Fad Diets vs Lifestyle Changes

Fad diets are extremely alluring and perpetually popular, but do they really work? Yes, they work, but only temporarily for most. If you’re wanting fast results, a fad diet can get you there. But only through cutting out many of the things you eat and making a drastic change. The issue is, they’re difficult to keep up after the initial period of time, especially if you’ve cut out ALL carbs, ALL sugar, etc. Let’s do a comparison of fad diets and lifestyle changes to see which is the better of the (what we’ll call) weight loss programs for the results you’re wanting in order to live a long, healthy life right here in Birmingham, AL.

Fad Diets / Quick Fixes

  • Promise fast and easy results
  • Dependency on them
  • Temporary results
  • Associated with giving something up
  • Misery from giving something up
  • Can result in weight gain when you stop
  • An “end date”

Lifestyle Changes

  • Realistic 
  • Slower progress, but long-lasting results
  • Can be successful independently
  • Moderation, not deprivation
  • Uncomfortable at first, but not miserable
  • Maintain weight loss
  • There is no end — this is your new life!

Here’s a wonderful example, from Kimberly Schorn, MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN, EP-C, EIM(2) of yourweightmatters.org:

Say you’re consuming four glass (16 oz) of whole milk per day. A fad diet says, “No more milk — only drink water!” Now, that is giving up a product (dairy) and doing it overnight! It’s jarring, and for somebody that adores milk, that’s hard! You’re miserable missing your milk and you eventually may just go back to consuming it. In a fad diet, we unfortunately have a tendency to feel as though we are a success or failure.

Now, a lifestyle change is different. We negotiate what you are willing to do. The key is that whatever you do to get the weight off, you will do the rest of your life to keep it off. So, the choice and goal must be your own — not dictated by a third party. Therefore, the conversation begins. You may ask yourself, “Well, have I ever tried two percent milk before?” (Note: we didn’t go straight to skim).

A “Step One” Goal for a lifestyle change may look like this:

Goal this week: I will continue to consume four glasses (16 oz) of milk per day, but instead of whole milk, I will consume two percent milk as an alternative.

As you saw in the example, you made progress without giving up milk. While the fad diet got bigger results faster, you had to give up something you love and it made you miserable. Plus, you’re much more likely to gain some or all of the weight back once your fad diet is over if you resort to old habits. But if you dedicate yourself to a healthier lifestyle, you can maintain your weight and still get to drink milk (even though it’s a smarter 2% option). 

We’re not trying to say that all fad diets are evil or wrong. In fact, many times you may find healthier alternatives to what you were eating or you may find out you do just fine without that specific food. At the end of the day, it’s about moderation and taking care of your body. At Weigh to Wellness, we will work alongside you to meet your goals safely and effectively through our personalized weight loss programs. We provide supplements, healthy food and beverage options, and support from our dieticians. Most importantly, we want to help you maintain your weight after you’ve reached your desired weight. Contact us today to get started. Let’s make it a lifestyle change- one of health and happiness!


Scroll to Top