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With a global market share of close to $600 billion, the weight loss industry is perhaps one of the fastest growing industries in the world.  Unsurprisingly, this industry is crowded; everyone’s trying to get the biggest share by investing in businesses that promise quick solutions. This post discusses how crash diets not only fail to keep their promise but also how they may ruin lives in the long term.

My weight loss journey

Years ago, I was overweight and attempting to lose weight. I’d tried almost all sorts of crash diet plans. Did I have success with them? Sure, as long as I was “dieting”, I was able to lose weight. But I always felt cranky, sluggish and had low levels of energy. And on top of that, as soon as I stopped dieting, I gained all the weight back (plus a few extra pounds).

Now, as a nutrition and exercise coach, I understand the physiological and psychological damages these fad diets could have had on me if I had continued following them. Instead of helping me, these diets were almost ruining my life. Luckily, I’ve chosen a holistic weight loss lifestyle, and that choice has significantly transformed my whole life, Alhamdulillah! Read more about my journey here.

3 reasons to avoid crash diets

People often think that they can lose weight by eating less and doing more exercise. It’s not totally wrong, but this line of though is terribly incomplete! And most fad diets capitalise on this half-baked truth and offer cookie-cutter solutions. And who doesn’t love shortcuts? And, let’s be honest, who really thinks of the long-term negative consequences, especially if these consequences seem to be unknown?

My goal with this blog post is to show you what some of these long-term negative consequences are. I’ll also tell you why these effects are concerning.

#1. Crash diets often limit the consumption of one or more important macronutrients

One of the problems with most crash diets is that they usually limit the consumption of a certain macronutrient (protein, carbs, and fat). You need these essential macronutrients in large quantities for your body to work efficiently. But cutting down too low, for too long of any of these macronutrients, you seriously damage your body.

There’s a place and time for all these low-carb, high-carb, low-fat and high-fat diets. The effectiveness of these diets depends on the body type, physical activity and goals of each and every individual. It should also be done in a highly controlled manner for only a short time. As you can see, I’m not trying to demonise all of these diets. I’m just suggesting you that taking a crash diet that worked for one individual, would not necessarily be safe and effective for another person. A diet plan that works wonders for an athlete wouldn’t really serve the purpose of an inactive and out of shape person.

Without taking these things into consideration, you’ll most probably hinder rather than help your weight loss goals.

So, for an optimal lifestyle, you need healthy fats, just like you need protein and carbs. And limiting the consumption of any of these important macronutrients for too long can impact your mood, immune system, productivity and even your sleep!

If you want to live a lean and healthy life forever, you need to strike a balance in all three macronutrients. Not high or low of anything for too long.

#2. Crash diets disregard the importance of micronutrients

Another drawback of these diets is that they disregard the importance of micronutrients. Micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals) are essential nutrients that you need in smaller amounts (as the term “micro” suggests). Like macronutrients, they are as crucial for your health.

Deficiency of these micronutrients shakes the foundation of your most important physical, psychological and even emotional activities! For instance, vitamin A deficiency can affect your sight, immune functions and even delay your wound healing. Or iron deficiency, which is the most common nutritional disorder in the world, sucks the energy and productivity out of you and causes anaemia. Anaemia is a common blood disorder and roughly every fourth person in the world is affected.

Following crash diets means that you are most probably deficient in many of these essential micronutrients. If these deficiencies are prolonged, you are basically digging your own grave!

Along with a moderate amount of macronutrients, eat lots of vegetables and fruits. They are full of good-for-you micronutrients.

#3. Crash diets lead to long-term physical, psychological and emotional disorders

Some of my premium clients are long-term crash dieters. They join my program because they see that behind the veneer of false and hazardous slogans, the weight-loss experienced with crash diets fades away within months after they stop dieting.

When they join my program, I also notice the different types of disorders my clients are battling with. These are some notable ones:

  • Constant lethargy
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Binge eating disorders
  • Extreme negative attitude towards their own bodies

Though most of them recover within 2-3 months after joining my program, there have been instances when I’ve had to refer them to clinical psychologists.

The reason I’m telling you this is because crash diets can be mentally, emotionally, and physically destructive!

Looking beyond the gimmicks

The real solution to long-term weight loss is to quit dieting and to incorporate healthy lifestyle changes, one step at a time. Any other attempts will only harm you more than they assist you in your weight loss goals.

As long as you are dieting, your diet controls your life. And when you quit dieting, you control your life. So, stop dieting and start living!

Question: If you’ve tried crash diets, what have you experienced? We would love to hear from you. Send us an email or leave a comment here.

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