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Fad Diets

Posted May 19th, 2011 by cws_mcqu

The Cabbage Soup Diet.  All you can eat Banana Diet.  The Three Day Diet. Since the seventies, it seems that our society has been obsessed with these types of “fad diets”.  According to Webster’s dictionary, a fad diet is defined as a reducing diet that enjoys temporary popularity. Typically fad diets promise quick and easy weight loss and offer claims that sound too good to be true (which is usually why they skyrocket in popularity….we want a quick fix!)

While these diets may offer temporary weight loss, the pounds are soon regained…and sometimes more.  Researchers at UCLA found that diets do not lead to sustained weight loss or health benefits for the majority of people.  Why?  Overly restrictive diets (low calorie, limited food options) can starve us both physically AND from an emotional/psychological perspective.  A severely restrictive diet can take the pleasure out of eating and can result in a diet-overeating cycle that is often referred to as yo-yo dieting or weight cycling.  Additionally, research indicates that dieting early in life can put individuals (commonly female) at long term risk for eating disorders, disordered eating behaviors, and obesity.

So what works?  To maintain our weight the amount of calories we eat needs to be equal to the amount of calories we burn.  To lose weight, calories consumed need to be less than calories burned.  While this seems like a simple formula, putting this into practice in our daily lives can be very challenging. Success with long term weight loss and maintenance is associated with lifestyle changes.  The Mayo Clinic offers proven strategies and resources for weight loss success:

Make a commitment & change your perspective

It’s not enough to eat healthy foods and exercise for only a few weeks or even months if you want long-term, successful weight loss. Permanent weight loss takes time and effort — and a lifelong commitment.

Find your inner motivation & set realistic goals

While you have to take responsibility for your own behavior for successful weight loss, it helps to have support networks in place (friends, journals, support groups, etc).  Make sure that your goals are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-limited.

Enjoy healthier foods & physical activity

One way you can lower your calorie intake is by eating more plant-based foods — fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.  Strive for variety to help you achieve your goals without giving up taste or nutrition.  Exercise also offers numerous health benefits, including boosting your mood, strengthening your cardiovascular system and reducing your blood pressure.

Campus Resources

There are many resources available on campus to help you manage a healthy weight and lifestyle.

  • UHDS provides nutrition information for our menus available.  Check out this link to learn more about your individual calorie needs.  I am available to meet with you to help you find the options that will best meet your needs and goals. To schedule an appointment, email or contact me at 737.3915
  • Student Health Services provides dietitian and health coach services that are FREE to all students!
  • Counseling and Psychological Services provides free counseling services and can help you to examine psychological and emotional factors that influence overall health.
  • The OSU Be Well Website offers a variety of programs and resources available to staff and students including information on Weight Watchers, OSU Extension Services and healthy eating and physical activity guidelines.

Be Well!

Tara Sanders, UHDS Dietitian

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