Updated: May 27, 2020
It honestly makes me extremely sad when I see articles on crash diets and how to perform them for "fast" results. I get genuinely upset thinking of the person who stumbles across one of those articles with hopes of feeling good and achieving a greater level of confidence. I think about the hope they experience and the thoughts they have that maybe THIS diet will be the one that works. And 10/10 times it doesn't.
Why? They all have the same basic premise. If the core of these "diets" is the same, the end result will be the same too. Today, I'm sharing the 10 most common weight loss strategies that the #AENpeeps have been asking me about and why these are NOT the answer.
Most of these are extreme crash diets, but some of them aren't as obvious. In fact, some of these are healthy options to include in your lifestyle, but are NOT the key to a magic level of weight loss.
I'm sharing this with you today so that you can spot the underlying factors that tie these all together so that you can dodge (duck, dip, dive and... dodge) these cleverly disguised all-or-nothing, calorie restrictive "diets" and opt for a route that is sustainable, makes sense and isn't just a quick fix.
PS - For a full run down of the science-y deets behind each of these diets, check out the video below.
1. Military Diet
Contrary to the name of this diet, it is NOT a military approved diet. In fact, the military has adamantly denied any association with this diet, and yet the name has stuck. In essence, this "protocol" (I put quotation marks here because it's difficult for me to say anything that relies on hot dogs and ice cream as a "protocol") is calorie restriction, plain and simple. It clearly doesn't focus on quality of the food or long term results.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
This one isn't necessarily a "diet", yet rumors have been floating around on social media and in popular media outlets that drinking ACV is the cure to your weight loss woes. ACV does have some incredible reported benefits in terms of blood glucose levels, however it is not going to fix the rest of the food that you're eating throughout the day. If you continue to eat your normal diet and simply add in ACV... you're not going to achieve a magical amount of weight loss. But you definitely can include ACV into your lifestyle and reap the benefits. In fact, AENpeeps are using it everyday for the blood glucose stabilizing perks in the Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle.
3. 800 Calories/Day
This literally is calorie restriction, cut and dry. And calorie restriction will work... for a little bit. As you decrease your calories, your body starts to decrease the energy going to various functions in your body (think of this as equivalent to "power saving mode" on your phone). This means you burn less and less at rest and you have to constantly lower your intake to 'beat the system'. But you can't fight your physiology and eventually you will plateau and the weight will sneak back up. Plus, with the decreased BMR, this results in shutting off "non-essential" systems to save energy. Think issues with fertility and loss of period. You'll notice that many of the diets within this list rely on this short term calorie restriction and disregard the after effects.
4. Celery juice
I have a few theories on why some people may experience weight loss with celery juice, because let me tell you - it's not the celery juice that is causing weight loss. One of my main theories with celery juice is that you are swapping a less healthy/more sugar packed option (like a vanilla latte for example) for a vegetable juice. This in itself will make you more likely to choose healthier options later in the day due to the less variable blood glucose levels first thing in the morning. And this same result can be achieved by simply removing the problem causing drink/food. I discuss the other theory of mine in the video below. Just like with ACV, celery juice isn't a bad option to include in your diet, but it isn't the CURE. (Check out my full video on Celery Juice alone HERE.)
5. No Carbs At Dinner
My OG AENpeeps will know straight away that this isn't necessarily a great option. This one truly requires a nutrition nerd rant to understand the full meaning, so I highly recommend you check out the video below.
6. No Carbs Until 3pm
This is taking the previous diet and turning it upside down. And with that, this is actually a much better route (as you will have heard in the video above). However, my main concern with this is the simplicity of the statement. Carbohydrates come in many shapes and forms. Some are amazing and promote a stable blood glucose level and decreased insulin response, while others do the exact opposite. This "diet" or "protocol" isn't necessarily evil, rather the danger comes with the simplicity of the statement.
7. The Cabbage Soup Diet
If you haven't heard of this diet before, you're pretty much eating cabbage soup all day. There are some variations and inclusions of a little bit of protein here and there, but just like with the military diet, it's purely relying on short term calorie restriction.
8. The Pineapple Diet
Yes, this is a real thing. I honestly had never heard about it until one of the AENpeeps suggested that I review this diet. The meals suggested within the Pineapple Diet aren't awful. In fact, some of the meals sound like a tasty base. But notice that I say base and not meal. Because again, just as with the cabbage soup diet, you're relying on calorie restriction with the added benefit of eating some pineapple. And as we know, this simply doesn't work.
9. The Carnivore Diet
This protocol was originally intended for some therapeutic benefits. Just as with the Keto Diet, it wasn't originally intended for weight loss at all. Whether or not the Carnivore Diet is beneficial for some conditions is still up for debate. However, from a weight loss, long term solution view point, the Carnivore Diet is not sustainable and is very difficult to maintain a normal social lifestyle. For the lack of sustainability, I have added the Carnivore Diet to today's list.
10. No Sugar
I think we can all (or mostly all) agree that decreasing or totally eliminating added sugars can only benefit our health and wellness goals. Added sugars and fake sugars have become so prevalent that at times it can be difficult to avoid completely. Plus, many people transition to the "no sugar" diet and begin to restrict ALL forms of sugar, including those from fruits and some vegetables. If you are using the "no sugar" approach to reduce your intake of added sugars, then that is fantastic and isn't very restrictive. However, sugar in small amounts from food that is packed with fiber, such as in whole fruits, can be an amazing addition to your lifestyle.
Remember, the name of the game is sustainability, enjoying your meals and including the cultural/social aspect of food too. If any protocol you follow doesn't allow you to live your life as well, then it is not a long term solution.
P.S. If you're looking for strategies you can use to lose weight without counting calories - get 10 tips HERE.
Autumn Elle Nutrition