It seems like everywhere you look, there’s another fad diet in the news that is challenging you to try it out for some weight loss results. Recently we saw a challenge from Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez, issuing a 10-day challenge of no sugars and low carbs. We also have seen Chris Pratt go on talk shows and talk about following the biblical diet of Daniel, where he went 21 days without meat, sugar, and booze.
However, just because these celebrities are touting these diets, does that mean you should, too? It’s the old “if all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it, too?”
Why Diet Challenges Don’t Work
While there are a lot of positives for the diets described above (and nutritional plans that are similar to them), since going on a low-carb diet and cutting out sugars is a healthy choice, that doesn’t mean that you will get the results that you are seeking. The problem with these “10-day” or “21-day” challenges is that they only work
for the short term. If you want long term results, you need to commit to healthy eating choices as a way of life, and not just for a couple week period.
If a diet describes itself as a quick fix, that’s exactly what you are going to get. You’ll get quick results, but you won’t maintain those gains unless you stick to a diet for the long term. These diets become so appealing because you really do lose weight with them, but the true test (and the key to a healthier life), is how well you maintain that weight loss.
More often than not, after these 10 days or 21 days are over, the dieter just goes back to their old habits. When you go back to your old way of eating, you start getting the same results you had before. You’ll gain all that weight back, and probably some more on top of it. When you lose weight rapidly, instead of a slower and steadier approach, much of the weight you are losing is water weight as well as muscle. A muscular composition is a key component to burning more calories. When that muscle is lost, you will have a tougher time losing or maintaining weight.
This cycle of losing weight and then gaining it back, then going on another diet and losing weight and again gaining it back is what is called “yo-yo dieting” and is very unhealthy. Some medical experts refer to it as “weight cycling”, and it can lead to severe long term issues such as diabetes and other factors that can lead to premature death.
What to Do Instead
Rather than hop on the train of the newest diet challenge, make a total overhaul of what you are eating and stick with it for the long term. Practice healthy eating habits, with the right portions from the food groups, the appropriate portion size to stick to a calorie count, and make it your way of life (along with a consistent workout plan). You may not lose weight as rapidly as with a diet challenge, but it will produce better long term results that you can maintain.