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Resolve Not Be A Fad In 2015

Fitday Editor

It's that time of the year when we resolve to drop that extra weight, to start an exercise program and to finally get healthy. All sound like realistic goals, but all take time and effort, and unfortunately, too many people want a quick fix. So fad diets take on a new life at the beginning of the year. We forget about all the articles we read throughout the previous year about how and why fad diets don't work. And we forget how last year we tried the low carb diet, the low fat diet, the Paleo diet, the raw food diet and even the werewolf diet and are still resolving to lose those 10 pounds as 2015 begins. Makes you wonder if there's a better way. Weight loss and maintenance is about lifestyle changes, not food. Dieting can be very unhealthy both physically and mentally. Learning how to eat and enjoy real food, along with implementing a realistic exercise routine, are the secrets to lasting weight loss.

You might be wondering what the harm is in giving the latest and greatest a try. Well, one fad diet most likely won't hurt you, but repeated fad dieting may result in some serious health complications, such as depriving your body of essential nutrients, weakening your immune system, increasing your risk of dehydration, causing heart palpitations and increasing your chances of having a heart attack. And don't forget about the weight you will most likely gain back due to the slow down in your metabolism and all the food (that you have depriving yourself of) that you will eat once you stop the diet.

So, if you are wondering if that new eating plan you just committed to is healthy or a just a hoax, test it against these signs of a fad diet:

Promises Rapid Weight Loss

You didn't gain those lasting 10 pounds in a week, so do you really think you can lose and keep it off in a week? Anything more that 1-2 pounds per week means you are most likely losing muscle. Muscle tissue is metabolically active so less muscle means slow metabolism.

Limited Food Choices and/or Excludes an Entire Food Group

We need to eat a wide variety of foods to ensure we meet all of daily needs. Excluding a certain group (like carbohydrates) robs your body of its main fuel source. All foods can fit into a healthy eating plan, even one designed to help you lose weight.

Sketchy, If Any, Scientific Proof

Many times a fad diet will focus on one or two studies and then only present the part of the results that look beneficial to the diet. It is important to look at the number of participants, length and the real reason for the study.

Incorporates a Product That Must Be Bought

The only thing you need to buy should be real food.

Rigid Menus and Eating Times

Eating at a certain time will not guarantee weight loss. A goal of any healthy eating plan is to help you become more aware of your hunger cues and eat when you are truly hungry and your body needs fuel.

Lack of an Exercise Component

Part of a healthy lifestyle is exercise. It doesn't have to be hours at the gym, but it essential that we get our bodies moving. If a diet restricts exercise, it might be too low in calories for your body to handle moving about.

Stresses How Easy It Is

Changing your eating and lifestyle habits is hard work. It takes time, patience and energy to be successful in your quest to get the weight off and keep it off.

Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between a fad diet and a lifestyle change. Take vegetarianism: if you decided to become a vegetarian and consulted with a M.D. or R.D. to ensure you are getting all the nutrients your body needs and eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, this a lifestyle change -- not a fad diet.

If you have questions about a certain diet, contact a registered dietitian who will give you all the facts. Resolve to make your lifestyle changes fabulous this year, not just part of another passing fad.

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Joanne Perez, MS, RDN, LD is a Savannah-based dietitian who, after 20 years of food service and clinical dietetics, made the switch to nutrition communications and all things tech. She doesn't believe in diets and thinks that life is too short to be anything but happy and healthy at any weight. Read her blog, Real Bite Nutrition, and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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