Two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese. Obesity rates have more than doubled in adults and children since the 1970’s.
Going through a divorce usually has one of two effects on your waistline; the inches go up or down in drastic fashion. As I went through my divorce I was so stressed out I barely ate and I exercised in excess as a way to blow off steam.
For others, the opposite is true. They eat more to feel better and use their depression as an excuse to hang out on the couch and skip exercising altogether. A few months down the road they realize life goes on and they are ready to hit the dating scene. Looking in the mirror they freak out when they see their body has gotten out of control and they want to lose weight fast! Enter the fad diet market.
Losing weight has long since been a goal for many looking to get healthy and feel better and today’s marketers take full advantage of this vulnerability. It is difficult to turn on the television, read a newspaper or pick up a magazine without seeing or hearing about diets, weight loss or “getting healthy”. When it comes to over the top sensationalism over losing weight, the Internet wins hands down.
So in your quest for a bikini body buyer beware, fad diets are just that, a fad. Know what to look for when seeking help with your weight loss and avoid busting your new post divorce budget in your quest for a fit and healthy you.
What to watch for
Marketers are always looking for fresh meat, or to get you when you are down and out, so they use every method possible to suck you in and get in your head. Here are just a few things to keep an eye out for:
- Unsolicited commercial email messages
- Online classified ads
- Window pop-ups after viewing other products
- Blogs by “users” of the product
- TV ads boasting celebrities who’ve lost weight on their plan
It is important to understand that losing weight and keeping it off requires a long-term commitment; don’t be tempted by the quick weight loss promised by fad diets. With each new “lose weight fast” gimmick that comes along, be wary of the negatives associated with most fad diets ; lack of nutritional value, food restrictions, and the expense!
Red Flags for Fad Diets
With any get rich quick or lose weight fast scheme there are obvious red flags many of us miss in our urgency for more money or a swimsuit ready body. When it comes to fad diets here are a few to watch out for.
- The diet promises that you will lose weight fast or at an unrealistic pace. (Lose 10 pounds in 3 days-this is not healthy and you will most likely gain all the weight back quickly.)
- The claim sounds too good to be true. (It probably is!)
- The diet’s recommendations are based on a single study – or no research at all.
- The diet’s recommendations seem extreme. (Drink only juice for 3 days!)
- Statements made about the diet are refuted by reputable scientific organizations.
- It refers to foods as “good” or “bad.”
- Personal testimonials are used to “sell” the diet. (The before and after pictures look like the same person, right?)
- The fad diet involves crash dieting, or very intense reductions in eating and drinking.
When it comes to fad diets that promise miraculous weight loss, it is best to remember the old adage that those things which seem too good to be true are probably not true.
There is a better way
When it comes to losing weight all things are possible with healthy eating choices and exercise, but time is of the essence. Don’t expect to drop the twenty pounds you gained on your eating binge post divorce overnight. It will take time, dedication and a little hard work.
Instead of falling for a fad diet, visit your doctor or a nutritionist. Many insurance plans will cover this type of visit as a preventive measure to better health. Your doctor can help you develop a plan that works for you, and your budget will thank you for not spending hundreds of dollars on “magic” pills.
The reality of weight loss is that, in the long run, a slow and steady approach brings more lasting results than any quick weight-loss fad that you go into debt over.
Do you have a favorite money-saving weight loss tip? How do you resist the fad diets? What’s the silliest diet you’ve tried?
Suzanne Cramer is a Certified Personal Finance Counselor.
Photo credit: © 2012 Jupiter Images Corporation