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Which ‘quick-fix’ diets really work?

Welcome to a new year – and the usual New Year’s headlines. “Quick Fix Diet”! “Lose 5kg in 3 weeks!”

These are par for the course at this time in January, which is also right about the time when many of the health resolutions we’ve made on January 1 start to fall by the wayside.

I don’t think it will surprise anyone to know that about half of us make New Year’s resolutions, but up to 88 per cent of those people fail to keep them going, and the first few weeks of January is usually when we fail.
If we’ve already broken our health resolutions, it can be appealing to look for a quick fix.

I think we somehow think – despite what we know in our hearts – that this diet will be the one that transforms us into a different person and that this time, when the diet’s over, we’ll be able to keep the weight off. But it is basic human nature to hate being told what to do, and restrictive diets and detox plans essentially do just that. This is the reason most diets fail and weight piles back on. Most of us can’t stick to anything too extreme; we don’t like feeling deprived. Once the diet is over, it’s very easy to slip back into our old habits and our old way of eating and drinking. This is true whether you’re dieting to lose weight or just trying to be healthier.

If we’re going to make changes they need to be things we can stick to long term, long enough that they actually become new habits. I also like the idea of adding to our lives, rather than banning or eliminating things.

So instead of resolving to give things up – “I must not eat sugar” etc – or going on an extreme detox,  why not think of some positive aspirations for the year ahead;  things we can add to our diet and to our day?

One of the best aspirations you could have is to add another serving of vegetables to every meal. Be creative! Think about how you can get more veges into your breakfast (I like a bit of tomato and avocado on grainy toast) as well as your lunch and dinner. Summer is a fantastic time to do this. With all the fresh delicious produce around and the warm weather it’s easy to add a salad or lightly-dressed slaw of grated veges to every meal.

Another fantastic aspiration – especially if you want to lose weight – is to aim to eat breakfast every day. Breakfast eating is one of the consistent factors that most people who’ve lost weight and kept it off have in common. Eating breakfast kick-starts your metabolism and sets you up for a healthy day so you are less likely to go off the rails and go crazy on the snacks in the afternoon.

Adding breakfast; adding vegetables; adding extra incidental activity; all of these are easy to do and will result in a healthier you if you keep them up. It doesn’t have to be ‘all or nothing’ to get results.

Date modified: 15 June 2020
First published: Jan 2014


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