Diets are temporary, a quick fix to weight loss, not a long term solution. The only way to lose weight and keep it off is to change your daily habits for good. Anything and everything you can conjure up in your mind is out there in the form of a diet regardless of whether it is safe or not. Using common sense, you can quickly sift through the harmful and dangerous fads.

What’s out there and what to avoid.

Pyramid Scheme Diets

Many of today’s diets – and I use that term loosely – are considered pyramid schemes, where “employees” of a company are given money or goods in exchange for recruiting people to use the company’s services. Think of your Facebook feed or the commercials that run during day time TV and you will recognize various examples of these diet companies.

Instead of a well-rounded meal plan, these companies promote their powdered protein drinks and packets of probiotic pills and encourage buyers to take them throughout the day for an allotted amount of time. Many people see immediate results in appearance and invest in these products until they can no longer afford to, or until their weight loss plateaus. Due to the lack of structure and stability the results don’t last and the weight comes back full force for most users.

Liquid Diets

It should go without saying, liquid diets are extremely harmful to the body. However, this is not to be confused with smoothie or juice cleanses, which can re-boot your system and cleanse the body of toxins. When a smoothie or juice cleanse is done right, it should only last between 3-5 days and incorporates essential nutrients and antioxidants into each drink.

The infamous Lemon Cayenne Water diet, consisting solely of water, cayenne pepper and lemon juice, landed many dieters in the hospital. It is true, with a diet like this you will see substantial weight loss, but it is simultaneously starving your body of the nutrients it needs to survive. Once the liquid diet is over and old habits resurface, the weight will steadily come back.

Make a lifestyle change.

To see a change you have to make a change. Start with determining your ultimate goal, and then consider why you haven’t achieved it in the past.

Why can’t I keep the weight off?

It’s true what they say; 80% of weight loss starts in the kitchen. Many people are all too familiar with the struggles of working out yet seeing little to no change on the scale. In order to effectively lose weight and keep the weight off, a balance of exercise and nutrition must be made.

Nutrition!

Tour your kitchen, your pantry, the freezer in the garage, your candy drawer at work, everywhere you store food, and eliminate anything that doesn’t serve your body well.

When you grocery shop, stick to whole foods with minimal ingredients. The produce section should be where you spend most of your time.

Some of the hardest habits to break during the initial process of changing your diet are those absent minded treats. When you’re in line at the store and grab a candy bar for the road, or when someone brings in cookies or doughnuts to the office and you grab a few throughout the day. Without realizing it, these seemingly harmless habits add up. Not to mention, your body will continue to crave such foods because it has become accustom to them. The good news is, the longer you go without such treats and the more healthy foods you feed your body, the less these sugar cravings will surface.

Exercise!

A gym membership is not essential to a healthy lifestyle. There are plenty of exercise opportunities without paying monthly gym dues. Make time every day, or every week day, for a workout that gets your heart racing. An effective workout can be as simple as a 20 minute run/walk/sprint set in your neighborhood. It’s really that easy!

Say goodbye to diets forever and make a lifestyle change today! With a combination of healthy, nutritious foods and exercise, you will notice positive changes in your body and your mood.

Micah Larsen

Micah is a traveling swim coach and personal trainer, depending on the season. She is also currently working on her Master of Science in Athletic Administration and Coaching. Micah loves to live an active lifestyle, whether she is competing in open water swims, running a road race, practicing yoga, or biking with her dogs. The main objective in her career is to... Read More

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