WTH of the Week: Quick Fix Diets

29 Apr

If you haven’t figured this out by now, I spend a stupid amount of time on Pinterest. Why? Cause we’re BFF’s. Peas and carrots.  Like, I just adore that digital time suck.

Except for one little thing (well, two, because Pins captioned “Pin now, read later!” really bug me also. Not sure why).

But my real point of contention is with Pinterest is the abundance of health related misinformation out there that gets pinned and repinned thousands of times. Specifically, I am deeply and profoundly annoyed by pins with pictures of models with 6 Pack abs with captions that read crap like the following:

“Burn 600 calories in 20 minutes!”

“Workouts to Get Rid of Cellulite!”

“Melt your thigh fat!”

and my least favorite:…drumroll please…

“Lose 10+ lbs in 7 Days”


Ahhhhhh. You guys.

First of all. Burning 600 calories in 20 minutes…welp, good luck. Getting rid of cellulite? Even better luck (and furthermore, who decided that cellulite is a terrible thing? Get over it: everyone has cellulite and it’s not necessarily reflective of a poor lifestyle- it’s mostly genetic), Melt thigh fat? You can’t choose where fat melts from, sorry Charlie.

But losing 10 pounds in 7 days. Um, kill me, because I really just can’t think of a less healthy message to send out to the primary users of Pinterest (women age 18-34). Unfortunately, our quick-fix society is all about ideas like losing 10 pounds in 7 days, so those pins just spread like a damn wildfire.

This is sucko because first of all, studies show that not only is it unhealthy to lose over 2 lbs a week, but the chances of keeping it off declines sharply. If it was so easy to just lose 10 pounds in a week and keep it off, I kinda don’t think we’d have an obesity problem. On the contrary, quick fixes have helped propel an obesity epidemic by teaching us that a quick fix is favorable to actually developing a normal, healthy relationship with food. And oh, that’s because forming habits and changing a mindset takes time. Duh.

I’ve addressed this cycle before, but if you need a refresher course, here’s generally what happens on a crash diet:

1. Calories are reduced drastically for short periods of time.  This is typically accompanied by hunger and misery:  such a brutal slashing of calories will likely leave you craving all sorts of high calorie food. Because your mindset is in the short term, there’s a Big Mac at the end of the rainbow if you can just get through the next 10 days.

Part 2 is a choose-your-own-adventure kinda situation:

2A. You break, and after 3 days of eating iceberg salads with fat free ranch, you head straight to Pizza Hut and take one of those puppies down, solo. You feel guilty and deem yourself a failure.

2B. Diet ends and  X amount of pounds have been lost (mostly water weight).  You’re pleased with the scale (or not), but you head straight to McDonalds for a #2 and maybe some curly fries from J in the B because you have been eating fricken’ celery and grapefruit with fat free sour cream all week and you deserve it, damnit.

3. Begin binge and purge (I am not referring to throwing up) cycle of excessive calorie deficit, temporary weight loss, followed by excessive consumption because you went from 60 to 0 and your body is freaking out. Follow up with excessive guilt when (mostly water) weight is gained back.

4. Enter a vicious cycle…and a world of hurt.

I mean, this is clearly not the scientific version of what’s wrong with crash diets, but I think you get the gist, and I hope it pisses you off too. So please guys, do me a favor and trust me when I say it’s all BS: stop pinning this garbage! It’s something we could all do without.

End rant.






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