Don’t Fall for Fads: It’s time to break out of the diet culture shame cycle

TDB Fitness Newsletter 10/31/2021

Diet culture is everywhere. Commercials, billboards, dialogue in movies and TV shows, magazines; pretty much any media you can think of has a hand in perpetuating toxic narratives about weight and fitness. Fad diets make achieving our fitness goals seem so easy, it feels too good to be true. Our newsletter this week is dedicated to showing you that’s exactly what they are.

Photo by Nathan Cowley from Pexels

What is a “fad diet?”

Fad diets are plans or packages marketed to the public as quick solutions to weight loss. You likely know of several fad diets, maybe without even realizing it. Different fad diets come in and out of popularity, but they generally help you lose weight by cutting out certain food groups, counting calories, buying/consuming a product to replace a meal, or all of the above.

So, how do you spot a fad diet? Usually they include a few or all of the following:

  • celebrity endorsement
  • a promise of quick results
  • recommendations based on a single study/or simplified findings from complex studies
  • requirement to buy a specific product, meal kit, or book in order to follow the diet
  • requirement to cut full food groups or meals out of your diet
  • a one-size-fits-all approach

What’s the problem with fad diets?

They don’t work. Well I mean, they often help you lose weight fast. So I guess if that’s what you’re looking for, they work. Which — and this is a theory — is probably why companies and celebrities get away with marketing them. But that’s pretty much where it ends.

Losing weight on a fad diet does not make you fit, and it does not make you healthy. And, since fad diets are often expensive and not really that fun to be on, you will likely gain the weight back too. Remember, humans don’t like to deprive themselves. Cutting full food groups out of your diet is not sustainable. Pretty soon you’ll start giving yourself “cheat days,” and then those cheat days will outnumber the days you actually spend dieting.

Beyond the unpleasantness of cutting foods out like this, it’s actually not healthy for you. Humans need a range of nutrients in order for their body to run at peak performance, maintain positive mental and physical health, and have energy to live their lives. Cutting out a whole food group may help you lose weight, but is it really helping you? Obviously, dietary restrictions based on individual health needs and a plan designed individually for you by a health professional is different. But that’s why it is so important who you get your advice from.

What should I do instead?

  • Listen to your body. If you read our newsletter every week, this may be getting repetitive. I’m not sorry. We literally can’t stress enough how important it is to listen to yourself and your body before anyone or anything else. Feed yourself when you are hungry. Learn what it feels like when you are full. Recognize if you’re using snacking as a coping mechanism for being bored, sad, or stressed, and build habits to find different ways to cope.
  • Eat the Rainbow. Make sure the diet you do eat incorporates all the nutrients actual, reliable, research says you need. Opt for whole, unprocessed, unpackaged foods when possible. Instead of cutting food out, try adding new, healthy foods in!
  • Take baby steps. Take a look at your eating habits as they are and make small changes and substitutions that feel sustainable. Replace the processed snacks in your pantry with whole fruits and vegetables. You don’t have to cut out the junk food completely – just make sure the majority of your snacks and meals throughout the day are healthy.
  • Give yourself grace.When you do eat an unhealthy meal, or eat out all day because you were just too busy to cook, it’s ok! Negative self talk will only make it less likely for you to achieve your goals in the long run.

Look y’all, habit building is tough work! That’s why you should be immediately suspicious when a program promises you quick results. You have a long life to live. You will face temptation and distractions every single day. Doing the slow work to build healthy, sustainable habits is always easier said than done. However, we at Team Di Bella Fitness know pressure makes diamonds.

Team Announcements

Thanks to the Teammates who participated in spirit week!

Vinnie and I love Halloween. This week was spirit week with a different Halloween costume theme for our daily workouts. Teammates dressed up for their workout and posted pics to our private Facebook group. Thanks to everyone who participated this week! We had so much fun.

Vinnie as Prince Adam, aka my favorite costume from this week.

7 thoughts on “Don’t Fall for Fads: It’s time to break out of the diet culture shame cycle

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