Let’s be honest for a hot second: When it comes to our weight loss, I bet there aren’t many of us out there who haven’t looked for a quick fix (myself included). At least once in a while, like when you mark a wedding on your calendar and—oh crap—forgot that it was this weekend and you want to look fabulous in your dress. So when it’s time to choose a quickie plan, there’s a lot to consider. But the latest fad wants you to take into account one thing, and one thing only: the phases of the moon.
The Moon Diet, according to devotees (which may or may not include a few A-list celebs, if you listen to the gossip mill), can help you lose up to six pounds in just one day. So if you start on Friday, you’ll be ready to shimmy into that dress the very next day. Here’s how it works:
- Choose your plan option. The basic moon diet requires you to stick to the plan on the full or new moon (2 days per month). The extended version requires work during each major phase of the moon (4 days per month).
- When it’s time, fast with only water or juice until that phase is over and done with.
Sounds pretty simple, right? According to moonconnection.com, the moon diet (also appropriately nicknamed the werewolf or lunar diet) works because the moon has an effect on our bodies that is similar to its gravitational pull on the Earth’s ocean and rivers. But just because it sounds simple doesn’t mean it really works—or that it’s a long-term solution. Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD and author of The Flexitarian Diet, says “This is basically a fasting plan, and while it could be true that the moon has some influence on what we weigh since it has to do with gravitational pull, it’s not going to be in any large, measurable way. And what you do two to four days in a month will not lead to long-term weight loss, since consistency is the key to success.”
Keep in mind that while yes, it is possible to lose six pounds in a day, that’s all water weight. Which is regained quickly, as our bodies naturally have a water flux of five or so pounds at any given time. Since this plan has you cut out carbs, Blatner says it can increase the likelihood of water flux—meaning you’ll lose more weight—because our bodies hold on to water when we eat carbs.
Nonetheless, you’ll gain it all back in 24 to 48 hours from when you stop fasting, says Blatner. Which is depressing, and can have a serious effect on your self confidence. “When you’re continuously trying and failing at long-term weight loss because of these fad diets, it takes a toll on your self-esteem,” says Blatner. Instead, try implementing more weight loss strategies into your daily life—ones that have been proven to work in the long run—so that they become a healthy habit. Blatner suggests these four “food rules” whenever weight loss—or weight maintenance–is the goal:
- Eat slowly. Try putting the same amount of food on a smaller plate if you gravitate toward visual cues. Either way, slow down and really chew your food to enjoy the different tastes you’re experiencing.
- Cut down, not out, your favorite foods. There’s no need for deprivation here, as Blatner says it often leads to bingeing whenever (not if ever) you give in. She suggests implementing strategies like “I’ll have sweets/alcohol/fill in the blank in social situations and refuse to feel bad about it. Not at home, not alone.”
- Snack on more vegetables. We keep saying it over and over again for a reason. Not only are they super low in calories, but they help you stay healthy and feel energized throughout your day.
- Dig in to balanced meals on a regular schedule. “Willpower is highest when we have an even flow of blood glucose to our brain,” which happens when we’re regularly feeding it, not depriving it.
The Moon Diet: Is There Any Scientific Basis?
The link between the moon and our bodies is not completely understood by scientists. However, our moods and emotions tend to rise when there is a full moon and can yield several outcomes that affect our health. According to a study published in the journal Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, patients who have heart surgery during a full moon, specifically acute aortic dissection (AAD), could reduce their hospital stay and boost their survival rate. In this instance, environmental effects on surgeries, such as AAD, can provide a better understanding of how rhythms of seasons and lunar cycles affect our overall health.
Furthermore, women are thought to have a connection with the moon, based on their menstrual cycles. British Dietetic Association spokesperson, Jeanette Crosland, told the Daily Mail, “There may be some evidence that fluid retention occurs at some points in the menstrual cycle, and therefore at other points in the cycle this fluid will reduce. However not every female will be at the same point in her cycle when a full moon occurs.”
The werewolf diet may result in weight loss because it is a diet based on fasting for several short periods, but it leads to a loss in excess body fat, not water. Detox diets are popular, but not scientifically proven, says the Mayo Clinic, with some diets aiming to do colon cleansing to empty the intestines of toxins. The clinic suggests the supposed benefits from a detox diet could simply come from avoiding highly processed foods loaded with solid fats and sugar. Dieters are advised to consult with their doctor before checking the lunar calendar.