By Erica Schwartz

What the Atkins Diet considers to be a balanced meal/PHOTO VIA Wikimedia Commons

Atkins, South Beach, Slim Fast, Juicing…What do all of these fad diets have in common? They don’t work.

Magazines manipulate us into believing that fad diets are an easy and simple way for weight loss and that, “after only a short three weeks,” we’ll look just as good as Victoria Secret’s model, Miranda Kerr, who claims to have done the same diet on their ad campaign. Not so fast!

While looking skinny is most peoples’ priority with losing weight, getting healthy is actually the most important. Fad diets defeat that purpose. If anything, those quick and effortless diets are so “quick” and “effortless” because they are not long-term.

I know a number of people who have turned to ridiculous diets and lost some weight by pretty much depriving themselves of any real food. However, after the weight loss, they went back to eating and working out in the same routine as they had done beforehand. As a result, they gained all the weight back. Unfortunately, most gain even more weight back.

It happens mostly for two reasons. One: they had missed their diabetes-inducing junk foods so much during those three weeks of eating cardboard, that they later overdid it. Two: their body got accustomed to the dramatically lower calorie intake, so bouncing back confused the body and resulted with it wanting to hold onto those foods more afterwards.

Fad diets are popular because they are short and require no determination. Most people don’t want to put in the work of going to the gym or skipping a nighttime binge.

This old mindset reappears when avoiding the gym during winter because it’s not bikini season or while eating one pound of cookie dough ice cream while watching White Chicks (yes, these have actually happened to me).

Fad diets don’t make you feel healthy and they surely don’t make you feel like you accomplished anything. That’s why I like to call my everyday health and fitness routine a “lifestyle change” and not a “diet.”