Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Growing up, I've never been one to have the leanest body. I was never fat, but I have the tendency to look thicker than most of my friends. My body type led me to have some insecurities I thought I could fix with quick diets. Although most of them were effective, being on any diet is no fun.
1. Lemon and cayenne water detox
This first diet is actually a detox, meant to clear out toxins from your body. Each day of the detox, you drink a gallon of water mixed with lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne...nothing else. No food, no other drinks, just your gallon jug. This detox can be done for three days, 10 days, or 21 long days. My personal record is only three days, but as I've gotten older I've realized that the diet becomes less effective in terms of weight-loss. In all honesty, the detox is demanding.
Warning: the days you choose to partake in this diet will be the worst for those around you. Not being able to eat can really make a person angry and irritable, just a heads up.
2. 7-day juice cleanse
This next diet is pretty self-explanatory: All you do is drink blended juices for a week. Each day, you drink three different juices in place of every meal. In the morning you might drink a citrus blend and for lunch something greener. But the best "meal" of the day is dinner because you get to whip up a dessert juice containing sweet dates and almond milk. This diet was pretty effective, not going to lie, but I missed eating real food. If I hadn't gone through this diet with my sister and mother, I don't think I would have made it the whole seven days. Starving with friends is much easier than starving alone.
Many individuals are forced to live a gluten-free lifestyle due to a diagnosis of celiac disease, but in my case, I thought it would help with weight and other health concerns. I was gluten-free for three years, and they were some of the more trying years I've experienced. Even though there were alternative gluten-free options that made the diet easy to follow, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tempted by every delicious cookie or cake I encountered. Going to birthday parties was the worst because I was guaranteed to miss out on some yummy sweets. But now there are a ton more gluten-free desserts and meals sold at the grocery store, so you don't really have to worry about temptation.
My whole family became vegetarians for a year, after watching a heartbreaking documentary on Netflix that exposed the truth about the processed meats we buy at the grocery store. The poor treatment of animals shown in the film persuaded us to completely eliminate meat from our diet. Like being gluten-free, the absence of meat became easier to adapt to over time. During this season, I did lose weight and I was the healthiest I had ever been. Although I'm no longer vegetarian, it's probably one of the few diets/lifestyles I'd actually recommend.
5. The Keto diet
Although I really hate crash diets, I always find myself combing the web for the easiest way to lose weight for summer. This summer I jumped on the Keto bandwagon, as it was a diet recommended by one of my good friends who lost 36 pounds herself. Her experience sparked my desire to test out this high fat, mild protein diet. For those who enjoy cooking, this diet is actually tolerable.
On Keto, you're allowed to eat cheese, meat, seafood, and even some berries. But starches, pasta, sugar, and bread are eliminated from your diet. These restrictions make eating out a challenge, but if you don't mind taking a few minutes out of your day to put some ingredients together, it should be a breeze. Keep in mind, nutritionists often warn that a high-fat diet can be unhealthy. But this is also not a diet you're supposed to make into your lifestyle, so those in search of quick short-lasting results don't have to worry.
My experience with diet changes in pursuit of weight-loss has been both positive and negative. And although diets can be beneficial, they can also be damaging over time. So if you're hoping to shed a few pounds before hitting the beach, choose your diet wisely.