Depending on your exposure to western culture before you moved to Canada, it may be hard to separate the fads from the truth. Information about the next “best” diet or exercise routine abound, and many of it can be quite confusing. Some groups say you need to eat more of one type of food while eliminating others, and some have strict prepackaged diets that are supposed to make weight loss easy.
The problem is, most of these fad diets are hard, if not impossible to sustain. And just because one has been around for years doesn’t mean it’s a great choice for you. So, how do you separate fads from facts? By watching for the warning signs.
Warning Sign #1: Pills and Powders
If a diet relies on pills and powders instead of real food, then it is likely something amiss. A sound diet involves eating whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. If all of the nutrition is supposed to come from a tiny capsule or something you mix with water, then you’re likely not getting everything your body needs to be healthy.
It isn’t that all powders and pills are bad. For example, cocoa powder does have some nutritional value. But it doesn’t offer enough for you to be able to live off of it.
Warning Sign #2: It Promises Astounding Weight Loss
Any diet that suggests you can lose 10 pounds in a few days isn’t telling you the whole truth. Generally, just the simple math on that doesn’t add up. For example, it requires a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories to lose one pound. To lose 10 pounds in a week, you would need to create a deficit of 5,000 calories per day.
If a healthy person burns around 2,000 calories a day through normal activities, they would still need to burn 3,000 extra calories and not eat anything for an entire week. In the end, that just isn’t realistic (for more information about why this wouldn’t work, see some of the details here http://www.amanifestedlife.com/3-day-military-diet/)
Warning Sign #3: Extremely Restrictive
If a diet relies on only eating a handful of foods over the course of days or weeks, then that should be a red flag. For example, the Cabbage Soup diet involves only eating from a very specific selection of foods over the course of a week and supplementing most of the “meals” with large quantities of a specific cabbage soup.
Even if you experience weight loss in the short-term, this diet isn’t healthy or sustainable. And, if you have certain health conditions, like diabetes, it could even be dangerous. Not to mention, almost all people will be hungry throughout the diet, and may even feel weak due to the limited nutritional value. It is also quite boring, which often makes it incredibly challenging to stick with, even for only a week.
How to Lose Weight Safely
Losing weight safely is a slow process. Often, you want to aim for one to two pounds lost every week, and generally no more. Additionally, you want to eat a well-rounded diet that includes all of the major food groups. And, if you are considering something more restrictive or controlled, or if you have health concerns, you should always speak to a doctor. When in doubt, a doctor can always give you advice based on your unique situation.