Your health and fitness journey is personal, but the pervasive nature of the fad diet culture can really get inside your head if you let it. Nowadays, it seems that everywhere you turn, there’s a new advertisement for the latest and greatest “miracle diet,” promising drastic weight loss and improved health. But are these fad diets really effective? Will you really lose 20 pounds in 30 days with their “secret” list of magical foods? The short answer is: probably not. Fad diets are simply the product of clever marketers preying on individuals who aren’t sure where to turn for weight loss guidance. Here to discuss the dangers of falling victim to these diets are the fitness and nutrition pros at Envision Fitness.


Fad Diets Promote Weight Gain

Yep, you read that right. Fad diets actually promote long-term weight gain, not weight loss. Most fad diets require you to drastically cut your calories to promote rapid weight loss. And, while it may be encouraging to see the number on the scale drop, it won’t continue that pattern for long.


When you drastically cut your calories, your body fights to maintain homeostasis. Your body doesn’t necessarily want you to lose weight, because as far as it's concerned, you’re in the business of survival. To your body, extra calories in the form of stored adipose tissue serve to keep you alive longer. Decreasing your calories significantly for longer than a day or two results in metabolic downregulation and negative hormonal adaptations.


When your metabolism downregulates, you essentially burn fewer calories on a daily basis. Negative hormonal adaptations also change the way your system perceives hunger and satiety, causing you to feel hungry more often, but rarely full. So when you finally lose the weight and attempt to return to a normal diet, your body no longer burns as many calories as it used to, and you’re hungrier to boot.


Unfortunately, this phenomenon only detracts from your weight loss efforts, causing you to pack on the pounds when you’re fad diet is over. Individualized nutrition coaching and customized personal training may deliver less-rapid results, but they’re results you get to keep. Individualized plans are designed to fit into your current lifestyle, encouraging small changes over time. The goal of a customized program is a long-term lifestyle change that allows you to live a healthy, happy, and active life. Remember: Nothing worth achieving ever comes easily!


Fad Diets Limit Nutrient Consumption

Our bodies need a specific amount of both macro and micronutrients to thrive, and fad diets rarely take that into account. To maintain good health, your body needs adequate protein, carbohydrates, and fats, along with essential vitamins and minerals. Any diet that completely eliminates a macronutrient group or doesn’t allow for adequate micronutrient consumption is a disaster waiting to happen.


Consider the ever-pervasive “Master Cleanse” often promoted by big-name celebrities. For ten whole days, the only things you’re “allowed” to consume are spicy lemonade, salty water, and herbal laxative teas. Sounds like a recipe for weight loss, right? But, diets like these, even though they promise phenomenal results, don’t contain any of the nutrients that your body requires. Eventually, your body will fight to maintain its current weight or, worse, you could develop a dangerous nutrient deficiency. Balance is key when it comes to your diet and weight loss efforts, and tipping the scales in favor of extremes never results in long-term health.


Fad Diets Encourage Poor Health Habits

The most successful weight loss dieters are the ones who approach their eating pattern as a lifestyle, not a diet. Research clearly shows that when you make drastic changes in your eating patterns or the foods you choose, you’re unlikely to maintain those changes over the long term. The main problem with fad diets is that they don’t teach you sustainable habits you can consistently implement into your daily routine.


Instead, these diets promote restriction and avoidance of certain nutrient-rich foods, setting you up for an unhealthy relationship with food and eating. Over time, as you continue these patterns, psychological adaptations can occur. Essentially, you begin to truly believe that certain foods are “bad” or “off-limits,” or that you’re only “allowed” to eat x-amount of calories per day. These behaviors are not normal but are very common among individuals who get caught in the fad diet hamster wheel.


To develop truly healthy habits, it’s important to approach your diet with balance and consistency. At Envision Fitness, we believe in community, consistency, and discipline. Fitness and nutrition should be a lifestyle you enjoy, not a chore you dread. Our compassionate and knowledgeable nutritionists will work with you to develop a plan that is specific to your individual needs and goals. And to help you maintain consistency in your workout program, our weight loss fitness classes are a community of like-minded individuals who’ll push you to be your best.


Healthy Living Starts at Envision Fitness

Servant leadership. Community. Empowerment. Consistency. These are the core beliefs behind Envision Fitness. We truly believe that a strong support system is essential for reaching your weight loss and fitness goals. Our team is here to provide you with the community and support you need to be your best, and in turn, you’ll encourage others to do the same. If you’re ready to get started on the path to becoming your healthiest you, get in touch with our team or give us a call at 952.444.2791 today!