Weight loss is a multi-billion dollar business. As more and more Americans are “super-sizing” what they eat, they are also becoming “super-sized” themselves with “two-thirds of American adults now obese or overweight. The number of obese and overweight children has now climbed to 30 percent in 30 states.” (1)
With these disturbing statistics, it’s no wonder that you may want to lose weight and lose weight fast. Even a 10% reduction in weight offers immediate health benefits such as decreased risk of certain cancers, lower blood pressure, and more energy. (2)
So, how do you choose the correct way to lose weight? Is there a miracle diet? Diets abound and weight loss tips can be found everywhere. I provide my solution to healthy weight loss at the end of this article. First, look at the 10 worst ways you can try to lose weight. I write, “try” because these diets and ways to lose weight are not only dangerous, but also temporary.
Worst Ways to Lose Weight
1. Crash Diet (stop eating) – If you want to lose weight, why not stop eating for a while? Not only is this practice dangerous (can you say “malnutrition?”), but it often backfires. When you stop eating, your body goes into starvation mode, which slows your metabolism and the majority of the weight loss is water weight. When you resume eating, you’ll gain the weight back and with your body in starvation mode, you’ll have even more trouble losing weight because your body will cling to the calories believing your life is threatened.
2. Binge and Purge – While bulimia is more about distorted body image rather than a weight loss tool, some people who are not technically bulimic get eater’s remorse, especially when dieting and having a slip at a nice restaurant. Once back at home, they induce vomiting to correct their mistake. Bulimia-like behavior risks your health because it wears off the tooth enamel, leads to gastrointestinal problems, and can cause an irregular heartbeat leading to a possible heart attack.
3. The Christian Bale Diet – Bale dropped over 60 pounds for his role in The Machinist by eating just one can of tuna and an apple each day. Says Bale, “Everybody told me that I was risking my health the first time around, so doing it twice? I’m probably being an idiot.” (3)
4. Drunkorexia – this newly coined term describes the practice of starving all day to offset the calories in the alcohol consumed later, such as when a person wants to go clubbing. (4)
5. Orthorexia – is an obsession with what is perceived as healthy food – eliminating fats and preservatives, for example. Focusing on healthy food sounds good, right? The trouble is people with this condition can dangerously deprive themselves of needed nutrients. For example, we all need a certain amount of fat in our diet to provide energy and to allow the absorption of certain vitamins, which are only soluble in fat. (4)
6. Laxatives – using laxatives to purge your body of food wears out the bowel muscle, which may result in a permanent decrease in bowel function. Surely you don’t want to be constipated the rest of your life.
7. Exercising – Getting at least 30 minutes each day is beneficial for your health, but exercising for several hours each day to lose weight does not necessarily work. That much exercise makes you hungrier and you may end up consuming even more calories, or mistakenly believe you can reward yourself because you exercised. Furthermore,” a pound of muscle burns approximately six calories a day in a resting body, compared with the two calories that a pound of fat burns. Which means that after you work out hard enough to convert, say, 10 lb. of fat to muscle – a major achievement – you would be able to eat only an extra 40 calories per day, about the amount in a teaspoon of butter, before beginning to gain weight. Good luck with that.” (5)
8. Fad diets (South Beach, Atkins, Zone) – Diets do not work for two main reasons: diets deprive you of certain foods or perhaps even groups of foods, such as Atkins, which cuts out carbs, and diets disappear. Once achieving their goal weight, most dieters return to their pre- weight loss eating habits and the pounds come right back.
9. Appetite Suppressants – You are essentially taking speed to lose weight. Risks include addiction to the substance you are taking, nervousness, insomnia, high blood pressure and more seriously, strokes and more serious heart problems.
10. Liposuction – if you can’t lose the fat, why not have it vacuumed out of your body at considerable expense? Liposuction is not for weight loss, it is for body sculpting on a body that is already at a healthy weight. As with any surgical procedure, there are risks of infection, risks to the cardiovascular system, and nerve damage.
Healthy, sustainable weight loss occurs at a rate of one to two pounds per week. When my weight creeps up a few pounds, I get myself back on track with proper portion control. Try these healthier ways to lose weight – it’s not dieting or calorie counting, just a sensible way to eat.
Healthy eating guidelines with a customizable food plan – http://www.mypyramid.gov/
Portion control information – http://www.smallstep.gov/
Printable take-with-you portion control card – http://hp2010.nhlbihin.net/portion/servingcard7.pdf