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Fad diets often don’t deliver in the long run

Last Modified: May 19, 2023

Nutrition & Recipes

Fad diets

This post was written by Lauren Neuenschwander, MS, RDN, LD, PPG – Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery.

New, seductive fad diets are constantly popping up in our feeds on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. With the overwhelming availability of plans, why are so many people struggling to lose weight and keep it off? One major reason is that these trendy approaches often eliminate or reduce the intake of certain foods or entire food groups, which simply isn’t sustainable for most. Let’s explore the components of a solution that will last. (Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint!)

Find the right fit

When choosing a nutrition plan, keep in mind that it must be a diet that you can stick to for as long as you want to maintain your goal weight. If you choose to cut out carbs, for example, then you will likely need to keep them off your plate for the foreseeable future. Diets work because they are restrictive, which means you eat less calories than you were eating before. However, at some point, most people get bored or tired of feeling deprived, and gradually go back to eating the way they were. This leads to weight gain and the dreaded cycle of yo-yo dieting. Don’t set yourself up for a backslide.

Explore the “why” behind eating habits

One of the best ways to approach weight loss is to start by determining why you want to shed these pounds. Identify your motivation and keep it top of mind. Maybe you want to prevent disease, or sleep better, or try a new activity. No matter what prize you have your eye on, find ways to remind yourself of it often.

In addition, what are the habits or environmental factors contributing to your current eating habits? I often ask these types of questions to help determine why weight loss has become a challenge for a patient:

  • Do you eat well balanced meals, but struggle with boredom snacking?
  • Do you skip meals during the day, only to overeat at night because you are overly hungry?
  • Are your portion sizes larger than they should be?
  • Do you snack in front of a screen and end up eating more than you should?

Until you can determine the why behind your desired weight loss and unwanted weight gain, fad diets will only provide short-lived success. Those who want to lose weight and keep it off need a sustainable plan that will allow them to enjoy food, while also addressing the flaws in their routine. Lifestyle modifications are the best way to keep going on your journey.  

A continuing journey of weight loss

It’s important to keep in mind is that weight loss is not a one-and-done event. Those who lose weight and maintain the loss are routinely “checking in” with themselves, the scale, and/or with their dietitian or another healthcare provider to make sure that they have not reverted to their old habits and ways of eating.

A healthy weight is attainable, but is rarely reached through trendy, unrealistic diets or weight loss supplement products. Just like any other worthwhile achievement, shedding excess pounds is accomplished through determining goals, setting steps to reach those goals, holding yourself accountable and revising the plan when setbacks occur (because they will). Build a routine and environment that supports movement and the consumption of nourishing foods.

If you need help navigating your weight loss journey, reach out to the team of experts at PPG – Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery at 260-425-6390.


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