Many people look to lose weight, which is unsurprising when you consider 20% of men and 25% of women are classified as obese in the UK. However, many people adopt stupid ways to reduce their weight, and thus limit their success.
The following are my top 20 most STUPID ways to lose weight. There is no order of importance, as I consider them all to be just plain stupid. You may have a different opinion.
These methods of losing weight focus on weight, and not on fat loss. Adopting these methods is likely to be fuelled by fear and the desire for a quick fix.
This list is much longer than I would like, but all of these methods are more commonplace than you might think – I have met people who have tried each of these methods.
1. Crash dieting – A crash diet is where you consume less calories than your body needs just to survive (your resting metabolic rate). By eating less than this amount of calories your metabolism can slow right down and your body hold onto fat. Eating less than 1000 calories a day would definitely constitute crash dieting.
2. Starvation – Some people think by avoiding all food they will lose weight fast. By adopting this approach they do lose weight fast, but water and muscle weight. The body will hold onto fat as it registers nutritional stress.
3. Weird diets– Some diets are extremely unhealthy and are not likely to promote weight loss in the longer term. Reasons for this include severe nutritional deficiencies, the wrong balance of macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates, and proteins), highly processed, or too low in calories. Also, diets which do not teach you about good longer term eating habits are poor, as when you come off the diet and start to eat ‘normally’ the weight will creep back on. Extremely poor diets include the Cabbage Soup Diet, Herbalife shakes, Slimfast shakes, or the Lemonade Diet.
4. Only eating ‘diet foods’ – Diet foods are foods described as ‘low fat’, ‘low calorie’, ‘fat free’, or ‘light’. Diet foods include diet yoghurts, Diet Coke, and Weightwatchers meals. To enhance the taste, artificial flavourings, refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, or salt can be added to these foods. This means they can end up unhealthier than the regular full-fat version. There is no reason to eat diet foods, you can lose weight and still eat the regular full-fat versions, just in smaller amounts.
5. Avoiding all fat in your diet – Fat is essential to our bodies and we need fat in our diet: fat is essential to the brain, building cell membranes, keeping the heart beating regularly, slowing down digestion, to absorb nutrients, and protecting our vital organs. Fat can help weight loss by keeping you feeling fuller longer and more satisfied. By consuming some fat with your meals, you won’t tend to crave something sweet or be hungry for a second helping, as the fat keeps you content.
6. Only eating one meal a day – There is a common misconception that by only eating one meal a day, usually the evening meal, you will lose weight fast. The reality is that people who eat only one meal a day tend to be fatter than people who eat at least three meals a day. These people tend to eat more calories at their one meal than others eat all day. Their metabolism tends to be slower as well as their bodies switch to fat storage mode.
7. Training with cellophane round your body – This might sound incredibly stupid, but I have seen people in the gym training with a layer of cellophane wrapped round their bodies. They believe that by exercising with the cellophane it will encourage their body to burn more calories as they sweat more. However, the additional sweat leads to loss of water, not fat.
8. Extreme exercise regime – Too much exercise can be counterproductive when you are looking to lose weight as it can raise your stress hormones to the point where your body starts to hold onto body fat. Everyone can handle different amounts of extreme exercise, depending upon their stress load. Extreme exercise includes long runs, boot camps, and triathlons.
9. Dehydrating your body – Dehydrating your body will reduce your weight, but not your body fat as you lose water weight only. Your body is composed of approximate 65% water. It is the main component of all the blood in your body, it is vital for oxygen transportation to all your muscles and organs, and plays the leading role in regulating your body temperature. Water also acts as a lubricant for all your joints and as a cushion for your vital organs.
10. Drinking lots of coffee – Some people drink lots of coffee because they think it increases their metabolism, which speeds up their fat loss efforts. However the opposite is more likely. Caffeine contributes to insulin resistance which can lead to increased appetite and food cravings.
11. Saunas – Some people frequent saunas as a means of losing body weight. These people will lose weight immediately after the sauna, as they have lost water weight. However after drinking a few glasses of water their weight will be back to normal.
12. Smoking – Smoking decreases the appetite, so some people smoke with a view to losing or maintaining their weight. However, people who smoke can be more malnourished as smoking acts an anti-nutrient. This means your body needs to consume more nutrients from the food you eat. The health implications of smoking are serious, and not worth losing a few pounds of weight over.
13. Making yourself sick – Some people make themselves sick when they feel they have eaten too much food. However, after making themselves sick they can be hungry, leading to cravings for sweets, chocolate, chips, biscuits and other high calorie snacks. In the long term their body weight can increase because of the constant snacking of high calories foods.
14. Laxative abuse – Using laxatives is an unsatisfactory way of losing weight as by the time the laxatives work in the large intestine most foods and calories have been absorbed by the small intestine. The use of laxatives causes the loss of water, minerals, fibre, and waste. The water weight returns as soon as you drink the next drink. There can be serious health consequences of laxative abuse.
15. Herbal slimming teas -Some people buy herbal-based slimming teas which make outrageous claims about how much weight you will lose by drinking them. However, the main ingredient in these teas is likely to be caffeine or guarana. This in turn acts as a diuretic and leads to water loss.
16. Slimming pills – This is the ultimate miracle cure, a pill you take which will lead to weight loss. These pills include fat blockers, carbohydrate blockers, and appetite suppressants. However, none of the pills will work if you are eating poorly, and the side effects can be significant.
17. Body creams -Another dubious product on the market is the slimming body cream. It sounds a very nice idea, by simply rubbing the cream on your body your fat will instantly melt away, but there is no evidence to suggest these creams work.
18. Liposuction – People who have liposuction will lose body fat but they are putting themselves at risk from undergoing surgery, and by not making any changes to their lifestyle post surgery the weight can creep back on.
19. Gastric bands – A gastric band restricts the size of the stomach, limiting the amount of food that you can eat at once. The gastric band does help you to eat smaller amounts, but it does not stop you from eating high calorie foods or snacking constantly.
20. Mineral body wrap treatments -A very popular beauty treatment is to have a mineral body wrap or mask applied to your body. You can lose inches from this treatment, but the loss is short-lived as the inch loss is merely water weight.