How often do you fall into the tempting trap of fad diets? Summer seems to be the time that most of the fad diets come out of the woodworks. Each one promises to help you shed that last 10 pounds you want to get off so you can get into the best shape of your life for summer.
Many of these fad diets are ridiculous no matter which way you look at them. Drinking three bottles of juice every day for five days is nothing novel. Switching to a vegetarian diet simply for the sake of your weight isn’t going to give you results. No matter how many people are following the keto trend, even the most popular fad diets can be a dangerous game to play.
Avoiding the temptation of fad diets is a difficult but vital part of maintaining your eating disorder recovery. Fad diets are a fast way to fall victim to your disordered eating behaviors again before you even realize what’s happening. But no matter how long you’ve had your behaviors under control, it’s easy to feel tempted by their elusive promises.
How can you avoid the temptation of the fad diet and stay strong in your recovery?
Removing Whole Food Groups is a Fast Track to Failure
Plenty of fad diets set the stage by carving out entire food groups. Keto insists you should avoid bread, pasta, and rice at all costs. Paleo has you removing foods that cannot be hunted or gathered. Raw food diets convince you that cooking your foods strips them of most of their nutritional value.
Removing whole food groups or things like cooking your food puts you on the fast track to failure. There is very little long-term research on the effects of avoiding entire groups of foods. It might work in the short-term but the lasting effects of these fad diets are yet to be discovered.
Additionally, carving things out doesn’t establish a positive relationship with food. Instead, it establishes the false idea that foods are either “good” or “bad”. Creating such a black-and-white view of nutrition is harmful not only to everyday individuals but it’s downright dangerous for individuals in eating disorder recovery.
Foods Aren’t Inherently “Good” or “Bad”
A major issue with fad diets is the categorization of foods as “good” or “bad”. Avocados and almonds are good, pizza and ice cream are bad. Salads and granola are good, burgers and fries are bad. It pushes every food into one box or the other which puts certain foods on pedestals and surrounds others with feelings of guilt and shame.
In reality, foods aren’t necessarily “good” or “bad.” This is a serious oversimplification of the way foods work. Sure, it’s not the best idea to have pizza every day of the week or eat an entire package of sweets in a single sitting. But incorporating these highly palatable foods into a well-rounded approach to nutrition isn’t instantly going to harm you.
Problems arise when you’re having too much of any one thing. You won’t derail yourself by having a slice of cake at a friend’s birthday party. Cramming foods into one box or the other is a more harmful approach to nutrition than eating the foods themselves. After all, you can overeat avocados and almonds and salads and granola, too.
Steer Clear of Social Media
Social media is the breeding ground for every fad diet both new and old. Open up Instagram and do a quick scroll through your feed. You’re guaranteed to find at least one or two people that you follow touting the benefits of some fad diet. They’re backed by massive promises about their numerous benefits, outlined in captions below bright before-and-after photos.
Whether it’s your cousin swearing by a five-day juice cleanse or a high school friend pushing some multi-level marketing scheme disguised as a health product, fad diets are everywhere. If there’s one thing these fad diets have in common, it’s that social media gives them an undeserved platform.
There’s nothing wrong with social media but be careful not to fall into the temptation of fad diets. Remember that many accounts on social media exist to sell you a product, not to keep your best interest in mind. If you find that social media is pulling you into the temptation of fad diets, maybe take a step back.
Stick with Something Sustainable
The main problem with many fad diets is that they’re not something you can maintain for months or years at a time. Jumping from diet to diet is a dangerous practice not only for your mental health but for your physical health as well.
The best approach to nutrition is to stick with something sustainable. Understanding an approach to nutrition that’s sustainable for you depends on your needs. When you’re actively in eating disorder recovery, those needs differ from other everyday individuals.
Eating disorder treatment programs help you determine what a sustainable approach to nutrition looks like for you. Magnolia Creek is an eating disorder treatment facility based just outside of Birmingham that helps people battling eating disorders. If you’re struggling with disordered eating behaviors, Magnolia Creek is here. Reach out to us to learn more about our programs and find out the right path to recovery for you!