Losing weight is not easy, so when you see a headline like the one above you want to believe it can be done. Unfortunately, I am here to tell you it is not that simple.
This article was triggered by the following question: "Hi... when you have time, will you check out fatloss4idiots
and see if you think it's for real? You have to pay to see the diet, but they explain how it's supposed to work and was wondering if it sounds legit to you."
If one person has this question, I am sure many others do, too. I am going to give you the tools you need to spot what's known as a "fad diet" on your own.
A fad diet is an eating plan that quickly surges in popularity and tends to just as quickly fizzle out. Most fad diets are unbalanced meal plans that lead to weight gain when you go off the diet. Fad diets tend to be cyclical. For example, the Atkins diet was created in the 1970s and made a recent comeback.
When you're evaluating a diet program, ask yourself:
1.) Does it promise a quick fix?
2.) Do the claims sound too good to be true?
3.) Is a list of "good" and "bad" foods given?
4.) Are recommendations made to help sell a product?
5.) Does it list dire warnings of dangers from a single product or regimen?
6.) Are the recommendations based on a single study?
7.) Do you have to eliminate one or more of the five food groups to gain promised results?
8.) Are simple conclusions drawn from a complex study?
9.) Are there dramatic statements refuted by reputable scientific organizations?
10.) Are the recommendations based on studies not reviewed by other researchers?
11.) Do the claims ignore differences among individuals or groups?
If the answer is "yes" to any of these questions, then you are probably dealing with a fad diet. The website in the question, above, offers quick-fix promises, claims that sound too good to be true, and very little information related to the science behind why the plan works.
There are hundreds of fad diets on the market. Here are some common examples: Atkins, Cabbage Soup Diet, 3 Day Diet, South Beach Diet, Grapefruit Diet, Macrobiotic Diet, Low Carb Diet, Zone Diet, Successful Plans.
A good plan will teach you to make healthy food choices (everything in moderation), and will also have an activity component. Weight loss and physical activity go hand-in-hand.
Stop thinking "diet." A "diet" implies short-term changes. If you want to be successful with weight loss, you need to find a plan you can stick with long term. Start focusing on next year instead of next month. Successful weight loss requires change and change is never easy. You need to start with small, permanent steps to achieve long-term weight loss. Bottom line: If it sounds too good to be true -- it is!