Most of us would love to shed a few pounds but we know that weight loss isn’t easy, especially for busy women who simply don’t have the time. What’s easy is falling prey to the numerous fad diets or “miracle” diets popping up on our feeds. These diets often promise unrealistic weight loss with minimum effort.
Firstly, what is a fad diet?
A fad diet is the kind of diet where you’re restricted to only eating certain foods, a combination of foods or following a strict pattern of eating, for a short period.
The result – rapid weight loss that isn’t sustained. Soon after, we get frustrated about the restrictions, eat more of our favourite foods, and gain back the weight we’d lost, and more. This cycle of restriction, losing and gaining repeats with different diets, turning into “yo-yo” dieting that many busy women struggle with.
We also know that busy women are constantly on the go and often don’t have time to eat. Here are 3 fad diets that they may be falling for:
1) Carbohydrate-Restricted Diets
A low-carbohydrate diet, such as the Atkins-style diet, or a very-low-carbohydrate diet like the ketogenic diet are examples of fad diets.
Weight loss is apparent for many who first embark on the diet, but that’s no surprise! Since you’re depriving your body of carbohydrate, the storage form – glycogen, in your muscles and liver become depleted, and so does the water that’s attached to the glycogen. Soon after however, your body learns to adapt, weight loss plateaus and keeping the weight off becomes tough.
Sustainability of any diet is key for persistent weight loss, but studies have shown that the long-term adherence of a low-carb diet isn’t great. In fact, longer-term (>6 months) results of the low-carb diet aren’t much different to other conventional calorie-restricted diets.
2) Meal Replacement Diets
There are plenty of meal replacement products popping up in the market – shakes and bars that are marketed to be nutritionally complete. They are targeted at people who are on-the-go and don’t have the time to prepare or eat a plated meal – seemingly perfect for busy women who want to eat healthy.
Despite the convenience that these products offer, they are not without their caveats. Most don’t contain enough fiber and phytonutrients present in your fruit and vegetables, and one serving of 100-250 calories isn’t nearly enough calories to make up a whole meal!
Overall, meal replacement products aren’t all that bad as some do contain decent amounts of protein, carbohydrate and some fat from healthy ingredients. While they’re a good addition to your diet on a busy schedule, and can serve as a great post-workout or late afternoon snack, they shouldn’t totally replace your freshly prepared meals!
3) Fasting diets
Ever heard of detox teas or juices that claim to cleanse your body of its toxins? Yeah… no. Your body does its own detoxification every second of the day and there’s no single food or drink that can magically help it do its job better!
Some detoxification programs recommend complete abstinence from food for days, a potentially risky practice for pregnant or breastfeeding women or people with existing health problems and eating disorders.
The rapid weight loss that these programs promise may hold true, since you’re in a constant caloric deficit during the program’s duration. However, the weight gain will be just as rapid when you resume eating regularly. Besides, as busy women, we need the energy from food to carry out the multiple tasks we have lined up.
The bottom line: It’s easy to be tempted by the prospects of a quick fix, but losing fat is a gradual process and results of quick fix diets are usually temporary. Besides diet, exercise in the form of walking, running, resistance training etc. are great ways to keep a healthy body and mind. If weight loss is your goal, work with your dietitian to select a plan personalised to your needs that you can stick to in the long run.
Need more support as a busy woman finding a diet that makes you feel your best? Book in a FREE discovery call with me to get started!