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My Adventure on a Fad Diet

September 12, 2010

Now that I am living on my own for the first time, I have struggled with finding easy to make healthy meals. When my roommate told me she was going on a 3 day diet, I was eager to just stick to the same meal plan as her and thought, “why not?”.

As a college student on a tight budget, it seemed cost-effective. A friend of mine had dropped 9 pounds on the last time she tried it, and swore it was relatively easy. Three days of low-calorie eating didn’t seem too bad to me.

I have always been opposed to fad diets, even going so far as to chastise my friends last year when they tried the sacred heart diet. I have discovered that they are almost a right of passage with collegiate who are looking for quick results after weekends of binge drinking and eating. My eating habits have been less than ideal since I’ve gotten to school as I have slowly adjusted to the nuisances of cooking and cleaning for myself and my roommate, so I figured I might as well give it a shot. At first when I looked at this diet plan I was disgusted. Hot dogs and an abundance of dairy products seemed to me like red flags in a healthy diet, but still I was eager to have three meals a day planned for me without having to think up what I was going to cook that night.

The 3 day diet is the epitome of fad diets as there is no author, documentation, book or explanation for why and how this diet works, only countless testimonies from people swearing it works. I wasn’t too interested in losing the weight, although dropping a couple of pounds is always nice, but more in the logistics of how it worked, and to see if I could actually do it.

BREAKFAST Black coffee or tea, with 1-2 packets Sweet & Low or Equal, 1/2 grapefruit or juice, 1 piece toast with 1 tablespoon peanut butter 1/2 cup tuna

1 piece toast

Black coffee or tea, with 1-2 packets Sweet & Low or Equal

3 ounces any lean meat or chicken

1 cup green beans

1 cup carrots

1 apple

1 cup regular vanilla ice cream

LUNCH Black coffee or tea, with 1-2 packets Sweet & Low or Equal, 1 egg, 1/2 banana, 1 piece toast 1 cup cottage cheese or tuna, 8 regular saltine crackers 2 beef franks, 1 cup broccoli or cabbage, 1/2 cup carrots, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup regular vanilla ice
DINNER Black coffee or tea, with 1-2 packets Sweet & Low or Equal, 5 regular saltine crackers, 1 ounce cheddar cheese, 1 apple Black coffee or tea, with 1-2 packets Sweet & Low or Equal, 1 boiled egg

1 piece toast

1 cup tuna

1 cup carrots

1 cup cauliflower

1 cup melon

1/2 cup regular vanilla ice cream

My roommate and I made it through the first two days and dealt with the hunger pangs with gum and diet dr. pepper. We actually enjoyed the meals, as they were pretty filling and tasty. I was very hungry and could even see the negative results on the lacrosse field, as we had just started our season and were having intense practices, and I was losing steam fast. By the third day, we didn’t see any results and were sick of being starving, so we threw in the towel. Feeling guilty, I made myself a very healthy meal and did some research on fad diets.

Fad diets have many dangers, some very serious. Aside from calorie deficiency, higher fat intake (ice cream and hot dogs), altering your metabolism, and dehydration (increased caffeine intake), fad diets cause you to gain the weight again as soon as you start eating normally. I continued to eat healthy so I luckily didn’t gain excess weight, but this can also be a repercussion of yo-yo dieting. Although the testimonials for this diet seem realistic, I didn’t see any of the results directly. The friend that had dropped nine pounds the last time she did the diet lost four pounds, however. The increased caffeine intake also wreaked havoc on my system as the diet called for black tea or coffee to be drunk with every meal, in addition to diet sodas, to help suppress appetite and increase heart rate.

As soon as I gave up on this diet, I realized all the people who would come back in kick me for trying it in the first place. For one, my high school English teacher would kill me for believing something is credible when there are no legitimate sources. My sixth grade health teacher would be unhappy to hear that I had given into the temptation of a fad diet, something we were always scolded against. Next, my old self would kick myself for giving up my healthy eating habits just to try to lose a couple of pounds. It was an interesting way to spend two days, but I would not recommend this diet to anyone nor any fad diet for that matter. Healthy eating means balanced meals (think the food pyramid that was hanging from every elementary school classroom )without depleting your body of nutrients or decreasing calorie intake to too low.

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