A friend who is five feet tall and weighs approximately 180 lbs is forever jumping in and out of diets, hoping for a quick loss of weight. The difference is no more than 10 pounds (either way) with each endeavour.
We often hear of people following fad diets; so what makes a diet plan a ‘fad’?
The popular term, ‘fad diet’ simply means idiosyncratic diet and eating patterns that promote short term weight loss and hence enjoy temporary popularity. Such a plan usually has no concern with long-term weight maintenance.
Experts agree that fad diets are really not the best way to lose weight. But the bottom line remains that they do work up to an extent, provided one sticks to them long enough. They may, however, leave you malnourished as you may be losing out on essential nutrients.
Being on the verge of being labelled ‘obese’, I researched all sorts of fad diets, hoping for a quick way to shed all the unwanted pounds that are the result of having a lot of soft drinks, fried stuff, confectionaries and the laziest approach to exercise.
The one diet that I feel ‘might’ just work is the “Cabbage Soup Diet”. Relatively simple, the soup can be had at all times during the plan week. You start off with fruits (except bananas), eat your way through veggies with a reward of baked potato (with butter), here and there, graduate to twenty ounces of beef or chicken or fish, all the while gorging on the soup. By this time one runs the risk of puking even at the thought of cabbage!
Having gone through the cabbage soup diet (aka gas powered diet), I decided to look for the next best option. This has got to be something better, I thought.
The “7-day All you can eat diet” seemed heaven sent, until I tried it for two days! Day one is fruits except banana, then veggies, then both; followed by five bananas with five glasses of milk (skimmed, I believe). Days five, six and seven: a three-ounce steak with fresh vegetables.
Try making a three ounce steak and you will understand my desperation!
Promises of a ‘new me’ enticed me to try out 1-day and 3-day diet plans. The former was targeted for a one to two pound loss and the latter offered a guaranteed loss of six pounds, if I stuck with it till the very end. And to top it all, the dieter is expected not to cheat and keep the activity level high. I mean, if I’d kept my activity level high in the first place, why would I need to go on a diet?
The 3-day diet plan is a killer. A very slow painful death for taste buds developed on curries and biryani. That’s my main concern; the diet plans are suitable for people who prefer half a cup of tuna with a slice of bread and like franks at dinner but not for us who love their food for its spices and grease.
Then there is the lemonade diet which is supposed to cleanse your inside as you lose the unwanted pounds. Coming from a very herbal oriented background, I knew about lemon’s fat dissolving properties and decided to check this one out.
Lemonade with maple syrup and hot pepper, yuck! Add to it the fact that this is all one gets in the name of food for all the days that one is on this diet. A salt water flush in the morning, all set to shoot your blood and bladder pressures to the sky, and herbal laxative tea before retiring at night. I think it’s just too much!
The diet plans based on juices remind me of 24 hour fasts with nothing but liquids. Based on yoghurt or skimmed milk, these mainly give around 500 calories a day, making one dizzy (and probably dead) with hunger and fatigue!
Closer to home, herbal teas and waters are all the rage. Priced astoundingly high, do these actually work? A few friends swear they do while others call it to be a waste of money.
My niece went around for three months with her own herbal water (the cost was in five figures) drinking just that and abstaining from confectionaries, cola drinks and chocolates, all the while surviving on boiled rice and steamed veggies. She lost 15 pounds.
There are pills available for weight loss but they take a long time to work with rather unpleasant side effects and need to be used in conjunction with a medically sound diet plan.
Simply speaking, there is no magic diet that will help lose weight. Achieving the desired weight and then maintaining it, requires dedication and hard work.
The bottom line remains: You have to move it to lose it!