Is There Such a Thing as a Safe Crash Diet?

Apr 23, 2012 | Eating Right

Here’s a task for you: stand in the magazine aisle of a supermarket and see the words “supermodel diet”, “diet secrets” and “top ten crash diets” jump out at you. If Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston and Demi Moore allegedly swear by these so-called crash diets, should we be doing it too? Short answer – no! Long answer – keep reading.

Why Traditional Crash Diets Cause More Harm Than Good

When Beyonce popularised her infamous liquid ‘master cleanse’ (comprising of water, lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper only), all the ladies re-evaluated their eating habits. As soon as the industry’s fittest actors, models and athletes put their face to a ‘crash diet’, all health and fitness enthusiasts around the world go gaga over the idea of it.

But who exactly is this ‘crash diet’ fellow? And what is his problem?

Staying true to his disgraceful name, a crash diet is almost like crashing your system; imagine a car crash, but inside your body. Introducing a drastic change to your regular eating regime or reducing your daily caloric intake by more than half of what you would normally eat are the key signs of a crash diet. When laxatives or diuretics suddenly become your best mates because you’re toning up for an event, that’s trouble. You’re also likely to be in a crash diet whirlpool if you start consuming less than 1200 calories per day (for a woman) and 1800 calories per day (for a man). The minute you mess with the body’s natural equilibrium by making a big diet change, you’re unconsciously inviting a rather large group of short and long-term guests with negative effects to your body. You might be encouraged to binge or emotional eat; also lethargy, dizziness, fainting, fatigue and mood swings ensue when crash diet is practiced. In the long run, you could risk weight gain, heart diseases, liver damage, mental disorders or infertility. However, if you’ve ever wondered what the secret was behind all the toned bodies and glowing skin on the red carpet, then here’s the disclosure – practicing a nutritious diet for a good 3-4 weeks prior to slipping on a body-hugging gown.

A Whole Food Detox Is the Safest Way to ‘Crash Diet’

Yes, there is a healthy way to approach crash diets, and it’s called a ‘whole food detox’. This detox isn’t advisable to be preached on a long-term basis, but if you’re preparing your body for a big work event or your best friend’s wedding, then this bad boy is your best friend. I’m imagining an explosion of glee and relief resonate in a room full of all you health and fitness geniuses, so while we’re at it, let us ponder upon the whole food detox’s seven golden rules.

6 Golden Rules of a Safe ‘Crash Diet’

Rule no. 1 – There is nothing wrong with reducing your daily calories to around 1200-1500 calories per day (for a woman), just make sure you’re getting it via nutrient-rich food. Use and start recording down everything you eat and the calories. Be pedantic!

Rule no. 2 – Eliminate red meat, processed carbohydrates and alcohol.

Rule no. 3 – Eliminate foods that can cause fluid retention, such as high salt foods, excess refined sugar and soft drink. This includes most processed foods (packet mixes, take away food, soy sauce, chips).

Rule no. 4 – Limit bulky high GI carbohydrates such as pasta, rice, and bread that can cause bloating, and fluid retention (for some).

Rule no. 5 – Don’t consume any high GI food, such as, white rice, pasta, white bread, sugar, soft drinks, at least 48 hours before the big day.

Rule no. 6 – Most importantly, exercise! Do something physical for 4-6 days per week. This is vital for short-term results, especially if you’re prepping up for a major event. Mix strength training like yoga, pilates or boxing, but serious cardiovascular workouts are what will really fast track your results. Running, high impact aerobics, spin classes and boxing are all great routines. Also remember to work out according to your wardrobe choices. For example, if you’re wearing a strapless dress, focus your workout on your shoulders and arms.

What Kind Of Results Should You Expect After Two Weeks?

If you promise to be a diligent pupil and follow the aforementioned rules, you will see results within a few days. You’re looking at something between 2-7kg in two weeks, depending on your weight, calorie consumption and intensity of exercise. Other benefits include, a flat stomach, better concentration, clearer eyes, glowing skin, reduced inflammation and a stronger immune system.

A sample meal plan for my whole food diet:

Breakfast: Egg white omelette with capsicum, spinach, smoked salmon, lemon and cracked pepper.
Mid-morning snack: Green tea and a piece of fruit.
Lunch: Chicken & Fig salad with goat’s fetta & walnuts.
Afternoon snack: Carrot sticks and one tablespoon of hummus.
Dinner: Steamed broccoli with shaved almonds and Tamari (wheat-free soy sauce). Tip: Drink 30ml of water for every kg you weigh. If you find yourself getting hungry drink a big glass of water or herbal tea and distract yourself.

So here we are, the secret is well and truly out. You no longer have a reason to participate in an unhealthy version of a crash diet, as this whole food detox bonanza is knocking on your door. Go ahead; welcome this beauty to your life. Do write back if you want to share your success story as a result of the whole food diet. I would love to hear back. If you would like more information on my two week Detox program visit my Detox page.


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