Turning to extreme measures to stay svelte this season? Beware of the diet fads and traps that get quick results but can have lasting negative effects.
The Major Offenses
If you're watching your weight during the holidays, you may be familiar with these tactics. However, none of them are recommended by health professionals no matter the season:
1. Starving all day to pig out later.
Skipping breakfast and lunch for an evening event will leave you zapped of energy, possibly dehydrated and cause your blood sugar to crash. Without that fuel, how can you be productive? Arriving to a party famished will also mean you'll overeat when you get there, causing you to consume excessive calories. You may even experience some indigestion and feel sick.
2. Cutting out certain food groups.
The removal of fats or carbohydrates completely from the diet isn't a new diet phenomenon, but it's usefulness is certainly outweighed by cons nowadays. The body needs a good mixture of fat, protein and carbohydrates to carry out its countless daily functions, fight illness and to build lean muscle mass and lose fat. You're also more like to eat too much of another food group.
3. Extended cleanses.
Juice cleanses and laxatives (herbal, magnesium-based, etc.) are getting abused on a more regular basis these days as a quick fix and the results aren't worth the risk. With juice cleanses, you're missing valuable fats, fiber and protein and instead filling up on sugar. Laxatives and herbal cleanses can lead to diarrhea and dehydration. When waste travels through the body that fast, you also don't absorb the nutrients you need from it.
4. Crash dieting after the festivities end.
There are plenty of crash diets there, usually involving eating one type of thing all day long for an extended period of time. While you may lose weight, you'll gain it all back when you incorporate all of the other food groups into your diet. You'll also be putting your body into distress, which means your metabolism slows down to hold onto what little you're eating, making it harder to maintain a healthy weight later on.
5. Doubling up on workouts to compensate.
Pulling two-a-days for the entire winter season may keep you in your skinny jeans, but over training can cause serious injury to the muscles and lead to symptoms like extreme fatigue and muscle weakness. This can be especially dangerous if you aren't making sure to consume enough water and food pre and post workout to sustain yourself.
Any extreme diet can also be taxing on the vital organs of the body, like the heart, which begins working overtime. Talk with your doctor or a nutritionist if you have specific concerns about your weight -- they can help you develop the best strategy for short-term and long-term success.
The Right Way
Don't let these diet traps lead to another year of yo-yo dieting that can be damaged to your health. Here are some better tips to keep in mind:
Eat sensibly throughout the day so you're not starving at dinner.
Prepare balanced meals that are one quarter protein, one quarter carbohydrates and one half fruits and vegetables.
Include plenty of fiber for digestion and satiety.
Choose wine or cocktails made with natural juices or seltzer.
Keep up your normal exercise routine.
Get plenty of sleep.
Try meditating once a day to combat stress.
There are some great natural supplements to try that can help you get control of your appetite just in time for all the parties and keep you on track well after. The first to consider is CLA, which is found in safflower oil. CLA supports the development of lean muscle and the reduction of body fat. The next supplement to consider is raspberry ketone. Raspberry ketones are what give raspberries their scent and this compound targets fat throughout the body and revs up the metabolism. The last supplement to consider is satiereal saffron. This supplemental form of the common cooking spice helps control stress eating by inhibiting the production of cortisol, the stress hormone that can make us eat when we're not hungry and gain weight, especially around the stomach. All of these supplements are stimulant free with no reported negative side effects.
As always, speak with your doctor before adding any supplements to your routine, especially if you're pregnant, breastfeeding or have been diagnosed with a medical condition. Women who are taking medication for thryoid should avoid raspberry ketone in particular. Natural supplements can take between four and 12 weeks to take effect, so you have to stick with it and you'll have a head start on that New Year's resolution.
Don't let the holidays take a toll on your health. You can still have your fun and stay on track! Get everything you need to stay well all year long at eVitamins!