Image Credits: Photo-IMS Photographic, Model-Ian Simpson
I visit modeling forums daily. There is one subject that comes up in the forums at least 3 times per week.
That subject is something along the lines of:
"I need to lose weight fast. Do you have any advice?"
I took a few courses on fitness and nutrition in order to fill my timetable in the first two years of university. There, I learned a few things about weight loss and I still have the textbooks and notes from those classes to refer back to.
One of the things that came up when we were learning about weight loss is the popularity of fad diets. The main reason fad diets are popular is because they claim to provide quick solutions to weight problems. People want to believe that a certain diet will work, and they have nothing to lose by trying. However, what they don't realize is that they are enabling the creators of fad diets to capitalize on their insecurities and fantasies. Fad diets are based entirely on marketing gimmicks that appeal to public desires and fears.
Why else are fad diets popular? Why do people resort to fad diets?
~Girls who see slim models in magazines want to become skinny fast
~Women are told that skinny=beautiful
~Men are concerned about not being muscular enough
~Being overweight is a huge problem all over the world
~People want to believe in something because they think they can get great results, which will make them happy.
~People want to achieve desired results without an investment of time and energy.
The bottom line is, people want to be happy, and some will attempt to fulfil that desire for happiness by allowing themselves to be ripped off. Don't fall victim to aggressive marketers. It's amazing to learn that Americans spend 30+ billion dollars/year on fad diets.
The following are the hallmarks of fad diets:
1. Promote quick weight loss. Almost any diet that indicates you will lose more than 2 lbs/week, is a fad diet. The healthiest way to lose weight is by losing about 1-2 lbs/week over a more extended period of time.
2. There are limited food selections. You are told to cut out certain food groups. A healthy diet consists of a variety of food groups and encourages balanced eating.
3. Use of testimonials. First off, how do you know the testimonials are real? I've read about how some people are getting paid to say good things to promote a diet. I could say right now that The Grapefruit Diet made me super healthy and slender, and how do you know that I'm not lying to you? And no, I have never been and will never go on a fad diet (that's the honest truth).
4. It claims to be a cure-all. Not only will you lose weight, but you will also reduce your stress levels, improve your memory and stop the aging process. Wouldn't it be nice if one pill could do all that? Life would be so easy...we'd all just take the pill, stay peaceful, look young, feel happy, and be slim and beautiful.
5. It criticizes the scientific community. For some reason, these diets are miraculous and whatever scientific research shows does not matter. The people who created the diet almost always guarantee it to work: "It's a miracle!".
6. Expensive supplements are recommended. This is so that the company behind creating the fad diet can profit even more from your hopes and dreams. "You must buy Supplement X in order to achieve the maximum results".
7. There's no mention of permanent lifestyle changes. Oh yeah, that's because with a fad diet, weight loss is so easy that you can achieve instant results. Wrong. Although you will lose weight when you go on a fad diet, unless you make permanent changes to your eating and exercise habits, you WILL gain back the weight that you'll have lost and then some.
8. There's no mention of consulting a doctor before going on it.Doctors are the ones that approve diets/lifestyle changes, and almost all legitimate diets/exercise routines ask to consult a doctor before beginning a program.
9. The rigid diet plan does not allow for flexibility. So, forget going out with friends for dinner at your favorite restaurant, and ice cream-don't even think about it.
Remember the old adage:
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is
I hope the above ways will allow you to spot a fad diet, and make good decisions about your weight loss goals. It's one thing to lose weight quickly, but it's another to keep it off for a long time.
In my next article about dieting and weight loss, I will discuss what entails a good weight loss plan.
Thank you for reading, I hope this is helpful.