Why Crash Diets Don’t Work – Mentally and Physically

Crash Diets

It’s January. It’s that time of year when all the new diets are featured on every web site and magazine out there. You may be tempted to try the latest and greatest fast, cleanse or diet that eliminates almost everything from your plan. Crash diets are in full swing in the New Year, promising fast weight-loss in a very short period of time by cutting calories down very low. Typically, next to the explanation of the diet, you will see someone who has dropped 20 pounds in two weeks. It sounds so tempting, but how do they affect you?

Crash Diets – How Do They Affect You?

Mentally, they are tough. 

Crash diets are hard mentally for many reasons. First, the expectation is typically unreachable. The old saying goes, “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.” They can set you up for failure because “results aren’t typical” may be posted at the bottom of the ad, but you likely don’t look at it. When you don’t reach the unreachable goal, you may feel frustrated or even depressed.

Second, severe restriction can be hard and sometimes next to impossible. Crash diets come with a set of very specific rules and factors. For many, these are very difficult to follow and can lead to disappointment.

Physically, they are tougher. 

By drastically cutting calories and specific foods from your plan, you are at risk for developing nutritional deficiencies along the way. Nutrients like iron, B12, Potassium and Sodium can be lacking in severe caloric restriction. As you drastically cut calories, your body also won’t feel great. Food is fuel and cutting too drastically will leave your body starving for energy. Many feel tired and run down. If the diet you choose is lacking protein, your body will begin breaking down muscle for the protein you need.

Lastly, let’s think about long term. When the diet is over, what happens to your weight? Typically, when you begin eating “normal” foods again, you will find that your weight will go right back to where it was before.

What’s the right option?

It can be tough looking for the right nutritional plan to follow because there are so many out there. There are many options and plans which work differently for each person. Be wary of any diet that promises the key to weight-loss or a miracle cure. Focus on a long-term healthy eating plan you can follow for a lifetime. A healthy diet is part of a healthy lifestyle that you will follow long term. Seek medical advice and discuss with your doctor what the best plan may be.

Look for the following when looking to make a balanced diet:

  • Plenty of water
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Lean protein sources
  • Limited portion sizes
  • Increased activity

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2017!

Sarah Muntel, RDAbout the Author:

Sarah Muntel, RD, is the Bariatric Coordinator at Community Bariatric Surgeons in Indianapolis, IN. She has 15 years of experience working with bariatric patients and loves to watch people as they change their lives and improve their health. Her favorite part of her job is her weekly support group. In her free time, Sarah enjoys spending time with her husband and three children. 

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