This week we’re looking at some of the challenges and mistakes that accompany a process of weight loss. On Monday we looked at what to do if you hate your body and today we’re giving you an overview of all the very worst ways to lose weight. At some point everyone who’s looked to lose weight will have researched or even tried one of these techniques (cabbage soup diet anyone?) and so you’ll probably already know that they stink – often literally.
The temptation with these methods is that they often promise quick results and an easy-to-follow plan. Sometimes they may represent a cheaper way of addressing weight concerns. The truth is that eating healthily and exercising more may require some time and financial investment but it’s an investment that repays itself in every aspect of your life. Richard Branson is on record as saying that the best investment he’s ever made was in his own fitness.
So what are the five worst ways to lose weight?
1. Skipping Meals
Skipping meals may seem like a quick way to reduce your calorie intake, but it can actually backfire in several ways. When you skip meals, your body goes into starvation mode and slows down your metabolism to conserve energy. This can make it harder to lose weight in the long run. Skipping meals can also lead to overeating later in the day, as your body tries to compensate for the missed meals. Plus, lots of guys report that they get headaches when they miss meals, so take some extra time on Sunday to meal prep for the week ahead.
Purging is a dangerous and unhealthy way to try to lose weight – do not try it. Purging can include inducing vomiting or using laxatives or diuretics to flush out food from your system. Purging can lead to electrolyte imbalances, dehydration, and damage to your digestive system. It can also contribute to an eating disorder such as bulimia, which can have serious long-term health consequences. As weights have become more mainstream we’ve heard of more people attempting water fasts to lose pounds – it doesn’t work – as soon as your hydration levels return to normal you’ll see those pounds creep back on.
3. Excessive Exercise
While exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, excessive exercise can be harmful to your body. Over-exercising can lead to injuries, exhaustion, and even heart problems such as atrial fibrillation. It’s important to find a balance between exercise and rest and to choose activities that you enjoy and that are appropriate for your fitness level. Ignore all the no-pain-no-gain nonsense.
4. Diet Pills
Diet pills promise to help you lose weight quickly and easily, but they can be dangerous and ineffective. Many diet pills contain stimulants that can raise your heart rate and blood pressure, which can be especially risky for people with pre-existing heart conditions. Many diet pills also contain ingredients that are not approved, which can be harmful to your health. Perhaps because they know that they are marketing a product to desperate people, manufacturers have often used poor quality ingredients and, in some cases, they’ve used entirely different ingredients from those advertised – don’t take the risk!
Smoking is often associated with weight loss, as it can suppress your appetite and increase your metabolism. However, smoking in itself is a deadly habit that can lead to lung cancer, heart disease and a host of other health problems. The risks of smoking far outweigh any potential benefits for weight loss. The same could be said for coffee too, which people can sometimes try to use as an appetite supressant. Eating balanced meals and snacks throughout the day means you can control your hunger levels and you won’t need the gimmicky tricks.
We know that this sounds like the sort of advice that your parents would give but rather than resorting to extreme measures, it’s best to focus on a balanced diet, regular exercise and overall healthy lifestyle habits. It’s also important to be patient and realistic, as sustainable weight loss takes time and effort – the guidance often says that between 1 and 2 pounds per week is the ideal rate. If you find yourself tempted by any of the dangerous routes above, take a moment to get in touch with us and we’ll help you to lose weight healthily and without the drama.