Therapist’s Advice On Pinpointing Fad Diets

As a chubby kid all my life, I felt drawn towards fad diets that I saw on TV. I was highly impressionable and naïve back then, so I revered every person who claimed to be a weight-loss guru. They made me feel like they held the key to my problematic love for foods.

My parents already advised me against following fad diets before. They told me that those programs were created by people who wanted to be famous and get a quick buck. “Instead of going through all that trouble, you need to watch your food intake and exercise more,” they said.

Of course, since I was both naïve and stubborn, I did not listen to mom and dad. I kept buying modern food options like quinoa, black rice, vegan chicken, and whatnot. As with all the trendy stuff taking the limelight, though, such diets did nothing but damage my savings since their effects were not long-term.


Depressed, I decided to open up about my dilemma to a therapist. She explained that I fell into the trap of fad diets due to my desire to lose weight without working out too much. “However,” she said, “We need to work hard for everything we want to achieve in life. There is no such thing as a quick and permanent fix – especially not when it comes to changing your body.”

I understood what the therapist meant. Of course, I had always known that weight loss wouldn’t happen overnight; that’s why I never bought slimming pills or teas like many others. Despite that, I hoped that a new way of dieting would do me good. But it did not. So, I had to ask my therapist, “How do you think I can avoid getting lured by fad diets that do not work?”

The therapist gave me a list of things to look for in a new diet before trying it.

Guru’s Credibility

The first thing to check is the credibility of the people who supposedly created the programs. Meaning, are they nutritionists, dieticians, or food scientists? Are they in the medical field at all?


If someone who claims to be a guru has any of those labels, there is a high chance that the fad diet is real. They have profound knowledge about food and what it does to the body, after all. If they talk about a particular diet, extensive research must have been introduced to the public.

However, you should be wary of individuals who thought that being obese or overweight in the past made them experts at dieting. It does not work like that – and it never did. If anything, they could share tips and tricks that could have a detrimental effect on your health in the future.

Peer Review

Fad diets that are only meant to be cash grabs do not get reviewed by professionals. I know because I researched the programs I already tried and realized that the studies they presented were created mainly by them. The fact that no other expert backed up their claim could entail that they were afraid to ask for a peer review or not pass the reviews.


Meanwhile, real diets have multiple distinguished individuals supporting them. Researchers who adopted the idea for their studies can come from nutritional experts who aimed to determine if they genuinely work.

You need to focus on the latter since they can help with your weight-loss goals.

Lack Of False Promises

When I was younger, I got hooked by grand statements that practically promised me the world. One said that I could go from size 16 to size 12 in a month; another stressed that the diet would keep me from gaining weight ever again. But the most common claim was that it was the quick fix I had been waiting for my entire life.

Quick fix, my foot. Those were false promises that desperate people like I used to tend to gobble up. The so-called gurus knew about the desperation, and they chose the most enticing words. So, if you see anyone saying something too good to be true, you better believe it’s baseless.


No Requirement To Avoid A Certain Food Group

Dieticians and nutritionists do not recommend swearing off a specific food group because all groups provide nutrients and minerals that others don’t. You need a little bit of everything on your plate three times a day. Otherwise, you may experience nutritional insufficiency, which can lead to the development of other conditions.

I wish I had known this information in the past. No thanks to fad diets; I tried not eating meat or anything with carbohydrates, making me lethargic and grumpy. I also craved foods I was not supposed to have since I got deprived of them for a long time. It resulted in me gaining weight instead of losing any.


Moral Lesson: Listen to the real experts, not to so-called gurus who want your money.

Therapy For People Who Love Weight-Loss Fads


My mother had a best friend who I grew up calling Aunt M. She was a fixture in our house when I was young. If there were a family party, she would always be there.

I remembered asking my mother why they were very close, and she said that it’s because Aunt M did not have the best relationship with her family. “She saw my parents as her parents, so we are practically like sisters now.”

Aunt M eventually became a role model in my eyes. She was a gorgeous Afro that never seemed to go out of place. Her clothing style is elegant yet practical. More importantly, she had smooth skin and a fit figure. I told myself that I would grow up like Aunt M and become as confident as her.

Troubles In Her Life

I was already in sixth grade when Aunt M got married. I thought that Peter was friendly and funny, and he cared for her the way I saw my dad care for my mom. I liked Peter more when he agreed to let me be a young bridesmaid at their wedding.


Not long after the marriage, Aunt M announced that she was pregnant – with twins, no less. I felt excited because it had been a long time since we had babies around. Even if they won’t live in my house, I figured Aunt M would come by often, so I could play with them.

When the twins arrived in Aunt M’s life, I expected her to be more radiant than ever. I honestly thought she got motherhood down to the T, considering she often babysat me and received tips from all the mothers she knew. So, I felt surprised and bothered when I overheard her telling my mother – who also happened to be a therapist – that she felt lost and ugly since she gained a lot of weight.

Having gone through childbirth, mom advised Aunt M to let her emotions out and understand that things would get better after a few months. “You’ll have to put in a lot of work, for sure, but I believe that you can cinch your body in no time,” mom said encouragingly.

Aunt M exercised for a bit, but she grew frustrated because it was not working as fast as she wanted. That’s when she found the first fad diet that required her to avoid carbohydrates.


Now, if you have no idea about what carbohydrates do to the body, you should know that they are essential energy sources. Without them, your body will try to generate energy from fats, causing ketones to be released. Although nothing happened to the babies that Aunt M breastfed, it made her highly hypoglycemic and had her brought to the hospital.

Did that scare the woman away from fad diets? No. If anything, it made Aunt M want to go through every program out there to see what worked best. This odd kind of addiction went on until her husband begged my mother to perform an intervention on her. Peter was afraid that Aunt M was about to lose it because she was no longer getting enough nutrition in her body.

How Can You Make People Stop Embracing Fad Diets Too Much?

The first thing that mom did that hit Aunt M with facts about fad diets. She pointed out that her best friend followed everything the programs asked for, but to no avail. There were also no other experts claiming that they were helpful. It meant that the problem was not Aunt M but the diets themselves.

Did Aunt M accept that immediately? Of course not. She knew that not all of them worked, but she remained hopeful that something would in the future.


Mom had a tough time getting Aunt M to stop even thinking about fad diets. Her goal was to help her best friend get rid of the idea that those programs could resolve her weight issues quickly and permanently. Even if I was young back then, I knew that mom was correct, so I did not understand why Aunt M refused to get it.

When A Breakthrough Happened

Therapy became fruitful one day when Aunt M revealed that she got hooked on fad diets since her confidence level tanked as she put on a lot of weight. She worried about everything – from being undesirable in her husband’s eyes to not having enough energy to keep up with her twins.

This breakthrough made it easier for my mother to help Aunt M. They worked together to boost the latter’s self-confidence. As a therapist, mom asked her to keep a journal and write everything in her mind whenever she felt insecure. As a best friend and sister for life, mom accompanied her to the gym and whatever physical activity that Aunt M wanted to try.

Aunt M’s need for therapy came to a close when she felt confident in herself again.