The Divorce Diet and other ridiculous (but effective) weight loss strategies

US News reported the dramatic weight loss of former reality TV star, DeShawn Snow. If you remember, Deshawn was on season one of The Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA) but her contract was not renewed. It is speculated that she didn’t bring enough controversy to the show, which is why she wasn’t invited back for the second season.  At the time, Deshawn was married to NFL-player Eric Snow and allowed cameras to share in her luxury lifestyle, pastoral counseling sessions with Bishop Eddie Long (please don’t laugh – or judge her), and even her advocacy work with the Deshawn Snow Foundation, an Atlanta-based non-profit.

Since that time, Deshawn has divorced her husband, due to alleged infidelity, and lost 30 pounds. In a recent interview Deshawn spoke on the role that the divorce played in her decision to lose weight:

“I felt everything was out of my control,” Snow, 37, tells “I had no control over anything that was happening in my life and the weight and working out was something I could control.” Snow credits her close friend and personal trainer, Trey Crump, with keeping her motivated.

“[When] Trey heard [of my divorce], he texted me and was like ‘Meet me at the gym at 6 a.m.’ He didn’t ask me any questions, we just worked out. That was his way of getting me out of bed and then once I started, I just got consistent.” Snow works out two hours a day, but the key to her weight loss is eating in moderation. “I supplement with protein shakes and I try to stay away from carbs. Sometimes I’ll have seafood or vegetables. Basically it’s portion size, a maintenance thing.” In addition to wanting to lose 10 more pounds, she also wants to impart her wisdom on others. “All of my projects are basically to empower and encourage young women. The hardest thing in life is to believe that things happen for a reason. You can’t be a victim, you have to be a victor — press through it — and know that success is the best revenge.”

I love that she has a good friend that responded with advice and healthy motivation to distract from the divorce. He didn’t call her trying to be messy or get into her business, which is obviously appreciated and the mark of a true friend. That is probably the most encouraging part of her comments – when life happens, fight back in a positive way – not in a way that feeds into the negativity. My only issue is that it had to take heartbreak to motivate her to live her best, healthy life. Here are my thoughts on some effective, but not smart, short-term diet strategies:

The Divorce/Break-up Diet

So, your significant other dumped you. You caught your husband cheating. You are now single and angry and in need of some kind of revenge, so what do you do? You hit the gym hard! And this isn’t a gradual exercise shift, you are doing cardio, muscle building and aerobics – all in one day and can easily clock 2-3 hours in the gym every day. This is indeed impressive, but what is motivating you? Anger? I have heard from many friends that a break-up is a great motivator to get your body right and burn off some emotion.  But what happens when you finally heal – and fall in love with your next boo? (and, yes, that will happen because you are totally awesome anyway, your ex- lost out). Predictably, old habits die hard and the motivation that pushed you to get in the gym in the first place may not be as strong. What is most important here is that you learn to lose weight and exercise for yourself – not because of someone else. So, whether you are in the throws of love or not, love yourself enough to stay fit and trim, eat healthy and exercise. And – closet feminist here, speaking – it is especially important to do this if you are in a relationship. Keep him liking what he sees 😉

Liquid Diets (e.g. Lemonading, Master Cleanse, the Hollywood Diet)

Beyonce showed us that this diet strategy works (Think: Dreamgirls). But, she later regretted it. Liquid diets almost guarantee a quick return on weight loss. Why do you think patients that are under induced comas look so frail? They are unable to intake any solid nutrients and must be fed through a feeding tube in order to successfully sustain their vital signs. Essentially, that is what a liquid diet is doing to your body. Liquid diets essentially clean your intestinal track, but you are denying your body any nutrients in the process, which is isn’t healthy in the long-term.  It’s a bit of an extremist strategy as well, don’t you think. Why go through all of that planning when you can simply make modest dietary modifications and exercise?  I have a good friend that lives by the lemonade diet and she ALMOST got me to try it. I went as far as actually buying   some cayenne pepper and maple syrup and making a gallon-sized pitcher. I took one sip and that ‘lemonade’ has to be one of the nastiest concoctions that I have ever tasted. Plus, I am not a fan of deprivation diets period. I really should buy stock in Weight Watchers because I love their brand strategy – this thinking is exactly why Weight Watchers is so successful – It’s built on a budgetary diet formula, not one of deprivation or limitation. I’ll pass on the liquid diets. In my Drake voice, my intestines will thank me later.

Quick Weight Loss Centers

I have a Facebook friend that put up some pics of her dramatic (and quick) 15 pound weight loss recently on FB. She didn’t immediately give credit to the source of her weight loss, so I assumed that she did it the old fashioned way – through a healthy diet and exercise. I went back and read her comments and this chic lost the weight within 2 weeks by signing up with a local quick weight loss center. At that time, I really didn’t know what services the centers provided – was it a magic pill? Nutrition consultant? I was intrigued, so what did I do? I went and signed up (don’t laugh lol). They make a big showing of taking a current picture of you BEFORE ever having your consultation. I assumed that this is an effective strategy to show you how fat/overweight/in need of their services you are.  In short, they try to sell you these nasty shakes that clock in at 100 calories a pop. You are limited to about 6 shakes per day and can eat 1-2 services of protein per day as well (1 boiled egg or 1 serving of lean chicken breast). What? No wonder this fad works – you are only eating 800 calories per day and about 600 of those calories sre liquid. I tried to be a soldier, but failed miserably within the first two hours. I can’t. I think I started having headaches and I began to dream about devouring my 1 allotted boiled egg. Seriously. Anything that leaves me hungry or craving food is not the diet for me. #fail

The Cabbage Soup Diet

The Cabbage Diet includes green pepper, diced tomatoes, celery, onion, cabbage, V-8 juice, and hot sauce. Delicious, right? The allure of the cabbage diet is that you can eat this soup as often as you prefer, so it eliminates the hunger pains that come with deprivation diets.  But, the drawback is that you are literally eating cabbage every day, multiple times per day, for an entire week or so. I am getting sick just thinking about it. Gag me. Please. And, this isn’t your grandmother’s cabbage recipe – no pork or fatback to bring that soul food taste. No thanks – Check please?

There are many ineffective, but quick weight loss strategies. Please feel free to share others as well as your experiences with any of them.

The problem with each of these fads is that they are temporary solutions to a lifestyle problem. If your goal is to lose a few pounds quickly – this is the way to go. But, if your goal is to stop the yo-yo weight gain and develop a healthier lifestyle, please resist the temptation to lose weight quickly. Anything worth truly having is worth working for. Just take it one day at a time and, if you have a craving, just indulge in moderation and make sure that your overall caloric intake levels remain at a place that allows you to lose weight over time.  And, to clarify, I did not write this post from a platform to preach to you – I am actually just like you. I am not a personal trainer or a nutrition expert and I struggle with the same 10-15 pound range that many of you do. Hopefully, this advice is helpful to us all.

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