It seems like every time I turn on the TV, there’s a commercial for, or a study on, some crazy new fad diet. And there’s a reason there’s a new fad diet every few weeks — they don’t work. Why, you ask, don’t any of these ridiculously popular fad diets actually help people lose weight? There are lots of reasons, and I’d be delighted to share them with you. Here are a few of the reasons fad diets don’t work.
1. They’re Unsustainable
Let’s face it: even if sticking to the grapefruit or Grape-Nuts or grape-free diet works for you, you’re never, ever going to be able to keep it going for the rest of your life. I’m not doubting your will-power. I’d just saying that changing one part of your diet, and not addressing your entire lifestyle isn’t going to help you lose weight long-term. This is a big reason fad diets don’t work.
2. They’re Unproven
New diet pills scare me, especially when they’re supplements. Why? Because the FDA and the rest of the scientific community hasn’t had a chance to do a whole lot of research on how effective they are, or, even more importantly, how SAFE they are. Remember the Fen Phen scare from a few years ago? Yeah, it worked… but only if you didn’t mind DEATH as a side effect!
3. You Don’t Learn Anything New
Let’s get back to that “lifestyle” point in item 1. In order for a diet to work long-term, you have to learn what you’re doing wrong now, so you can fix it, and move on to your new, healthier lifestyle. Fad diets don’t teach you anything new (except, perhaps, that there are literally hundreds of ways to prepare and enjoy a grapefruit), which is another important reasons fad diets don’t work.
4. There’s No Exercise Involved
A diet without exercise isn’t going to help you lose weight, or at least not the right way: who wants to be a skinny flabby girl? Not me! Adding an exercise regimen to your weight loss plan, along with your sensible, healthy diet will work. Not adding exercise won’t work, and that’s another big, ugly reason fad diets don’t work.
5. They’re Not Designed for You, Personally
Why is it that your best friend has so much success with her diet plan, but when you try it, it just flops? It might be because you two are just plain different. Even the old food pyramid was designed for different people… and so are diets. Fad diets, however, aren’t something you can personalize — yet another reason fad diets don’t work.
6. They Can Be Expensive
Remember when I mentioned sustainability, way back in item 1? Most fad diets are unsustainable and unsuccessful for another reason: they’re expensive! Who can afford all of the crazy stuff they want you to try? Learning new, healthy eating and exercise habits is cheap. Fad dieting is not.
7. The Goals Are Unrealistic
I’m always wary of any commercial for a diet product that starts off with a twiggy, gorgeous super-model walking down a beach. Please. That will never be my body type! Fad diets fail because they help you set completely unrealistic goals, which sets you up for failure. Ugh!
With so many reasons fad diets don’t work, is it any wonder fad diet creators don’t stop trying? Or that we don’t stop buying? I admit I tried the acai berry one… and maybe even Atkins for a while… but they didn’t work. Which fad diet have you tried, and how did it go wrong (or right) for you?
Top Photo Credit: Alex Kafure