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We’re socialising again, Christmas and parties are on the horizon and we’re all feeling a little more self-conscious after a year of staying home and comfort eating. We’re all getting ourselves into a frenzy of the extra pounds we’ve put on and panicking we need to lose it again before this and that. However, we’ve been here before. Not a pandemic- well some have, but crash dieting to hit an ideal weight quickly.

We spoke to The Association of UK Dieticians (BDA) who advised that fad/crash dieting is an all-too-common occurrence, especially on the lead up to special occasions like Christmas. But fad, or yo-yo dieting can have detrimental impacts to your overall health and wellbeing. We speak to them a little more about this to look at what fad dieting is and alternative choices you can make for a healthier lifestyle.  

What is a fad diet?

Fad diets

Basically, a fad diet is where you’re eating a very restrictive diet for a short period of time and will often lose weight very quickly. But most people get fed up with the restrictions they bring, or stray for a special occasion, start eating more, or choosing those less healthy options and pile the pounds back on quickly.

Some of the misleading claims to watch out for…

  • Magic supplements, ingredients, or products to help you loose weight without changing your lifestyle.
  • Promising rapid weight loss of more than 2lbs of body fat a week.
  • Advised to avoid or severely limit a whole food group, e.g., dairy or wheat without any medical reason or guidance to do so.
  • A recommended detox or avoiding foods in certain combinations.
  • A focus on appearance only rather than health benefits.

The impact of the fad diet

These diets simply don’t work. They may provide a short-term gain but has huge long-term implications. Not only are you likely to put as much weight back on, but studies have shown you’ll be more likely to add more on. Additionally, yo-yo and fad diets have been linked to higher morality, and morbidity rates, particularly coronary heart disease as well as implications to mental health and overall life dissatisfaction.

Additional health issues associated with a poor diet:

  • You’ll be more dehydrated- the first thing to go is water weight and you could end up severely dehydrated. This can lead to diarrhoea and constipation.
  • You’ll be more fatigued as you’re not getting the energy your body needs.
  • You’ll lack nutrients and vitamins from restrictive diets which can lead to poor body function.

The basics to weight-loss

Balanced lifestyle

It seems obvious but the only way to lose weight and keep those extra pounds off is to make healthier choices, eat a nutritionally balanced and varied diet with appropriate portion sizes, and being physically active- you can’t do one without the other.  

Healthier habits to form:

  • Keep a food diary to track your habits.
  • Have regular meals, starting with breakfast.
  • Choose lower fat foods
  • Fill up on vegetables and fruit at meals and choose as snacks and for desserts
  • Monitor your portion sizes
  • Aim for at least 30 minutes daily, moderate activity. Build up to 60 minutes if you can.
  • Be realistic about weight loss, aim to lose 1-2lbs per week.
  • Speak to your GP about your intention of weight loss for support and guidance – they can advise based on any existing medical conditions.

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