Break the Crash Diet Cycle

by Stephen Mosher
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Oct 24, 2013

Halloween is in a few days. My husband and I are doing what we always do for Halloween -- we are going to a big dance party to celebrate a friend's birthday. So I'm on a strict diet and doing two-a-days at the gym. After all, at a gay Halloween dance party, your body is your costume, right?

That's my current goal: to look my best on Halloween. After that, the finish line I will need to cross will be New Year's Eve. Then I will set my sights on Valentine's Day... after that -- Black Party, the arrival of spring, Pride, my birthday in July... and, eventually, I'll be dieting and over training for Halloween again. And the day after each big event I will eat a chocolate cake. Maybe a pie or some ice cream. I will do this because that is my pattern.

It doesn't have to be.

Crash diets have been a part of our culture for decades. Everyone knows about crash diets, and everyone has tried it, at least once. People want to lose a few pounds so they will look great for a specific occasion, maybe a reunion or a photo shoot, possibly a big birthday or an award ceremony. So they extremely restrict their caloric intake to lose both weight and inches.

There are several famous crash diets, like the Cabbage Soup Diet, the Master Cleanse and The Grapefruit Diet that many have tried and seen results in their quest; temporary results and results that are actually damaging in the long run. These diets focus on removing the calories but what they also do is remove the nutrients, which can lead to long term damage to organs like the brain, kidney, heart (things that you will want to hang onto, for future use), bones and your metabolism.

The lack of nutrients affects your immune system and you get sick easier and there are emotional and psychological side effects. I think it's just a lot easier to eat healthy foods and to exercise.

Dr Jason Piken of Innate Chiropractic believes in detox cleanses used as a launch pad for a lifestyle change, as long as it is a cleanse that fills the body with nutrients; he is quick to point out that it is about making a lifestyle change, rather than the quick removal of weight that always comes back after a fad diet.

Matthew Jenkins of New York Fitness ( ) recommends this jumping off diet: The I'm Not Gonna Put Any Crap In My Body For Ten Days Diet. The idea is simple: there are so many great tasting healthy foods that, if people just try to live without processed foods for ten days, they will begin to notice that they actually feel better, as well as how good real food tastes. It's a good place to start, but it's only a start. The combination of eating healthy, balanced, properly proportioned meals throughout the day has to be combined with physical activity. That's right... exercise.

There are so many different kinds of exercise, though, that it should not be difficult to find one that you like. From walking to weightlifting, from Prancercise to kickboxing -- there is a physical activity that habitual crash dieters can add to a new food plan to change their lives for the better. That's what it's about, isn't it? Changing your life into something better?

Here's the thing, though: a change that you make in your life, in the food you eat, in the exercise you get, has to be about more than just how you look. A crash diet is of the moment and it doesn't pay off. We are talking about living longer, living healthier, feeling better and, ultimately, being happier. It's a gradual thing that you do for yourself, not to get other people's admiration or approval. It has to be a conscious choice to make the most of your life. You have to choose yourself; and when you go on a crash diet, it is of the moment and seldom about yourself.

So my extreme Halloween diet is off the table and replaced by something reasonable. Today, I choose me.

Stephen Mosher is a Texan with a background in photography, writing and physical fitness. He has published one book of photographs, been the subject of the documentary film "Married and Counting," blogged on topics ranging from addiction to the arts, from health and fitness to his southern roots. He, his husband and their family reside in New York City.


  • Nitro, 2013-10-28 07:15:11

    I agree with Stephen that it’s just a lot easier to eat healthy foods and do exercises. From my experience I know that there are so many more things to keep in mind if your goal is healthy meals combined with physical activity. If you don’t have the mindset to do it every day, nothing will help you. I personally can’t count how many times I asked myself how I could lose my weight. I was just wasting my time talking and never acting. Actually I tried a lot of crazy diet plans and fake fat loss pills that did nothing for me but empty my wallet. I eventually came across one easy and natural method and decided to try it out To be fair, it didn’t shave off 70 pounds the first week like everything else guarantees. But after 3 months passed I easily lost 120 pounds. Yes, I know, 40 pounds a month may be not too much for some people, but for me the method is very effective. Now I’m looking at my body and I feel proud and happy for the first time in my life. Of course I am still doing exercises to keep it that way. The most important thing to remember is you must never give up! Don’t waste your time just reading and looking for a miracle to happen. Just stick with one method for 2 -3 months to see great results. Good luck.

  • Vassago, 2013-11-05 12:11:19

    have never tried the crash diet in my 34 years, because i never needed it. and i eat what i want. just don’t over eat and make exercising your life style. it’s actually quite simple.

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