Psycho Diets

Psycho DietsHey buddy! So you want to lose weight, eh? Its summertime and you want to look all nice and hot for those babes at the beach. Ok, here's what you have to do if you want this to happen quickly; eat lots of cabbage and drink a gallon of prune juice twice daily at noon . . . no wait. Hmm, try this; eat nothing but ice cream and lard for the next three weeks or until the next full moon . . .no that's not it either. Aha! Here we go: eat six hotdogs per day (with syrup), while cutting out all meat products and carbs . . . . . what? Why are you giving me that look?? Ok, so maybe that wasn't quite your cup of tea . . . Did I mention tea? Try this magic herbal-essence tea, with the special fat melting ingredient, Babaganoosh. Of course to ensure its potency, the only additional foods you can eat is two loaves of rye bread with pickles and mayonnaise . . . STOP THE MADNESS ALREADY!!!


You know, one thing that I fail to grasp is why people only worry about looking good during the summer? Sure, looking good in a swimsuit or bikini is nice, but is it not also important to look fit when wearing slacks? And as far-fetched as some of these "diets" may sound, the things people are actually trying nowadays are just as perplexing. The problem is 99% of the weight lost on these diets will be water weight, which the body will quickly regain. What's worse is that all of these diets promote starvation, which in turn causes the metabolism to slow down. Once you come off a particular diet, you are apt to gain back all the weight you lost and then some! The human body does not take kindly to severe deprivation, and it will do whatever it takes to store energy i.e. slowing down the metabolism.


To get a better idea of what kind of madness people are willing to subject themselves to, let's take a closer look at some of these diets and their claims to fame.


The 3-Day Hotdog and Egg Diet


Synopsis: Here's one if you just can't seem to get enough hot dogs and eggs! It's easy to remember, and easy to shop for! Day 1) seven hot dogs, no bun, and mustard only. Day 2) eggs any style. Day 3) eggs any style. The Claim: Lose between 8 and 10 pounds in three days. Hey, that's a lot of weight to be losing in three days, where do I sign up?? Ok, reality check people! For starters, there is nothing denoting the amount of eggs you should be eating, nor does it specify adding stuff like ham and cheese to your eggs, etc. Not only that, but just the thought of eating seven hotdogs in one-day makes most people want to gag. Heck, a hot dog vendor in Brooklyn who owns stock in egg manufacturing would find this diet hard to swallow!


The Cabbage Soup Diet


Synopsis: Every day you can have as much cabbage soup as you desire. In addition to this, you are allotted the following foods on certain days.


Day 1) any fruit, except bananas. Day 2) vegetables plus baked potato for dinner. Day 3) up to eight bananas plus fat free milk. Day 4) brown rice, fruit juice and vegetables. The Claim: Lose up to 10 pounds in seven days. The trouble with this diet is that it seriously lacks in providing for vitamins and minerals. Plus the sheer volume of cabbage would turn a bunny rabbit into a carnivore within a week! Not to mention the irregular bowel movements, as well as a constant case of cabbage-fueled gas. Very potent! Sleep alone, FYI.


The Bread and Butter Diet


Synopsis: This diet seems to focus on the joys of getting bread and butter with every meal. Like most of the other diets listed, this one also claims that you can lose 10 pounds in a week. Here is a sample from their menu:


1 slice cracked wheat bread
1 teaspoon butter or margarine

1 ounce Muenster cheese
1/2 cup stewed tomatoes
1 cup steamed summer squash
1 slice Italian Bread
1 Teaspoon butter or margarine

4 ounces dark meat turkey
1/2 cup corn
green salad
1 slice pumpernickel
1 teaspoon butter or margarine


As much as I like bread, it is not enough of an incentive for me to starve myself. On average, when following this diet you only get approximately 850 calories per day. Sure, you'll lose weight, probably even the 10 pounds promised. However, by following a starvation diet of this nature, one will lose more muscle weight than fat. Once the average person drops bellow 1,000 calories consumed per day, the metabolism shuts down, and the muscles will start to atrophy because the body is burning the muscle tissue for energy. In other words, your body starts consuming itself!


Two-Day Liquid Diet


Synopsis: Buy a bottle of magic diet concentrate, mix with water and consume for two days. Did I mention you are not allowed to consume anything else besides water with this? But hey, it claims that you can lose up to 10 pounds in two days! These also claim to detoxify and energize you! Reality: looks like concentrated juice mix, which is really what it is. Plus, I've never paid $20 for OJ concentrate! And, I've never been "energized" when my tummy was screaming profanities at me for neglecting it. As for detoxification . . . I think a couple of laxatives would do the trick just as well. Bottom line; it is impossible to lose any amount of body fat in only two days. Any weight lost will be nothing but water, which will be regained immediately upon completion of the diet. In reality, diets like this are nothing more than fasting. And if fasting is something you actually enjoy doing, there are plenty of religions out there that offer meditation and some pretty cool chants to focus on, that will take the mind off of the hunger pangs.


The so-called "American Heart Association Diet"


Here's a doozy of a diet that fools people into thinking that it is actually endorsed by the American Heart Association. Here's just a sample from one day:


Black Coffee or Tea
1/2 Grapefruit
1 slice toast
2 tbs. peanut butter

1/2 cup of tuna (no mayo)
1 slice toast
Coffee or Tea

2 slices of any meat
1 cup of string beans
1 cup of beets
1 apple
1 cup of vanilla ice cream


The Claim: Lose 3 pounds in 3 days, up to 30 pounds in 40 days


Needless to say, the American Heart Association does NOT sanction this diet. The following is an except from the AHA website:


A weight-loss diet claimed to be from the American Heart Association has been cited several times across the United States and other countries. Many people believe that the three-day or seven-day, hot dog and cabbage soup diets are from the American Heart Association. However, this is not true.


The true AHA diet gives recommended servings per day of various food categories, not specific foods. Most of the diets that are incorrectly labeled as the AHA diet give specific menus or suggest that the diet should be followed for a specific length of time.


One phony diet describes a three-day or seven-day menu, supposedly prescribed by the AHA or by the "Heart Association." It includes vanilla ice cream, hot dogs, eggs and cheddar cheese. The diet promises a 10-pound weight loss in three days. These bogus diets have been cited as the Spokane Heart Diet, the Cleveland Clinic Diet, Sacred Heart Memorial Hospital Diet and the Miami Heart Institute Diet. The poorly typed and photocopied phony diet has also been offered by mail for $2 per copy.


From time to time other fad diets emphasizing other foods will also incorrectly attribute the AHA.


Bottom line; be extremely cautious about anything that is supposedly endorsed by a national institution such as the American Heart Association. When in doubt, go to the organization's official website and verify this information. If it sounds like it came out of left field, it probably did.


The Answer

Every psycho diet out there promises a loss of weight, which is fine, however what they don't tell you is that you'll be losing water weight, and will gain it all back once you complete the diet. And if you are feeling bloated and are actually looking to dump excess water weight, there are a lot less expensive methods for doing this. Try using water pills, for starters. And if you are looking to shed all that excess flab in time for summer . . . well what can I say, except that you're too late for this year. Instead of torturing yourself with psycho diets that will only make you suffer and make you fatter in the long run, get a jump-start on next year. Start a long-term eating plan that you can live with every day. Do NOT starve yourself, and be sure that you do not limit yourself to one type of food. Also drink plenty of water, especially when exercising. With proper diet and exercise, the average person can reasonably expect to lose between two and five pounds of actual body fat per month. Remember, results cannot be had over night, and nothing worth having comes easy. But the end result is well worth the effort!