Fad diets: harmful or harmless fun?

So, as I’m writing this, the new year is fast approaching, and everyone is walking around in a bleary eyed, cheese filled daze as we all try and work out where on earth 2018 has gone and what on earth we’ve all achieved in the past 364 days or so. One of the easiest points of comparison between this year and last is our appearance. People and places (fortunately, or unfortunately) come and go, but the mirror propped up against the wall remains a constant for us to assess ourselves in.

This brings me on to the topic of the famous new year diet. Everyone will know someone, or maybe you are the someone, who’s made the resolution to take up the diet that will change their life. Whether it’s the low-carb Atkins, the gruelling juice cleanse, or the old-school Palaeolithic, we’re all used to the buzz that surrounds the newest fad of the new year. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to make this 350 words of shaming, but I won’t be shy about the fact that I’m forever sceptical that they are just harmless fun.

This time last year I gave the 5:2 diet a go, and I have to say, I did lose a fair amount of weight which has left me feeling pretty good about myself this past year. I also spent two days of every week basically not talking to anyone because hungry = grumpy and I didn’t want to unfairly bite anyone’s head off. I lost some weight but also lost some of my likeability in the process, not sure if the pros outweighed the cons to be honest.

I’ll repeat: there is not necessarily anything harmful with giving a diet a go in the new year, but just think carefully about it. Are you spending stupid amounts of money on products that are promising you the world and more? Are you willing to commit to a potential change in lifestyle to compliment it? And most importantly, are you keeping your mind healthy in the process? If you’re happy with the answer to these questions, then fine, it’s harmless fun – but are you really happy with the answer to all of these questions?

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Becca Allen

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January 2022
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