From juicing to eliminating carbs to eating a grapefruit with every meal, fad diets continue to come and go. A fad diet is often regarded as a quick fix where people see rapid results, but sometimes at a cost to their overall health and wellbeing.
Fernwood Penrith food coach and nutritionist Rebecca says fad diets often don’t work because they are short-term solutions, rather than long-term lifestyle changes.
“People have good intentions when starting a fad diet; they genuinely want to see results! Unfortunately, the messages out there at the moment are really confusing and are hard to navigate. People are getting lost in the diet culture,” Rebecca says.
“When people go on a ‘diet’, they are excited and have good intentions. However, if they don’t succeed, shame and negative self-talk rushes in. For example, people start saying to themselves, “you will never succeed”, “you’re a failure”, “you will always be overweight”, etc. This shame and negative self-talk has a huge negative impact on our mental health and how we feel about ourselves.”
Fernwood Gungahlin food coach Sky says she has tried every fad diet under the sun, and although she noticed some changes, they usually never lasted long term.
“Being overweight for most of my life, feeling some pressure from my environment and seeing all of these ‘transformations’ on the media led me to trying pretty much every fad diet possible,” Sky says.
“All of the diets have worked short term by putting you in a large caloric deficit and usually eliminating one macronutrient group, and while you stick to the diet, it works.”
But the effects for Sky were often short lived. When she returned to her regular eating pattern, the weight she had lost returned. She says she also developed unhealthy relationships with certain food groups, seeing carbohydrates as the enemy and thinking consuming fats would lead to weight gain.
She often felt very undernourished and weak, and realised if she wanted to see long-term positive results, she would need to make a lifestyle change.
“I started researching what my body needs, reading up on macronutrients, vitamins and minerals, how they are essential, finding the right foods and just creating my own balanced diet. Since then I have lost over 50 kilograms and I could not be happier.”
Rebecca says to create healthy long-term relationships with food, we need to stop categorizing them as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and instead value them for how they nourish and energise your body.
“The key to making a lifestyle change is changing how you perceive food and changing the story you tell yourself about dieting,” Rebecca says.
“Next time you’re trying to improve your diet, swap [negative] phrases for “I am embracing a new way of eating”, “I am trying new delicious recipes”, “I am nourishing my body”.
“We need to always remember we are all individuals, so there is no one diet for everyone. We need to listen to our bodies and embrace foods that make us feel amazing.”
If you are interested in making a lifestyle change, speak to one of our food coaches about nutrition guidance.