weight-loss diets and programs
Many different diets and programs
promise rapid weight loss. Below are a few. If you have questions about
new diets or need nutritional information that is not discussed in this
topic, see the Other Places to Get Help section to find out how to contact
the American Dietetic Association (ADA).
Several diets make claims about
combining or separating certain foods, eating certain foods because of
their special properties, or using special supplements or procedures to
"melt" fat away. Unfortunately, there are no such easy ways to
lose weight. Combining foods in certain ways does not change their energy
(calorie) content. Eating grapefruit does not "burn up" the
calories in other foods. Saunas and hot tubs do not "melt away"
fat. If you lose weight after a sauna, it is due to dehydration (water
loss from sweat), and the weight will return as soon as you drink liquids.
Often, famous people or places
(Beverly Hills diet, Air Force diet, Mayo Clinic diet) are used to
advertise or promote diets. Remember:
- Testimonials are advertising
strategies, not research results. Just because someone claims that a
diet worked for him or her doesn't mean that it will work for you, or
even that it worked for that person! These are paid advertisements.
- Institutions like the Air Force
and the Mayo Clinic claim no association with the diets named after
- Beware of diets that sound too
good to be true; they usually are.
Emotional impact of dieting
The pressure to be thin takes its
toll on our emotions. We have a tendency to feel bad about our weight
because thinness is stressed by the fashion industry, the media,
advertising, health professionals, and our culture. Overweight people are
often thought of as having no willpower; being lazy, dirty, and less
intelligent; and not caring about themselves. Dieting internalizes this
negative image by making people feel like failures when they cannot lose
weight. Instead of blaming the diets, overweight people tend to blame
themselves. The thinking goes, "If I could just stay on that diet, I
would be thin." (The person doesn't take into account that his or her
body has powerful regulators that affect a person's weight.) Repeated diet
failures set up a cycle
of negative thoughts.
Food deprivation (whether by
dieting or by starvation) eventually causes people to be obsessed with
food. They will be much more likely to overeat when they get access to
food or when they finally give themselves permission to eat. Many people
who have dieted repeatedly have experienced the symptoms of food
deprivation, which include hunger, preoccupation with food, lack of
energy, and guilt after finally eating.
Identify why you want to lose
weight. Is it for health reasons or for aesthetic reasons? If for
aesthetic reasons, a healthy diet and moderate exercisenot a very
restrictive dietwill be helpful. If your body mass index (BMI) is
approaching 25 and you are at risk for diseases related to obesity, a more
aggressive diet and exercise program may be for you.