Summertime Fad Diets Can Lead To An Eating Disorder or Death

Dieting can be more harmful than helpful in a majority of cases

Summertime is heating up, and so is the surmounting pressure to exhibit the perfect “beach body”.  It is likely that you have come across some variety of fad diet guaranteeing some bizarre way of sculpting you for swimsuit season.  In fact, dieting often takes the face of summer, with increasing individuals beginning a new diet in the warmer months.  This was observed in a 2010 Experian Simmons DataStream that reported the percentage of American women from age 25 to 54 dieting peaked in the early to middle of summer [1].

What is it exactly about fad diets that have people scrambling in a mad frenzy?

If we take a closer look at these idiosyncratic diets, it is easy to observe the common patterns and trends among these food faddisms.  Usually promising a short term solution to weight loss, common fad diets often include exaggerated food claims, an emphasis on eating certain foods, elimination of many foods or entire food groups, and a whole lot of deprivation, aggravation, and frustration.  Though absolutely nothing is appealing about the fantastical ways of eating that are often called for in these extreme regimes, such as the Cabbage Soup Diet, many individuals will turn to these fad diets as a desperate means to an end.

The latest magazine in the grocery checkout line might have you second guessing your food purchases, as fad diets decorate the forefront of social media, beckoning you to fall into the trap of empty promises or the rat maze of vicious dieting.

What is the truth about these fad diets?  In simple terms…they do not work!  Many of you may have discovered this truth the hard way, after falling victim to the latest fad diet with its hopeless assurances.  Not only do fad diets lead to dead-end roads, but they can also jeopardize your health and severely compromise your well-being.

For individuals struggling with or susceptible to an eating disorder, fad diets can prove to be deadly.  Falling into patterns of restricting, bingeing and purging can rapidly lead to a disorder that will incapacitate your life in detrimental ways.

How exactly then can you bolster your self-esteem during a season that promotes unhealthy living?  How can you withstand the pressure of a force so strongly saturated in our society?  Here are a few tips to challenge the dieting mentality associated with summer:

  • Practice Self-Care, NOT deprivation:  Dieting is about depriving yourself and your body of what you need and deserve.  Be gentle, kind, and compassionate to yourself and your body, as you would a close friend.  Catch up on some much needed rest, feed yourself nourishing foods, indulge in something that is soothing and relaxing, like a bubble bath!  Check out our coping tips for more great suggestions.
  • Practice Positivity, beginning with yourself:  We are often our worst critic, scrutinizing our every flaw and shortcoming.  Find one thing you love about yourself and choose to make that your focus!  Need help?  Ask a close friend or family member to share what they love about you, and embrace it!
  • Get plugged in:  Don’t allow yourself to wallow in isolation.  Get connected with individuals who will encourage you and support your positive lifestyle!  Find a support group or mentor who will champion your efforts or pick you up when you get down.

This summer can be different for you.  You no longer need to fall into the traps of hopelessness that are lurking everywhere.  Take a step towards a life of real fulfillment and satisfaction, no fad diets needed.




About Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC

Jacquelyn Ekern founded Eating Disorder Hope in 2005, driven by a profound desire to help those struggling with anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating disorder. This passion resulted from her battle with, and recovery from, an eating disorder. As president, Jacquelyn manages Ekern Enterprises, Inc. and the Eating Disorder Hope website.