Small changes, big results

Losing weight can be difficult, there is no debate about that. A bit of exercise every day and staying away from fast food and soda is enough for some.

Losing weight can be difficult, there is no debate about that. A bit of exercise every day and staying away from fast food and soda is enough for some. But for others, be they either too lazy or too slow of metabolism, losing weight is much more difficult.

The problem is that many Americans are too focused on the immediacy of potential weight loss. “I want to look good now—be thin now!” is often heard in lunchtime conversations and infomercials of late night TV.

Sometimes people that are already thin want to lose more weight so they can fit into their favorite dress. For these reasons and more, many people end up turning to crash diets.

One such crash diet is known as the Master Cleanse. This is a program in which the dieter can not eat or drink anything for 10 days except the special cleansing formula. This formula consists of nothing but water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper for flavor. Undoubtedly nutritious and delicious.

The average person, depending on sex, age, size and activity level, should be eating about 2,000 calories per day to maintain their weight. The average caloric intake for an individual on the Master Cleanse diet is about 650 calories a day.

Of course reducing one’s caloric intake by two thirds is going to cause weight loss. I am not sure how anyone could possibly think this kind of dieting healthy, especially considering that the normal daily values of many vitamins, minerals and other essentials are missing entirely.

Shows such as The Biggest Loser emphasize the importance of making a life change as opposed to dieting, for this is the only way to lose weight and keep it off. A healthy amount of weight loss, for the average individual exercising an hour or so a day, is one to two pounds per week.

This writer lost about 20 pounds in a year with exercise and eating in moderation. People need to get it into their heads that there is no such thing as a quick fix.

The Master Cleanse also claims that it helps rid individuals of toxins and can help them stop drinking and smoking. Now I could take half a page and present scientific analysis and data in regards to the validity of this assertion. Or I could just sum it up by saying that there is absolutely no scientific evidence to back up these claims.

The idea that we are filled with terrible poisons and toxins that need to be flushed out is nothing but new-age baloney.

It has, however, been scientifically proven that rapid weight loss is unhealthy and, unless one continues to starve themselves, temporary.

Though many who have tried the Master Cleanse have reported positive outcomes such as clearer skin and reduction of intestinal irritation, these are merely correlations, not products of the diet itself. These positive outcomes are caused by increased hydration and the absence of processed foods—both of which can be achieved without the Master Cleanse.

Even if it were true that the human body needs to be occasionally flushed out, simple logic would show little or no connection between the mitigation of said toxins and near starvation. The only way I can see the Master Cleanse helping someone to quit smoking is that they would just feel too horrible to smoke while on the diet. I would bet that as soon as they have their first good meal or cup of coffee, the craving would come rushing back as strong as before.

Diets of this nature are pure placebo. Usually I don’t have a problem with the use of placebos to treat illness, but in this case it’s just irresponsible and unhealthy. Diets are not about all or nothing. They are about moderation. I would rather suffer for an hour a day in the gym than for 10 days straight, especially when that suffering leads to nothing but a temporary fix.

Moderation can and should be turned into a lifestyle, starvation cannot. Instead of starving yourself, try ordering a tall mocha instead of a venti. Try going for a walk or to the gym instead of watching that rerun of Bromance. Small changes, over time, can equal big results.