One Step at a Time

Abbie Wenthe on fad diets


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“I’m going on a diet.”

How many times have we heard this from the lips of our friends and family and even ourselves? Diets are seen as the quick fix to all our weight problems and even all our problems in general. However, diets are the wrong way to lose weight or make a positive lifestyle change.

I don’t understand how people think eating all carbs, no carbs, only fruit or anything equally as crazy will make them lose weight and keep it off. Yes, it may help lose water weight but no stored fat will be lost. Then, the water weight will come right back. I asked my friends and family to share some of the craziest diets they've tried or heard.

First off, let’s discuss all these “cleanses” that are all the rage right now. Basically it is a straight week of just juice to rid the body of harmful toxins and pollutants in our bodies. Who gave the world the idea that the only way to get toxins out is to drink some type of organic juice for a week? Call me crazy, but since when have humans been able to go a week without food and still manage to maintain healthy levels of vitamins and calories? The human body is perfectly capable of getting rid of toxins on its own. Hello, internal organs. And with clean eating, there is no need to ever have to cleanse the body.

Others believe in crazy diets that will supposedly shed big pounds with minimal effort. The weirdest one I’ve heard of is The Baby Food Diet. Yes, adults are desperate enough to lose weight they'll give up real food and go back to the days of mashed bananas and pureed beef and carrots. Supposedly replacing high calorie snacks with a jar or two of baby food will help reduce cravings and initiate weight loss. It might also come with thumb sucking and pooping your pants, but whatever works to lose weight, right?! Wrong. All of this is just so wrong.

Other diets that have popped up on Pinterest include a week of eating specific foods. For example, Monday will be all fruits, Tuesday all vegetables, and so on. Unless humans magically morphed into rabbits or deer, we need more than just greens to get through the day.

The issue with all these diets? They don’t work. They don’t work because people get crabby and frustrated and give up, and then eat the entire kitchen and undo any progress they were trying to make in the first place.

As crazy as these diets sound, people actually try these methods and are surprised when they don’t work. Weight loss isn't just going on a diet. Instead, it's making a lifestyle change. It doesn’t make sense to go on a diet because once the diet ends, the weight will come back as the old eating and lifestyle habits will return.

Our bodies need food to properly function and give us enough energy to get through long days of classes, studying, club meetings and maybe even a little partying, so cleanses and diets that limit nutrient intake will never work. The human body needs carbohydrates, good fats and starches to carry out all the necessary functions and ensure a happy life free of sickness. Instead of trying a cleanse or crazy fad diet, try a lifestyle change.

Start by focusing on eating more fruits and vegetables during the day and slowly eliminate some of the bad foods. Add in a little exercise and soon enough you will be on track to a healthy mind and body without starving or worrying about putting on a bib before enjoying an afternoon snack of mushed squash and prunes.

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