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The Dangers Of Fad Diets And 5 Tips To Rehabilitate Your Relationship With Food | Balance

Fad diets are popular, but often ineffective and potentially harmful eating plans that promise quick weight loss or other health benefits.


They typically involve restrictive eating patterns or the elimination of certain foods or food groups, and often lack scientific evidence to support their claims.

Fad diets can be appealing because they offer a quick fix for weight loss or other health concerns.


However, they often lead to a cycle of yo-yo dieting, where a person loses weight on a restrictive diet, but then gains it back when they return to their normal eating habits.


This can have negative effects on both physical and mental health, and can lead to a distorted relationship with food.


One of the main problems with fad diets is that they often involve restrictive eating patterns, such as cutting out entire food groups or limiting calorie intake to a very low level. This can lead to feelings of deprivation and deprivation, which can trigger disordered eating patterns, such as binge eating, overeating, and an unhealthy preoccupation with food.


Ultimately, fad diets are deceptive in the claims they make and actually require to engage in unhealthy behaviours to achieve the weight loss you're seeking. These unhealthy behaviours are unsustainable and eventually lead to the person breaking away from the fad diet and reverting back into previously unhealthy behaviours (sometimes to an even greater degree).


In addition, fad diets often lack the necessary nutrients for overall health and can lead to deficiencies.


They also teach individuals to rely on external sources for weight loss and not internal cues such as hunger and fullness.


Finally, fad diets (either in singularly or as a result of years of yo-yo dieting with different fad diets), can lead to a loss of wellbeing supporting lean muscle mass and even a reduction in a person's bone mass density.


Healing and rehabilitating your relationship with food

Rehabilitating your relationship with food can involve several steps, such as identifying and addressing any underlying emotional or psychological issues related to food, learning healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with stress and emotions, and developing a balanced and nutritious meal plan.

It may also involve working with a nutritionist or dietitian to help you understand and overcome any disordered eating patterns or food-related habits. It is important to remember that the process of rehabilitating your relationship with food can take time and requires patience and commitment.


Here are five tips for breaking up with fad diets and rehabilitating your relationship with food:

  1. Ditch the diet mentality. Instead of focusing on weight loss, focus on developing a healthy relationship with food and your body.

  2. Listen to your body. Learn to recognize and respond to your body's signals of hunger and fullness, rather than relying on external rules or restrictions.

  3. Embrace variety. Include a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods in your diet, rather than limiting yourself to a specific set of foods or food groups.

  4. Practice mindful eating. Take the time to fully enjoy and savor your food, rather than rushing through meals or eating on the go.

  5. Start to embrace intuitive eating... and here's how;

How to start inuitive eating

Intuitive eating is a non-diet approach to eating that focuses on listening to your body's hunger and fullness cues, rather than following strict rules and restrictions.


It can be a helpful tool for those who have struggled with disordered eating or a history of dieting, as it promotes a positive relationship with food and one's body.


Getting started with intuitive eating can involve several steps:

  • The first is learning to honour hunger, make peace with food, challenge the food police, respect your fullness cue and feel your feelings without using food.

  • Let go of the diet mentality: Dieting often involves restriction and denial, which can lead to feelings of guilt and shame when those rules are broken. Let go of the idea that certain foods are "good" or "bad", and to give themselves permission to eat all foods in an appropriate way that suits you, your needs and your goals.

  • Tune in to your body's signals: Pay attention to their hunger and fullness levels, as well as your emotional state when you are eating. This can help them to identify your triggers and learn to respond to them in a healthy way.

  • Practice self-compassion: Intuitive eating can involve challenging thoughts and beliefs that you have held for a long time. Be kind and compassionate to yourself as you navigate this process and remember that change takes time and effort.

  • Embrace exercise again; the intuitive eating approach encourages you to embrace exercise as a means of celebrating your body and not always shrinking it. Find forms of movement that you enjoy and look forward to and incorporate those into your life in a practical and sustainable way.

It is also important to keep in mind that everyone's journey with intuitive eating is unique and it may take time for you to fully embrace and trust the process. Be patient and see this as a journey rather than a race to achieve some end point.


Concluding remarks

Fad diets may seem like a quick fix for weight loss or other health concerns, but they are often ineffective and potentially harmful.


They can lead to disordered eating patterns, nutrient deficiencies and lack of self trust.


Breaking up with fad diets and rehabilitating your relationship with food requires a shift in mindset and a focus on developing a healthy, balanced relationship with food and your body.




Balance is Northern Ireland's leading nutritionist and dietician coaching team. We work with everyone from Olympians to office workers to help them achieve their nutrition and diet related goals.


Get in touch with us today to discuss how we can help you;


  • Live a life free of binge eating

  • Achieve your athletic potential and become the healthiest and happiest you can in and out of sport

  • Lose weight in a healthy way and learn to keep it off for life with no more fad diets

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