There are very few of us who are completely happy with our bodies and because of this countless men and women resort to fad diets, often involving dangerous methods to lose weight.

Many of these fad diets encourage eating far less calories than your body actually needs simply to keep functioning, which is not safe. Your body burns calories even while you’re sleeping and needs enough food in your system to keep going.

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Slightly lowering your caloric intake by a reasonable amount can be a good thing if you are over-eating, but when people severely lower their caloric intake for long periods of time (as many fad diets recommend) they are ultimately (slowly but surely) damaging their bodies.

Not only is eating a caloric deficit (less calories than your body needs to function) dangerous in the long term but it also slows down your metabolism, the thing that makes your body burn calories.

Once you do stop the diet the weight will pile back on because all diets have a shelf life; you can’t live on them forever. Let’s be honest – nobody can live (or for a better word, survive) like that. So once you return to your normal eating habits your body will be grateful for the food and hold onto it, assuming that one day soon you will ‘starve’ it again.

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The safest way to lose fat is to make generally healthy choices with food and exercise focusing on the long term. When it comes to food choices, go for primarily nutritious foods.

Obviously, I encourage people to eat everything in moderation though, so the easiest way to explain that is aiming to follow the 80/20 rule. Before you go searching for a special 80/20 diet, I just mean that I eat nutritious food approximately 80% of the time and have whatever I fancy (such as chocolate and ice cream) 20% of the time.

It’s not a strict rule – some days the balance shifts, but it’s a way I find helps people to understand what I’m talking about with everything in moderation.

Essentially you should be eating plenty of vegetables, fruit, meat, fish and whole grains.

This isn’t a quick fix that promises to help you lose a stone in a week, but it is a sensible lifestyle change which WILL help you to lose fat gradually, and you’ll be more likely to keep it off. And all without damaging your health!

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So ditch the fad diets!

Read more posts about healthy eating:

Why You Shouldn’t Just Eat The Same Calories As Your ‘Fitspo’

What foods should you never eat? My opinion.

Healthy Lifestyle Tips – Part 2: Healthy Eating

Healthy Lifestyle Tips – Part 3: Treat day or small treats any time?

If you make it enjoyable it becomes sustainable

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