- Diet & Weight Loss
How to Lose Weight Fast: Crash Diets - Do They Really Work?
Crash diet? Sounds like disaster to me!
Why are crash diets so appealing to us? What is it about this promise of a "quick fix" that lures so many of us into its lair only to mash us up then spew us out shortly after, often in a worse state than we were before?
Crash diets, (or fad diets as they are also known) have been described as a sudden change in dietary behaviour, usually by reducing calorie-intake drastically or drastically limiting the food groups to be ingested.
These diets are not recommended by the medical profession and even are actively discouraged by many doctors and health care professionals.
Despite this fact, a very high percentage of the overweight female population will try one of these types of diets at least sometime in their lives. But are they really to blame?
There is an important target group of women who are vulnerable to the advertising pressure exerted by the media including some women's magazines, and easily entice them into embarking on weight/loss diets which, are not only doomed to failure but also are extremely bad for health.
I have battled with weight issues all my life and have many times fallen into the crash diet trap but now I want to take a real look at WHY I have been having this bad relationship with food for so many years. I want to know what makes us think that a crash diet would solve our weight problems.
I have to own up to the fact that it invariably never did for me, but strangely enough, it has taken me literally years, and many crash diets, to come out and admit to the fact.
However now I realise that, as well as being addicted to food, I was also addicted to fad diets and quick fix solutions.
Triggers leading to The Crash Diet Syndrome CDS
As in many of our behavioural reactions, there are "triggers" which set off a chain of reactions within us.
A "trigger" could be an event or a situation which links into the behaviour we are addressing, such as the decision to go on a crash diet, and results in our conducting that behaviour pattern, almost subconsciously. It is of the utmost importance to identify "triggers" in our behaviour patterns so that we can avoid them or reduce their frequency, especially if they trigger a behaviour pattern we wish to control or even eliminate.
Identify your triggers and then avoid them as far as you can
The decision to go on a crash diet is no exception and the triggers are multiple and can range from something like catching a glimpse of yourself in an uncomplimentary photo posted on social media to a medical warning from your local GP that you need to "lose some weight".
Does it work?
The incredible thing is that I let myself be convinced into thinking it can work and that all will be well afterwards. The incredible thing is that I believe the "diet" will produce the results that I want and that when it is"over", I will be able to eat what I always eat, bad habits included.. And here is the whole crux of the matter. I believe that "the diet" will do all the hard work for me. Somehow I manage to take away the ME in this and the PERSONAL SACRIFICE that I will have to make and I think I actually come to have 'faith' in the creator of the diet, with the magical formula.
Crash Diets Lower Metabolic Rate
There have been many articles written about why crash dieting doesn't work and there are many websites which can cite medical surveys and opinion denouncing the whole concept of crash diets.......Linda Bacon, PhD professor of Nutrition at the University of City College of San Francisco has said that weight is not the problem, but dieting. (See link to her book and biography below)
Also a study from the University of Colorado found, surprisingly that 35% of all dieters turn into "pathological" dieters at sometime in their lives. This is all depressing news. It has been well documented that one main reason for the failure of crash diets is that the hypothalamus in the brain controls metabolism and when this gland detects a drastic reduction in usual calorie intake, (such as at the onset of a crash diet) then it sends out messages to the body to also reduce drastically basal metabolic rate.
This means that the body is using even fewer calories than normal to perform basic life functions. Quite the opposite to what was intended !
What does this mean?
Another reason why 'crash diets' are doomed to be failures from the beginning, is that they are so boring, monotonous and often unsociable. Just think: before the diet begins, you are probably eating exactly what you want and however much you want...ironically, this is probably why you can be so determined in spirit to embark upon a 'crash diet'.
The problem lies in the fact that we cannot avoid food altogether, like other habits. We can't just avoid food completely, because h eating is absolutely vital to our survival. So after 3 days on the "only raw vegetables for a week" diet, you will probably be crawling up the wall, wishing you were one of those deep-rooted carrots themselves.
The monotony of the crash diet means that it is virtually impossible to sustain for the length of time suggested.....
and if it is, it is only because you then become completely obsessed and can hardly function on any other level than focusing on the diet. The unsociable nature of these diets only adds to the effect of their unsustainabilty. You have to forego a meal out at the weekend even though you could easily order sensibly from a good menu, because you are on the "only raw carrots for a week" diet.It is really no wonder these diets are impossible.
Is this you?
The Yo-yo effect
Even if you make it to the end of the Crash diet programme and you have lost the weight you intended to lose, this is not the end of the story. For many it is only the beginning. Firstly, my natural reaction is to get back to the food I really enjoy. Well, I deserve it! I have been "good" for a whole 2 weeks and I need to relax.
Unfortunately, my body says the same, and is overjoyed that it is back to normal. But the old body has a good memory and cannot be tricked. It remembers that it was starving and lacked a lot of the nutrients it needed and so it goes into 'fat storing' mode; just the opposite to what we wanted.
The result is that we find in 2-3 days of former eating habits we can easily recoup all the weight we lost after the week's crash diet. So after a few weeks of recouping all I have lost (and perhaps more) I often find myself more depressed and down about my weight. I tend to start searching for a new system or crash diet that could get me back on the right track again: and thus the Yo-yo effect! Back again on the diet treadmill one more time and the vicious circle is complete!
I find it very disconcerting that although I have read a lot of theory and physical facts about dieting, I can still fall into the Crash diet trap. Although I am coping much better recently I still struggle with the psychology behind dieting. i would like to hear from other dieters addicted to the "quick fix" and find out how you are coping.
Have you ever been on a crash diet?
Please describe your experience after having undergone a crash diet of any sort.
Have you ever been on a Crash Diet ?
I would greatly appreciate any comments about your own personal weight-loss struggle especially Crash dieting. Please share how you are managing this issue.