April 18, 2016
My definition of a crash diet is a diet that is extreme and meets one (or both) of the following criteria:
My initial thought on crash diets is they are horrible. They are setting you up to follow extremes that aren’t maintainable or healthy. Here is an example scenario of what usually happens when you crash diet: You eat cabbage soup for a couple of weeks. Yay, you lose 6 pounds!! Then when you stop, your body and your willpower are battered. You binge (because you deserve it) and then before you know it your weight is back up or over where you started before your crash diet. What’s worse is then if you aren’t careful, the cycle will continue. And that cycle isn’t good for your waistline or your psyche.
There are also risks to your health that are possible when you are crash dieting:
Healthy weight loss is gradual. Its gradual because it is the result of lifestyle changes.
You start by changing your routine a bit. You wake up and walk to the store (instead of driving) each morning, after you do that for a month or so, you feel great. Also, after a long enough period of time you have a new healthy habit. You no longer have to decide if you should walk each morning, you just do it without even thinking. As you lose weight you get motivated to add more healthy lifestyle choices. Then you make another small change and start eating a healthier breakfast. Before you know it in 2 years you lose 40 pounds and can now maintain that weight with little effort.
Crash diets have their place. If you are unhappy sometimes doing something extreme can jump start you. The trick is when the diet is over don’t binge and reward yourself. Don’t waste all the hard work you put into sticking with your diet.
Spending 2 years losing weight the “right” way sucks. You have 2 years to change your mind, slip up, make mistakes, eat a box of shame donuts. Doing it the right way is a pain in the ass.
Who cares if crash diets aren’t healthy? Have you ever sat down and eaten an entire bag of Twizzlers? I have. Then who really gives a shit if crash diets are healthy? Eating a bag of chocolate twizzlers isn’t healthy either. Being overweight isn’t good for your heart, joints, or lungs. If a crash diet gets you moving in the right direction, go for it.
If done correctly they can help increase your willpower and self control. If you can go a month only eating cabbage soup you can use that as motivation to do something less extreme. It will be easy compared to your epic cabbage diet.
I personally did a 600 calorie crash diet this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I lost 24.8 pounds in 25 days. It wasn’t fun but I lost and have kept off since (4 months later) all the weight. I will be writing more about my diet in a future post. It was pretty awesome for me because I went from being unhappy and feeling fat to feeling great about myself.
If you are considering a crash diet. The most important advice before you begin the diet is to plan for when you finish the diet. The goal is to lose weight AND to keep the weight off after your diet ends.
Consult your doctor before starting any diet or exercise plan.