Healthy Living Weight Loss

The Skinny on Fad Diets

Do not be tempted to indulge in a quick-fix eating plan.

When on a mission to lose weight, achieving your goal the fastest way possible may seem like the best way to go. Restrictive diets that promise immediate results, however, are not the healthiest or the most sustainable options.

When you rapidly shed pounds, you also deplete your body of water it needs, as well as bone and muscle mass, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Similarly, adapting to a diet that encourages consuming only one food, such as fruit, juice or soup, may cause you to become deficient in important nutrients.

“Following the MyPlate guidelines is the best way to have a sensible eating plan. This way you will get a variety of nutrients and an adequate amount of protein, fruits and vegetables at all meals,” said Margaret Armstrong, RD, LD, dietitian with Augusta University Health. “While many people do have success with fad diets, they are not usually sustainable and do not deliver the same results for everyone. Instead, find an eating plan that works best for you.”

Smart Solutions

To avoid losing vitamins and minerals you need to stay strong, focus on a healthy eating plan that includes a variety of foods and works well with your lifestyle. Choose fresh, colorful produce as the base for your meals, and add in protein-rich foods — like fish, lean meats and nuts — as well as complex carbohydrates, such as oatmeal and whole-wheat toast. Rich in the nutrients that your body is craving, these foods will help you feel satisfied so you are less likely to binge on items that can sabotage your weight-loss goals.

By shifting your mindset away from deprivation, you set yourself up for long-term success. Have fun with the process, and feel free to get creative. If you are craving something crunchy between meals, try carrots or cucumbers dipped in spicy, low-fat hummus. When you are in the mood for something sweet at the end of a meal, consider fruit drizzled with dark chocolate instead of sugar-laden cupcakes.

The Activity Factor

Healthy eating is a critical first step when you are striving to lose weight, but do not discount the importance of physical activity. Regular exercise will help you burn calories that you take in and will also help you feel energized and motivated to live a healthier life.

If working out is new to you, gradually adapt to a more active lifestyle by making small changes to your daily routine. Park far away from your office. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk after lunch or dinner. As you increase your strength and stamina, explore other exercise options that you may enjoy, such as cycling or yoga.

A primary care physician (PCP) with Augusta University Health can offer nutrition guidance or connect you with a dietitian. To find a PCP, visit

About the author

Augusta University Health

Based in Augusta, Georgia, Augusta University Health is a world-class health care network, offering the most comprehensive primary, specialty and subspecialty care in the region. Augusta University Health provides skilled, compassionate care to its patients, conducts leading-edge clinical research and fosters the medical education and training of tomorrow’s health care practitioners. Augusta University Health is a not-for-profit corporation that manages the clinical operations associated with Augusta University.