Every day at least a million searches happen on the internet with the query 'How to lose weight quickly?' or 'How to lose 10 kilos in 30 days?' If you have seen pirate movies, you remember the situation with the hostage where on one end, it is the pirate with a sword pointing towards the spine of the hostage. On the other, it is the sharks waiting to tear the hostage's body to shreds as soon as their reflection touches the water. This is exactly the situation of fat people and fad diets. They just fail to recognize the pirate or the sharks here.
These fad diets usually go with the same vicious circles. Do extreme things, lose some weight, go back to the fattening lifestyle, gain all the weight again. Repeat. All these fad diets have a few characteristics in common. Use this list as a bullshit filter the next time you see a miraculous diet pop up in the dieting circles:
1. The diet categorizes food items into good and bad. It issues a list of foods that one should avoid at all costs and a list of foods one can keep hogging all day, without any quantity control as those foods fall into the good food list.
2. It enforces nutrition guidelines on an individual and states that it is the only way they will ever get results. If they do not accept this, they are doomed and bound to stay fat.
3. The diet does not care for individualization or respects one's individual food preferences. It is either the fad way or the highway.
4. It promises rapid results without listing possible downsides, the harmful effects or health implications of the same.
5. The diet requires an individual to purchase particular products, food supplements, or proprietary blends suggesting they will enhance the efficacy of the diet.
6. It cuts out an entire food group or a class of macronutrient from one's diets.
7. It demonizes food items that are generally considered healthy in the community. For example, fruits and vegetables.
8. It relies heavily on user testimonials and targets the emotions of the target audience than relying on scientific data or literature.
9. It falls short of completing the essential nutrients in one's diet.
10. It states that it is easy to follow but does not provide any sustainability making people follow a binary approach of all or nothing.
11. Makes claims of its effectiveness by suggesting certain public figures like doctors or celebrities or politicians who use it and hence it applies to every individual.
12. The dietary approach lacks consistent scientific literature supporting its claims.
The next time you see a pop-up ad on your web browser or a particular fitness guru or a fitness group suggesting that they have a way of dieting that will help you shed an X amount of weight almost instantaneously, use these pointers to filter out the bullshit.
And if you want to seriously follow a plan that gives results and at the same time preserves your sanity, do give this piece a read.
Pratik Thakkar is the co-founder and director of GetSetGo Fitness, an online fitness company. He is regarded as someone who will make it easy for you to understand the process by putting things in the right context and providing science-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding. You can reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Instagram and Facebook.