Just as Halloween is quickly approaching and the gyms are packed with people desperate to shed a few extra pounds, dieting and other weight-loss approaches are in full swing! Naturally, everyone wants to look their best during this time of year, and there are both healthy and unhealthy ways to go about muscle toning and getting in shape. We can all make everyday decisions to be healthier by saying no to unnecessary lunch desserts or replacing the morning breakfast bagel with some fruit and greek yogurt. Some even choose to support their healthy diet and exercise routine with a safe weight loss supplement. However, many people fall into the dangerous trap of using methods that are considered to be unhealthy ways to lose weight fast. Some of these methods are poor decisions because they just make you just gain all the weight back after the diet is over. Other methods are unhealthy due to the fact that they require harmful drugs that are hard on the body’s vital organs. Although these methods may see some visible short-term results, the long-term lasting negative effects are often worse, and in some cases, dangerous.
Here are 10 examples of unhealthy ways to lose weight fast! We DO NOT suggest trying these, and we will provide safer and effective ideas to serve as alternatives.
1. Starving Yourself
A surprising number of people are unaware that eating consistently is the key to a healthy metabolism. Of course, this also requires the foods we regularly ingest to be healthy. However, the method of starving yourself is perhaps one of the most counterintuitive ways to keep off weight in the long run.
According to Livestrong, not only does starving oneself harm the body’s metabolism that keeps us from gaining weight in the first place, but it makes us lose the wrong type of weight. Instead of losing internal body fat, we shed water weight and lose muscle mass as a result of self-starvation. Furthermore, due to the fact that the body’s metabolism slows during the starvation mode, your body is not really burning as many calories off in the first place, and instead, the body is more likely to store ingested calories as fat.
A safer and more effective alternative would be to eat small portions of healthy food consistently throughout the day.
We have all heard stories of high-profile runway models using this approach to losing weight. Most of us are aware that it is terribly unhealthy and dangerous, yet bulimia remains a prevalent health problem in the western world, especially within the young female demographic.
According to nationaleatingdisorders.com, purging can cause severe dehydration and bodily weakness, leading to potential hair loss, kidney failure, and slowing of the heart rate. You can say goodbye to healthy white teeth; constant vomiting erodes the teeth and causes cavities and decay. In severe cases, death can occur as a result of bodily organ damage and complications.
As we suggested above, a great way to combat purging and eating disorders is to formulate a meal plan filled with healthy foods that you can feel good about. It is important to recognize that bulimia and anorexia are classified as both mental and physical health disorders, so feeling good about what you are putting into your body is vital in providing support and relief.
3. Excessive Exercise
Compulsive exercise or excessive workouts puts extreme stress on the body and our organs. Many professionals that work with patients who suffer from eating disorders recognize that this approach often goes hand-in-hand with methods like self-starvation and purging. The impact of putting too much physical stress on the body can be dangerous, especially when paired with starvation or purging.
Some negative effects of excessive exercise include increased injury, insomnia, and decreased immune system functioning, causing people to become sick more frequently. When considering all of the unhealthy ways to lose weight fast, over-exercising is the most likely to put people at risk for dangerous injuries to occur.
Instead, a daily routine of short-duration, high-intensity cardio, combined with resistance training and a healthy meal plan is the best approach. Yes, exercise is the quickest way to lose weight fast. However, excessive exercise is dangerous and should be avoided.
4. Dinitrophenol (DNP)
Many studies performed by health professionals have cited this weight-loss agent as too dangerous for human consumption, and therefore one of the unhealthy ways to lose weight fast. By the year 2011, 62 deaths were confirmed in medical literature directly linked to the use of this weight-loss supplement. It is known for effects that include appetite suppression, increased internal body heat, and increased heart rate.
In 2003, the UK Food Standard Agency labeled DNP “not fit for human consumption,” with many other countries following suit shortly after, effectively banning commercial production and distribution. However, it can still be obtained over shady trading sites on the internet, which poses a health risk to dieters and consumers worldwide.
Our suggestion regarding weight loss supplements is this: a weight loss supplement plan with no long-term healthy meal plan is pointless. If you are looking for that extra “boost” to shed extra pounds, it is important to understand that quality results do not happen overnight, and most of these supplements (both legal and illegal) are not going to give you the results you are seeking. Eat healthy, exercise in a safe and smart manner, and get quality sleep.
Also known commercially as “ephedrine,” this substance was banned on April 12, 2004, by the US government. It is derived from the Ma-huang root that has been used for over 2,000 years around the world to treat symptoms of congestion and asthma. However, it is also recognized as a highly abused and unsafe weight-loss supplement.
According to bodybuilding.com, it is a central nervous system stimulant that increases basal metabolic rate (metabolism), causing the body to burn calories faster. Since the 1990s, at least 54 deaths and thousands of ephedra-related complications have been medically recorded worldwide, forcing the global medical community to recognize it as a harmful substance.
Our suggestion for an alternative? Same as #4.
6. Protein-Only Diet
I use the protein-only diet simply as an example when grouping together all the fad diets related to cutting out specific food groups, or eating items that come exclusively from one group. Most of us know that humans derive nutrition from eating a variety of different food from different food groups, however some dieting fads urge people to cut out some foods while increasing the intake of others.
With protein-only diets, for example, the Mayo Clinic warns that people who eat protein-only foods can experience insufficient fiber intake, constipation, and decreased liver functioning in more severe cases. Some high-protein foods can also put people at higher risk for heart disease, such as full-dairy products and red meat.
Our suggestion? Incorporate steamed complex carbs such as broccoli and kale. Pair these with small portions of healthy whole grains, such as brown rice or quinoa. Cut out simple carbs or unnecessary sugar.
7. Tapeworm Diet
Although the use of parasites for dieting purposes is not as common as it used to be, some dieters ingest these nasty organisms into their bodies hoping to shed those few extra pounds. According to medicinenet.com, these parasites attach themselves to the intestinal walls of humans and can grow up to 15 feet in length. They absorb many of the nutrients we get from our foods, resulting in vitamin deficiencies if they are left untreated. Of all the unhealthy ways to lose weight fast, this is possibly the most disgusting.
Our suggestion? Well, just don’t do it.
This is another common trend seen among patients who suffer from eating disorders. According to nationaleatingdisorders.com, this method is most often used by people trying to get rid of unwanted calories, or to “feel thin.” Repeated abuse of laxatives essentially rushes food and calories through the gut before they can be absorbed, resulting in some serious complications.
Laxative abuse disturbs the body’s internal mineral balance, depleting the body of healthy nutrients like sodium, potassium, and other electrolytes needed for healthy cell functioning. It can also result in severe dehydration which damages our vital organs, qualifying this method as another unhealthy way to lose weight fast.
As an alternative, we suggest a diet rich in healthy fibers and complex carbs for normal and regular digestive functioning. Instead of depleting the body of essential minerals, a nutrient-rich diet will assist both digestion and healthy cell functioning.
Needless to say, smoking is terrible for you. With health implications ranging from lung cancer to an increased risk for heart disease, we don’t see any reason why smoking would EVER be considered a viable weight-loss option.
Nonetheless, some people still utilize this method due to the appetite-suppressive effects it can have. Nicotine interacts with the brain’s neurotransmitters such that it stimulates receptors that decrease hunger. However, if appetite suppression is what you are trying to achieve, there are far healthier methods to try to achieve the same goal.
Our suggestion? Replace snack foods with healthy options. When you get hungry, have some baby carrots and hummus!
10. Narcotic Use
From Kate Moss to Naomi Campbell, we are all too familiar with famous models and celebrities who have suffered from substance abuse problems. Whether explicitly stated or implied, the use of coke and other stimulants has been linked to fending off hunger pangs and staying skinny. Of course, using drugs as a method of weight loss and hunger prevention is a terribly unhealthy option.
Like nicotine, the active ingredients in stimulants such as methamphetamine and cocaine interact with the brain in ways that are known to suppress hunger and appetite, sometimes for days on end. As previously mentioned, it is unhealthy and simply dangerous for the body to enter starvation mode, and the long-term effects on both the brain and body can be severe.
Bottom line: real, long-lasting results are only obtained by quality dieting, smart exercise, and sufficient sleep.
Healthier Ways to Lose Weight Fast
While the above methods might be effective, the negative long-term effects they have on the body are simply not worth the short-term results they achieve. Most medical professionals agree that adopting a smoking habit is probably not a recommended way to pursue weight loss. Here are 3 healthier ways to lose weight fast that don’t involve tapeworms, narcotics, or any other habits that are bad for your health:
1. Enjoy a High-Protein Breakfast
Did you know that protein is an essential nutrient that helps supply the body with the means to effectively lose weight? According to WebMD, consuming lean protein in healthy amounts can help people achieve their weight-loss goals more effectively than starvation, dieting, or other less healthy methods. Eating breakfast to start your day is also necessary to stimulate your metabolism while skipping breakfast can inhibit the body’s ability to burn calories as it normally would.
While many kinds of cereal advertise a high-protein content, very often these products also contain high levels of sugar and bleached flour, which are both terrible for someone trying to lose weight. A better idea would be to make yourself a protein smoothie or shake for breakfast, complete with fruit, almond milk, and whey protein.
Gold Standard Whey protein is among the highest quality protein products for those trying to lose fat, gain muscle, or both.
2. Consume Fiber Daily
Fiber is an excellent way to reduce the urge to overeat by making your body feel full. Not only does it help in regulating the amount of food you consume, but it is also commonly associated with reducing the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, according to WebMD. Finally, fiber also helps support the body’s digestive system by improving bowel activity and helping to stimulate the growth of healthy intestinal flora.
Metamucil Daily Fiber Supplements contain both fiber and psyllium husk to aid with healthy digestion, weight loss, and the reduction of heart disease risk.
3. Exercise and Sleep
This is obvious to many, but putting an actionable plan into place can be far more difficult. Both sleep and exercise help to regulate the body’s metabolism, which makes weight loss and healthy weight management far easier. When we miss out on sleep or don’t move our bodies around enough, our natural processes such as our metabolism slow. This makes our bodies more susceptible to weight gain.
All in all, there are many alternatives that help you lose weight in a much healthier way.