The truth, though, is that many of these fad diets do not last. Personally, I have plenty of firsthand knowledge of how these diets work, and how they do not work, having tried many of them myself (and falling into those same traps that I now want to help you navigate).
I have done them all, and I definitely get how in the first phase of just about any diet you are enjoying this “honeymoon lifestyle” of rediscovering food and trying new meals and bettering yourself. There is nothing wrong with taking steps to secure your health, as long as you are doing it in a correct and sustainable way.
The cracks begin to show when you really feel like, “this is it,” and “this is the truth.” These new rules are being followed, new principles absorbed and made part of your day-to-day life, and the system seems internally consistent. This is the phase where you really feel like you are doing so much better.
But then, as it always does, it drifts! These diets have a hard time sticking. After several weeks or several months, you can find yourself falling into the same traps like the following:
This is where you start working around some of the initial changes that you made to your diet, and this is especially apparent where you are really keyed in on exclusions. Say you are adhering to the paleo diet, hardcore, and you refuse to eat any:
If your whole diet becomes about what you are avoiding, your diet quality can begin to drift. This is when you start to lose that “mindfulness” that was so important in the beginning. Instead of focusing on what you are putting into your system, you are focused on leaving things out.
There are even what we call “cheats.” These can be low-fat, low-cholesterol, or paleo-friendly cheats that you can incorporate into your diet. Even though you are still abiding by this rubric that you have built for yourself, does not mean that just because it is paleo-friendly it is good for your diet. In fact, it can have very much the opposite effect.