How Fad Diets Affect Our Mental Health

Every year as summer comes around, ads for diet products start popping up all over the place, promising a “beach body” to people who are anxious about winter weight gain. Don’t let them convince you to try a passing fad to lose weight! The companies selling these products try to create insecurities in order to sell a product that might not even work. Fad diets and weight loss products like these are pushed by many in the “wellness” industry, but can actually do more harm to our mental health than good for our bodies. Here are some of the ways that fad diets can affect our mental wellness. 

Amplified Insecurities & Anxiety

Whether it’s a company selling a “miraculous” weight loss product, a fitness celebrity touting a workout supplement, or an “expert” who’s come up with the perfect diet solution, they often use similar tactics to sell to the general public. To start, they use the outdated idea that a larger body weight is inherently unhealthy, and that thinner bodies are more attractive and healthy overall. This creates a sense in those that see such advertising that being “overweight” is something to be embarrassed about. Then, the companies use this sense of shame to pressure people into buying their products, regardless if it is proven to work or not. As a person comes to the decision to buy the product or try a new diet (often investing money in books or programs) they are put through a lot of mental anguish over how they view their body. 

Feelings of Failure & Depression

Fad diets and weight loss products are loosely regulated around the globe, and many companies can skirt around scrutiny by employing their own “experts” to verify claims about the effectiveness of what they are selling. When people try a new fad diet or product without making a plan with a doctor or dietician, they could very well be wasting their money and time. Not only that, if a fad diet is promising drastic results, it could lead to feelings of failure if you’re not able to achieve them. This can lead to depression and hopelessness that it will ever be possible to lose weight. 

Healthy Body Image, Healthy Mind

With all these products and methods on the market, how do we know if a new diet or weight loss product is right for us? We’ve spoken before on this blog about the benefits of viewing weight loss and fitness with a body-positive outlook, and that is still the key to choosing a diet plan that’s right for you. Focus on your overall health when choosing your meals and fitness routines. Keep track of more than calories, too. Note your moods, energy levels and activities to get a good sense of your health overall. If you’re interested in starting a new diet regimen, check in with your doctor to see if it’s right for you. Ignore the messaging in advertisements that encourages you to compare your body to someone else’s, and make it your goal to do what’s best for yourself and your body.