Now more than ever, social media, as well as traditional media are constantly bombarding us with every new diet or fitness regime an A-lister celebrity has picked up. Just a decade ago, you had to go out and buy a magazine to discover what exactly Jennifer Aniston is eating to maintain her trim figure. At that time, it wasn’t much about how a particular diet made you feel.
By definition, a fad diet refers to a diet that’s comparable to the impermanence of a fashion trend. These diets gain traction not because of approval from qualified dieticians but because of false promises of fast weight loss and other delusory benefits.
But has anything changed since the last decade? In some ways, it has, but dieting continues to be a slippery slope. For most, it seems like the ultimate short-cut to achieving the ‘ideal body shape.’ But like any other short-cut, it’s an unsustainable choice that will leave you in a worse position.
Most fad diets fail to look at the larger picture and promise results that are transient, if not completely unrealistic. So as soon as you quit a diet or even accidentally swerve, the fallback is much drastic and noticeable. You may lose a few pounds in a couple of weeks, but the weight often returns. A diet disregarding all standard dietary recommendations is never a long-term solution. Extreme dieting can slow down your metabolism and can even lead to a wide range of health issues, which might not even be covered by your life insurance.
The impact of a fad diet goes beyond just harming your physical health. Dieting has been associated with binge eating, anorexia, and other eating disorders. The inability to comply with the strict regime of a diet has shown to cause self-esteem and body image issues, especially in young women.
Eating and nutrition are very much intuitive. You don’t need an Instagram influencer to tell you to completely cut out sugar or carbs from your diet. Your body is naturally equipped to inform you when you’re hungry. Trusting your intuition is especially essential if you’re had a troubled relationship with food. It isn’t a test of your willpower but a way to get in tune with your body to understand hunger, fullness, and satisfaction.
Furthermore, when you start following a fad diet, it tends to become your universe. A person consumed by diet culture has to think twice before agreeing to any social gathering. Does the menu include food adhering to your dietary restrictions? What if you end up eating more than the specified amount of calories? An overly restrictive meal plan often takes out the fun from other areas of your life. Yes, food is an essential part of your life, but your life doesn’t have to revolve around it.
A special diet is obviously necessary for someone with a gluten allergy or lactose intolerance. Other than that, you may consider going vegan for ethical and environmental reasons. But any diet plan guaranteeing transformation overnight isn’t the real deal. A well-balanced, nutritious diet and regular exercise are a sustainable way to meet your health and fitness goals.
The Bottom Line
On the one hand, social media has brought us together, but it has also managed to make us more conscious than ever of what, when, and how we’re consuming food. Whether you’re considering hopping on the Keto train or give Atkins diet a try, it’s best to proceed with caution. Take time to understand the long-term implications of such diets and consult an experienced nutritionist for better guidance.