It’s nearly impossible to turn on the TV or radio these days without being bombarded with advertisements for the latest developments in weight loss and dieting, all of which guarantee you’ll lose weight with minimal change or sacrifice. from you. But stop and think…if losing weight were really that easy, wouldn’t everyone have their dream body tomorrow? As a general rule, if a weight loss gadget promises drastic changes in a limited amount of time or if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Besides being too good to be true, some of them are actually downright dangerous, especially if you don’t know what to watch out for. Here are some extremely dumb and dangerous diet tips to watch out for:
1. Meal replacement shakes
This is one of the most popular forms of “diet” programs. SlimFast, MediFast, Shakeology, they’re everywhere. I urge anyone considering one of these programs to seriously research and re-evaluate. Some of the SlimFast and Shakeology drinks are actually pretty decent forms of nutritional supplements and would be a great addition to a healthy meal plan. A SlimFast and spinach and grilled chicken salad for lunch, or a Shakeology with scrambled eggs and a slice of whole-wheat bread isn’t necessarily an unhealthy or dangerous option, but three meals a day that aren’t compounds that a meal replacement shake is. Be very, very careful when incorporating any of these into your diet plans. Eating your calories is usually better than drinking them. Please eat.
2. Liquid detox diets
Some of these diets are downright scary. Most involve a concoction of lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper and the instructions for this diet range from “drink once a day” to “consume nothing but this drink for the next ten days”. I can’t stress enough that despite their popularity, these “diets” are dangerous and unhealthy. Will you lose weight? Yes definitely. But you can’t survive on this liquid concoction alone, and the minute you try to get back to normal food, not only will you gain weight back, but you’ll most likely gain MORE weight, because whatever you managed to manage to do is traumatize your body with this brief starvation stint. Permanent weight loss means permanent lifestyle changes. Period. If your “diet” isn’t something you can sustain permanently, it’s not something that will help you in the long run. The food is good. Please eat it.
3. The diet behind the wheel
This diet assumes that as long as you eat within a certain calorie range, you will lose weight no matter what you eat. Although in theory this is true, it is also very misleading. The quality of the calories you consume is just as important, if not more so, than the quantity. 1,600 crap calories is still crap and won’t improve your long-term health. Healthy eating is good. Be sure to eat plenty.
4. Activity on an empty stomach burns more fat
This school of thought teaches that all exercises should be done on an empty stomach to burn your fat stores. In theory, this is not a misrepresentation. However, overall it doesn’t really make a difference. Your body will burn fat stores when it runs out of calories, no matter what time of day or night or how much you have or haven’t already eaten that day. As long as you consume fewer calories than you burn, you will still burn fat. Also, eating food gives you energy and generally makes you happier… so please eat.
5. 1200 calories is all you should eat to lose weight
No, no, no, a million times no. 1,200 calories is the recommended daily calorie count for an average six-year-old child. Unless you are very short and lean in build, 1,200 calories is not enough for anyone. At all. Already. Use a calculator to find your basal metabolic rate (BMR). This number is the number of calories your body will burn in a day if you did nothing but lie in bed all day. You should absolutely never eat less than this number. I know this may sound scary, but trust me. Sometimes eating more gives you the boost you need. I lost more weight on the 1500-1800 diet in good health calories a day than I ever did on a 1200 calorie crash diet. Not sure how to calculate your BMR? Try it here: http://www.myfitnesspal.com/tools/bmr-calculator. Eating less than your BMR can cause long-term damage to your metabolism and your body. The food is good. So please eat.
Healthy weight loss is between 0.5 and 2 pounds per week. If you lose more, you may be losing dangerous or unhealthy weight. If you have any questions, talk to your doctor, and always be sure to research everything before jumping in with two feet. You have the rest of your life to live, don’t rush your results. Take your time, enjoy the ride and be proud of your consistency. You are worth more than cheap tips and tricks.