Diet Journal

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of them on the market. Diets, pills, injections, shakes, teas, lotions and potions galore – all guaranteed to help you lose weight quickly. All you have to do is use them meticulously and the kilos will come flying off. These so-called quick fixes, FAD diets or “magic bullets” have been the bane of dieters for years. People are constantly seeking the one thing that will “cure” their weight problem. How many times have you heard someone say: “I’ve tried it all, none of those things work,” and then two sentences later: “But I’ve heard of this new [pill/diet/shake] that makes you lose 5 kilos in the first week!”

What is the problem here? Why are so many people convinced that the solution lies in a remedy you can buy over the counter? Well, just turn on a TV and you’ll find out. Or flip through a magazine. Everywhere you look there are ads for magical cures that will (supposedly) get you slim, healthy and playing volley ball in a bikini before the month is over. And people believe the hype because they want to believe it. So many would love to wake tomorrow 5 or 10 kilograms lighter. The simple truth is that weight control and wellness doesn’t work that way.

The other problem is that magic bullets promote dichotomous thinking. Dichotomous thinking means that you believe there are only two answers to a question: right or wrong, black or white, good or bad. Many FAD or ‘magic bullet’ diets exclude certain food groups by classifying them as “bad”. With this approach, there is no margin for error. You either succeed or you fail. And the irony of it all is that this approach automatically sets you up for failure. Nobody can sustain a program that excludes certain foods or forces you to use certain supplements or gets you to rely simply on willpower. And what happens if you reach your goal weight? What do you do to keep it there? FAD diets and magic bullets don’t answer these questions, because they can’t.

So how can you avoid falling into the trap? Simple: if it sounds too good to be true, it is. Watch out for these similar claims:

  • Weight loss of more than 1kg per week. Although this is possible, it is not healthy or sustainable. More often than not, you’ll be losing water and muscle weight instead of fat. This will negatively affect your body and metabolism, causing you to gain even more weight at the end of the day.
  • No exercise required. If you see this, run. Not only will the jog do you good, but you will get away from the ridiculous claim that health and wellness only stems from what you put into your body ­– how you use your body is equally important.
  • Do this one thing and you will lose weight. Weight loss isn’t a big thing. It’s a hundred little things. Drinking a shake or popping a pill might help initially, but you need to make a permanent lifestyle change to permanently change your waistline.

The bottomline is that there is no magic bullet. There is no one thing that will instantly solve your weightloss woes. The only sure way to lose weight – and keep it off! – is to have an holistic approach to the process. Just remember: slow and steady will win the race!

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