Fad diets don’t work

By Meredith Pratt | Assistant News Editor

The beginning of the year is always fresh with New Year’s resolutions and personal goals for the months ahead. My advice? Don’t fall for trendy diets, detoxes, cleanses or the like.

I can only speak from my personal experience, but none of these fad diets are sustainable. Whenever I wanted to try “dieting” in the past, I treated it like it was all-or-nothing, which I feel like is a common mistake when wanting to implement changes in your life — whether it be eating healthier or exercising.

Last year, I decided I would not only try to eat 100% healthy but also give intermittent fasting a go.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, it means only eating between a particular window of time and fasting the remainder of the time.

Although I was able to stick with it for a while, I didn’t necessarily feel better. I don’t think I was eating enough throughout the day and sometimes that led to me overeating at night to compensate.

I’m not saying that intermittent fasting is bad or that you shouldn’t cut out unhealthy food. I’m saying that it was not what was best for me, personally. You can’t drive a car without fuel, and sometimes that felt like what I was trying to do.

Some diets that are advertised today make insane claims about weight loss and health benefits. However, it is important to remember that everyone has different nutritional needs that are based on so many unique factors.

Incorporating small, healthy changes day to day can add up over time, and I believe this is the best way to improve your health.

Now, instead of aiming for a perfect diet, I try to simply swap out some of my less-healthy items for healthier alternatives.

One of the first easy swaps I made was using lettuce wraps instead of bread for sandwiches and burgers. I usually eat toast for breakfast, so this minimized how much bread I was eating later in the day.

I have also recently become a huge fan of flavored sparkling water as an alternative to soda. It’s a lot of fun trying out different brands and flavors, and many on the market have zero calories.

This hack is much harder, but next time you eat out, try to be conscious of the dipping sauces you grab. For example, Chick-fil-A sauce is 140 calories while their zesty buffalo sauce is only 25. That is just one small aspect of the entire meal that can sometimes add up.

Instead of transforming your entire diet to fit the latest trend or cutting out certain foods cold turkey, I would encourage you to try and incorporate smaller changes. Most importantly, find what works for you and give yourself some grace. You don’t necessarily have to stop eating the foods you love in order to positively impact your health.