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Losing weight requires a lot of effort and dedication. It’s like running a marathon, where mental strength plays an important role in achieving a physical goal. And you’re likely to “hit the marathon wall” well into the race, when sudden fatigue kicks in and your chances look slim, to word it ironically. So why not run a 100-meter dash, give it your best in the shortest time possible, and get the medal just the same?
Dieting trends are the promise of a miracle, a faster way around all the obstacles. They’re the promise of a medal at the end of a 100-meter dash. There have always been plenty of them and it’s really no wonder – the promise of quick weight loss is naturally alluring when compared to a slow process that requires completely restructuring your relationship with food. Various diets are touted as weight-loss miracles to get you results which will show, and some of them even seem sensible to a large number of people (hence their popularity). We’ve picked them out to show why – and how – they’re essentially doing more harm than good.
Considering this diet has nothing to do with (any) military, the moniker just seeks to evoke an authoritative tone and justify its extreme approach. The Military Diet suggests using a calorie-restricted meal plan for three days, then eating whatever you want for the rest of the week, then repeating the cycle. The three days of restricted dieting present a plan of very small, unvaried meals in bizarre combinations, such as “1 cup tuna, ½ banana, 1 cup vanilla ice cream”. None of this has any scientific merit and the unhealthy approach to food is obvious. But the most dangerous part which makes any diet such as this one dangerous is that intermittent fasting presents a risky cycle for many people. It reflects a very unhealthy emotional relationship with food, where restricting and binging weekly can easily become a habit.
The Master Cleanse is an extremely popular diet that has its variations, so I’ve felt obligated to address it. It involves surviving for 10 days solely on water, lemon, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. It might seem redundant to say this is extremely unhealthy and no way to eat, but many young women (including those who’re not overweight) resort to it as preparation for a big event – just like the celebrities who promoted it in the first place.
It’s dangerous because it results in losing muscle mass, causing the metabolism to slow down. Naturally, nausea and weakness are likely to occur as the days progress, havoc is wreaked on your body, and as soon as you start eating solid food again, the weight comes back, plus a little extra. It’s important to constantly persecute any diet such as this one because they’re somewhat glamorized or touted as “detox diets”. Thus, the same goes for any diet that relies solely on liquids or a single concoction to eat instead of everything else – that includes the Baby food diet and the Cabbage soup diet, among many others.
Created in the early 1980’s by Dr. David Jenkins, this diet does not have a “quick fix” approach like the ones we previously talked about, and a part of it does make sense. It suggests eating foods that have low Glycemic Index value, which are foods that cause a smaller and slower rise in blood sugar levels. Some commercial diets, such as Sugar Busters and the Slow-Carb diet, have adopted this principle. The main goal is weight loss and reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
While it is good to choose food with a low GI ranking (and it’s the only choice for diabetics), the problem with this diet as an approach to weight loss is that foods have a GI value only if they contain carbohydrates. This means that all other foods are overlooked in the guidelines and it doesn’t give a complete nutritional picture. The GI of a food is a relative measure and it doesn’t take into account the amount of food eaten, or its quality (French fries have a lower GI than baked potatoes). The best way to go about it is to choose low-GI carbs daily, but keep in mind the nutritious value of your ingredients – without a strictly prescribed meal plan or diet per se.
There’s more to add to this list, but we’ll save that for some other time. This is enough to point out what’s essentially wrong with diets. If you’re determined to lose weight, keep in mind that, just like running a marathon, you need to be patient and prepare yourself mentally. Most of all, you need to learn to love and appreciate the body you now have – so that you’ll be compelled to take care of it in the best way possible. Because, in the end, weight loss is not about counting calories and the place to start is by evaluating your habits and factors such as your stress levels or health conditions. But it’s so worth it in the end. There comes a point at which the weight loss journey changes and actually stops being similar to a marathon – because you start loving this healthy lifestyle and you realize you’re no longer doing it for the ultimate goal. You’re just living your best life.
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