certain food groups). For example, diets like the keto diet and the Atkins diet eliminate most, if not all carbs, while the raw food diet eliminates quite a few different types of foods. Depending on which fad diet you chose, fad diets can cause many health problems, including:
- weakness or fatigue
- lack of vitamins and minerals
While these may not seem like extreme medical problems at the outset, for example, lack of minerals and nutrients can lead to issues such as osteoporosis, among other health issues. Not eating right for an extended period of time can affect everything from muscle strength to mental health.
Follow These Simple Strategies
There are a few things to consider as you begin a weight loss journey. One of the first things to do is to contact your physician or doctor before you start any type of diet or weight loss plan. Your doctor is the best person to point you in the right direction when it comes to weight loss.
It’s also essential to be able to spot a fad diet. Of course, one clue is if it’s suddenly a popular buzzword on the internet and you see posts about it on every social media site. But judging every diet by that would actually exclude some legitimate weight loss plans. Anything that promises that you lose weight “quickly” or calls itself ‘magic” is likely a fad diet. These short-term diets are going to be the ones that do more harm than good. Also, certain labels may clue you in to the fact that it may be a fad diet. Modifiers like ‘high-protein” or “low-calorie” should alert you to the fact that certain foods or food groups may be excluded from the menu.
The best thing to do when it comes to dieting is to practice portion control, eat balanced meals, and give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs. However, in some cases, your doctor may prescribe a special diet or advise different weight loss procedures. It’s always important to listen to your doctor’s advice. Many available weight loss procedures are not invasive and can help jump-start eating more healthily and keeping the weight off. For those that are severely obese, this may be a viable option.
Lose Weight the Right Way
Balanced meals and portion control are both keys to losing weight and keeping it off. There’s no reason to eliminate all sugars, or all carbs, or stick to a high-protein diet. Generally speaking, your body needs nutrients from all of the food groups regularly. Keep in mind that carbohydrates provide your body with fuel, so eliminating them completely can throw you into limbo. Doctors typically recommend a balanced eating plan, with the following foods being listed as essential:
- cereals and whole grains
- pastas, rice, noodles
- low-sodium choices
- lean meat, fish, and poultry (or reasonable alternatives if vegetarian)
- dairy such as yogurt and cheese (or reasonable alternatives)
- vegetables, fruits, and legumes
Also, there are foods you should avoid. For example, it’s wise to avoid as much saturated fat as possible, as well as to limit your alcohol intake. Sugars are also carbohydrates, but too much sugar is directly linked with many different types of health problems, including type 2 diabetes. So, it is wise to limit your sugar intake. This is one of the instances where practicing portion control is ideal. You don’t have to cut out sugar completely, but limit how much of it you’re consuming. The same is true of processed foods, saturated fats, high-sodium meals, and alcohol.
How you eat food is also important. Chew your food slowly, stop eating when you feel full, and don’t eat immediately before bed. Your doctor can likely help you with other advice with healthy eating to help you not only lose weight, but also feel better.
If you need more information about weight loss or would like to be seen by a physician, request an appointment at NEW You Weight Loss. We offer four different weight loss procedures: ORBERA®, the AspireAssist, ESG, and bariatric revision.