Fad Diets: Why They Fail and How to Make Them WorkPosted: September 18, 2008 in Obesity Medicine by Craig Primack MD FACP
At least each month another “new” diet hits the scene with all of its fanfare. Yet so rarely does someone lose weight after a couple of weeks, or keep it off for any length of time. Why is this? To be successful, one needs a group of tools all at the same time. I like to think of it as a safe deposit box. You have to have all of the keys in the door to open the box. Leave one out, and the box stays closed.
First, you need a good nutritional plan, one that provides enough protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes so that your body is not lacking any of the essentials. If you don’t have all of these, you’ll be hungry and fatigued. Meal replacements provide the most amount of nutrition with the least amount of calories. This approach prevents you from having to count each and every calorie you eat.
You need a place to weigh in, and someone to support you during the successes and the tough times you face. You may also need medical monitoring, to get off your blood pressure and diabetes medications at the right time. When you’re hungry, you may need an appetite suppressant prescribed by a weight loss doctor.
Exercise is one of the most important keys to keeping the weight off once you have lost it. It is also going to speed the weight loss and make you feel better as you are losing weight. Exercise can take the form of cardiovascular (aerobic) or strengthen (anaerobic), but preferably both.
Finally, you need to develop a plan to change your life so that you are surrounded by people and an environment that supports success. Your family and friends can be either key supporters or distractors. You’ll have difficulty if your friends are constantly offering you cake when you are trying to lose weight. Success depends on a plan for eating out, dealing with the holidays, travel, and the many stresses that life places on us.
Fad diets fail because they rely on will-power. I’ve never met someone who lost weight because they relied on will-power. These diets lack the accountability, support, and attention to lifestyle change required for weight loss success.
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