It seems everywhere we look today there is a new health program that promises fast results. Keto, Whole30, and Paleo diets along with Crossfit and HIIT training programs run across headlines as the new fad to lose weight. The problem with these fads are they may provide you with fast results but rarely yield long-term health.
Rather than jumping into the next health craze, it is time to put our focus on our mental health and incorporate small incremental changes to lose a few pounds every month without eliminating certain things out of your diet or lifestyle that provide long lasting health results.
Did you know the serious dangers that are associated with fad diet and exercise routines?
Here are a few below:
- Many fad diets can lead to nutritional deficiencies because they emphasize one food group to the exclusion of others. For example, the elimination of healthy carbohydrates. This can lead to a significant energy drain that can leave us feeling tired and mentally foggy. It can even contribute to feelings of depression.
When you jump into rigorous prolonged exercise programs, we expect the level of weight loss or muscle building to be quick and correlate with our level of fatigue and pain. When it does not we can become frustrated, depressed and this can lead to feeling defeated and a feeling of “what’s the point?” This often causes people to give up before they even get the chance to establish a routine for results.
You increase your risk of injury especially if you haven’t worked out for a while or you are new to exercise. You can cause significant injury to the joints, tendons or muscles that may require recovery time.
You risk burnout because these approaches are seldom sustainable and doesn’t feel good for your body. It can also make the muscles feel weaker and you may actually lose muscle tone
What should you do instead?
Make small changes, take the time to establish healthy habits and focus on improving moods.
Change you definition of success by exercising not to lose weight but to improve mood, enhance brain function, and lower blood pressure. These are parameters you can measure quickly. Your moods will improve before your weight changes. Aerobic exercise, just 20 minutes, immediately lowers blood pressure and keeps it lower for 22 hours. When you see these improvements you will know that you are successful.
Make sleep a priority. It helps you to maintain a healthy weight and reduces the risk of chronic illness.
Start your day with 20 to 30 minutes of sunshine. This can help you sleep better at night. As a bonus, recent research out of Alberta Canada points to sunshine possibly helping to decrease the size of fat cells!
Make gradual dietary changes. Summer is a great time to focus on increasing water intake, adding a lot of summer berries that have antioxidants and will stimulate happier moods.
Eudene Harry MD is the medical director for Oasis Wellness and Rejuvenation Center, a wellness practice devoted to integrative holistic care. She is a veteran physician with over 20 years of experience. Dr. Harry earned her medical degree and performed her residency at Thomas Jefferson University.
Dr. Harry is the author of three books designed to empower the individual to get started on their path to optimal health. She has published extensively on the topics of reducing stress, healthy lifestyle choices, and regaining youthfulness. She regularly contributes to television and radio shows nationwide.