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Too Good To Be True

“Lose 15 pounds in 15 days!”, “Burn calories just by sitting!”, “Discover the marvelous superpowers of the magical Malaysian Meme Beans!”... you've probably heard promises like that before. The idea of losing weight effortlessly sounds great, but what’s the truth of it?

Miracle diets, shock diets and company

Extreme diets promise drastic and rapid weight loss using severe calorie deficits and dietary restrictions. Of course you’ll shed pounds like crazy if all you have is smoothies or cabbage soup. But in the end, it’ll only harm your health—and your weight.

Your body is clever. When you deprive it of food, it goes into survival mode to conserve energy. As soon as you start eating normally again, it gets a signal to store as much energy as possible to prepare for the next starvation period. As a result, you will gain back all the weight you've lost, and maybe even more.

Not to mention that by completely forbidding yourself from enjoying your favorite treats, such as chocolate chip cookies, you risk going on a cheating binge and gulping down the whole box…

About so-called detox diets

You may have heard that after a period of excessive indulgence, you should purify your body by fasting, going on a liquid diet or consuming an overpriced “detoxifying” product. However, your body is perfectly capable of eliminating waste by itself, and there is still no scientific evidence of detox diets having any of the advertised effects. Once again, there’s a chance you’ll lose weight quickly. But the hazards to your health should weigh heavily in the balance.

Lasting results

So what’s the winning recipe for losing weight in a healthy and lasting way? It’s mostly about changing your habits little by little by integrating a balanced diet and physical exercise into your lifestyle. Here are some tips to help you on your way.

  • Set concrete and realistic goals for yourself, such as reducing your waist size, eating more vegetables or taking a walk every day.
  • To lose 1 lb (0.5 kg), you need to remove 3,500 calories from your diet. Better to cut 100 calories per day and lose weight more slowly than to cut 500 per day and suffer from the yo-yo effect.
  • Aim for at least 150 minutes of physical exercise per week. Find an activity you enjoy, whether it’s dancing, hula hooping or swimming.
  • If you deviate from your plan, here’s what you should do: don’t guilt-trip yourself, and don’t give up on the whole thing!

Tangible benefits for diabetes

Overweight or obese people who reduce their weight by 5 to 10% are likely to see their blood sugar levels improve and their risk of heart disease go down. As a bonus, physical activity strengthens heart health while reducing blood pressure, cholesterol and stress. Those are good reasons to make a long-term commitment.

In conclusion

Achieving your goals will require time and perseverance, not some miracle cure. Meet with your doctor or dietitian to design an effective and safe plan that will help you shed weight durably—without the lost pounds coming right back!

References:

American Diabetes Association (n.d). Weight Loss. Retrieved from: https://www.diabetes.org/fitness/weight-loss. Accessed October 29 2020.

Diabetes.co.uk (2019). Detox Diet. Retrieved from: http://www.diabetes.co.uk/diet/detox-diet.html. Accessed October 29 2020.

Diabetes Québec (2018). Gestion du poids. Retrieved from: http://www.preventiondiabete.ca/prevenir-le-diabete-oui-cest-possible/gestion-du-poids. Accessed October 29 2020.

Diabetes Québec (2014). Weight Management in Adults. Retrieved from: https://www.diabete.qc.ca/en/living-with-diabetes/care-and-treatment/wei.... Accessed October 29 2020.

Diabetes Québec (2018). Activité physique. Retrieved from: http://www.preventiondiabete.ca/prevenir-le-diabete-oui-cest-possible/activite-physique. Accessed October 29 2020.

Today's Dietitian (2014). Farewell to the 3,500-Calorie Rule. Retrieved from: https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/111114p36.shtml. Accessed October 29 2020. 

WebMD (2020). The Truth About Detox Diets. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/diet/a-z/detox-diets. Accessed October 29 2020.

WebMD (2014). 9 Dos and Don’ts for Dieters. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/features/diabetes-dieting-dos-and-donts#1s. Accessed October 29 2020.

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