I'll be the first to admit I'm the biggest sucker for fad diets. Now before all the health buffs go all crazy on me let me explain why. YES I understand that it's not the best or healthiest way to lose weight while diet and exercise are. But sometimes we're just stuck in the pattern of life and it gets tough to break our daily habits. A Starbucks muffin and latte in the morning, Chipotle for lunch, a vending machine candy bar or chips for a snack, happy hour with coworkers -- the calories just pack on and we stop having control over it. Sometimes it takes something drastic to get back on track.
So how can a fad diet possibly be good? First of all, to follow a seven day diet really disciplines you. You have to grocery shop, plan out and prepare your meals ahead of time, and be restricted to certain foods. This is a real shocker but for some people, like myself, any leeway and we just fall back into the pattern. And at the end of it all, you really do lose weight. Water weight or not, those 5-10 pounds will really motivate you to hit the gym and start eating healthy even after the diet is over.
I've mentioned before that I've completed the Master Cleanse/Lemon Aid Diet -- and I can honestly say I absolutely DO NOT recommend it. Not only are you starving yourself, it requires two daily laxatives of salt water (which usually make you throw up) and the ingredients are SUPER expensive -- one bottle of grade b maple syrup alone costs $30 and it barely lasts you two days. I feel like the Master Cleanse is a combination of anorexia and bulimia rolled into one -- and although I've completed it twice, I never really felt the need to talk about it here because it's just so wrong for your body.
I do, however, highly recommend the Cabbage Soup Diet! I've done different variations of it -- the GM Diet, which is the same diet without the soup (pretty much just eating unlimited fruits and vegetables), the original cabbage soup diet, and most recently the improved version which I feel is healthier and easier to complete. The GM diet is just too hard because you don't have the soup which really fills you up, and buying enough fruits to satisfy your appetite can get super expensive. The original cabbage soup diet is actually pretty healthy -- I mean it's really no different then the raw foods diet which so many celebrities do. I don't know why it's gets so much crap because all it is is vegetable soup (which I think is delicious -- tastes like French onion soup), fruits and veggies, and occasional protein and milk.
The biggest issue that nutritionists have with the cabbage soup diet is the lack of nutrients and protein. So I recently completed a week of the IMPROVED cabbage soup diet. There are many websites with information on it but I kind of tweaked it and made it my own. First of all, I drank a protein shake and took a multi-vitamin each day along with the diet to cover the protein/nutrient issues. I also occasionally added protein to my soup in the form of shirataki (tofu noodles), a can of crab (tastes like Maryland crab soup!), or lentils/beans. It really helped to make the soup taste less tedious and I actually looked forward to my soup!
I also made sure to stay away from boring apples and oranges and eat my favorite and more "gourmet" fruits -- white nectarines, mangoes, Asian pears, and white cherries are all so delicious and I could eat them all day (I mean I literally did haha!) For veggie days, try to think of creative dishes that you might find at a restaurant. I made zucchini and tomato kabobs on the bbq. Dieting is actually very psychological and if you can trick your mind into thinking you are eating really delicious/gourmet meals then you won't be craving other stuff.
Even though adding protein probably decreases the amount of weight you'll lose, you'll find yourself far less grumpy, more easily full, and more importantly, you can actually complete the 7 days! You also have enough energy to workout. I lost 5 pounds in 7 days and the best part was after the diet, I didn't have huge cravings for anything and my appetite definitely shrunk. Before the diet I was eating McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Chipotle every day, and now I just want to eat healthy. I think the improved cabbage soup diet could actually be a lifestyle diet -- in fact I took a few days off, and am currently on it again!