For people looking to lose weight quickly for an event or special occasion, the 4 day wonder diet may seem like the perfect way to crash diet your way into those skinny jeans or that little black dress. According to the diet's promoters, in just four days, you may lose between five and 10 pounds - but be warned. If you do decide to try the diet, it should not be sustained for longer than four days and shouldn't be repeated more than once every few months because the diet is not nutritionally balanced and its sustained use can cause nutritional deficiencies.
Principles of the 4 Day Wonder Diet
The 4 day wonder provides four days of meals that must be adhered to exactly. There are a number of online sources that outline menus for each of the four days. Each of the daily menus has fewer than 1200 calories. Most experts do not recommend eating less than 1200 calories per day.
This diet is considered a semi-starvation diet. Semi-starvation diets are not sustainable and can lead to a number of health issues and symptoms ranging from fatigue and weakness to emotional and physical problems.
Meals consist of low calorie, low fat foods in limited amounts. A sample day's meal would be as follows:
- 1/2 grapefruit
- Four ounces of a lean protein such as skinless chicken breast or or three ounces of a fattier protein such as lean ground beef
- One cup of steamed green vegetables
- One cup of raw high-fiber vegetables
- Six ounces of tomato juice
- One cup of starchy vegetables such as squash, cooked or raw
- One cup of high fiber vegetables such as cauliflower, steamed or raw
- Five ounces of lean white meat protein like chicken breast or four ounces of lead red meat protein such as lean steak
- Six ounces of unsweetened juice
An eight ounce glass of water is recommended 30 minutes before each meal, 30 minutes after dinner and at bedtime to increase satiation and flush out fat and toxins.
About Crash Diets
This diet is a crash diet. While it may be tempting to try a crash diet when you are under the gun to lose weight for a special occasion, the effects of crash dieting may have results that could affect you for the rest of your life.
Most crash diets do result in weight loss; however, most of the weight lost is not body fat. The weight loss comes from water weight and lean body mass. The loss of lean body mass can lead to a lowering of metabolism and the body requiring fewer calories to function. This is just one of many negative short and long-term effects of crash diets. Other possible negative effects include:
- Nutritional deficiencies: Semi-starvation diets can quickly lead to deficiencies in essential nutrients.
- Binge eating: Because crash diets are usually so limiting, they are often followed by a period of binge eating as the crash dieter attempts to make up for lost nutrients and calories. Nutritional deficiencies brought about by crash diets can lead to intense cravings as the body attempts to force you to eat the foods it needs for health and survival.
- Weight gain: Crash diets often lead to the yo-yo dieting effect. The aforementioned slowing of the metabolism combined with binge eating leads to quick weight regain. As a matter of fact, crash dieters often regain more weight than they lost in the first place. Unfortunately, the weight that is regained does not replace the lean body mass lost. Instead, it is regained as fat, and the effects on the metabolism from the original crash diet remain in effect.
- Mental and physical changes - There are a number of mental and physical effects that crash dieting can have. The severity of these effects depends on a number of factors, and can range from irritability and minor aches and pains to clinical depression and disease.
- If you are still considering trying this diet, it is always best to check with your personal health care provider before starting. Your health care provider may be able to provide you with a healthier alternative.
- If, after consulting your doctor, you still choose to try this diet, it is important that you supplement vitamins and minerals. Doing so just may help you avoid some of the negative effects such as nutritional deficiencies and cravings.
- If you opt to try this diet, be sure that you only attempt it for four days, and wait a few months before trying it again. Your body needs an appropriate number of calories and nutrients in order to operate optimally.
The healthy way to lose weight isn't quick. Healthy weight loss comes in a sustained fashion, losing one to two pounds per week. A healthy weight loss regimen includes a nutritious diet that meets all of your body's nutritional needs and provides adequate caloric intake to maintain lean body mass. Exercise is also an important part of weight loss. By following a healthy eating plan combined with adequate exercise, soon you'll find that there is no need for a crash diet at all.