Stop Falling for Diet Quick Fixes

From the WebMD Archives

By Alia Hoyt

Shortcuts are awesome. Who doesn’t appreciate a nice back road that slices a commute in half? I’ve been known to skip ironing because the wrinkles usually fall out in a couple of hours, anyway. Sometimes, steps can be skipped or shortened without compromising the result too much. Unfortunately for dieters, weight loss is generally not something that can be rushed along... at least, not if you want long-term success. Then you’re right back where you started.

Before you buy out your local produce section’s entire stock of grapefruit, consider the following reasons why quick-fix diets are not the answer to your waistline woes:

But... I always see good results with quickie diets. It’s true that quick-fix diets can help you get the pounds off, but most of the time they come back with a vengeance. The smarties over at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) insist that people who make real, sustainable lifestyle changes are better-equipped to keep weight off. They recommend a loss of one to two pounds per week to be healthy and realistic.

But...quick fix diets aren’t bad for me. According to Weight-control Information Network, the recurrent loss and regain of weight is known as “weight cycling.” Although much more study needs to happen on the subject, many experts agree that yo-yo dieting can affect mental health, cholesterol and blood pressure, at the very least.

But... I don’t have time to waste on a conventional diet. Think about it this way: The more time you spend indulging in quick-fix diets that don’t work for the long-term, the longer it takes to lose weight and keep it off. I know CDC’s one-to-two-pound-per-week weight loss limit seems excruciatingly slow, but doing it the healthy way will give you the waistline you want for good.

But... I need a diet that's easy to follow. Plenty of people turn to quickie diets because they have clear-cut rules: Don’t eat carbs. Don’t eat meat. Don’t eat anything but salmon and cashews. All that's fine if it works for you. However, a lot of us have trouble sticking with these strict diet plans, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources provides guidelines that are pretty easy to digest (pun totally intended). For example: Control portion sizes, replace sugary drinks with water, eat fresh fruits and veggies, read labels, choose products with lower sodium numbers and switch to low-fat dairy products.

But... I need my diet to be really strict. A lot of quick-fix diets totally restrict certain foods and entire food groups. In the beginning, it might seem doable, but if you have a sweet tooth and have to totally give up chocolate, that diet is begging for a midnight binge session. Most sensible diets encourage the occasional splurge. Just don’t go completely wild and you’ll be cool. I keep heart-healthy dark chocolates in my cookie jar. When I feel the need for a “fix” I simply grab three or four and savor them slowly.

But... such-and-such television doctor backed this diet supplement. I know your mother taught you this one: If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. So if a TV doc or commercial is saying you can lose a ton of weight by popping a pill and not changing anything lifestyle-related, just remeber what your mama said.

So take control of your nutritional destiny. Toss the weight loss pills in the trash or demand a refund. Find the plan that works for you and your individual needs. When done the right way, “diet” doesn’t have to be a dirty four-letter word.