Fighting off the bulge can range from following a sensible and healthy diet to making ill-guided efforts that can have serious consequences for your health. Below you’ll find seven dangerous strategies that you should avoid at all costs when trying to lose weight:
1. Starvation, Fasting, or Very Low-Calorie Diets
This may lead to weight loss, but the lost weight includes precious muscle and lowers metabolism. Drastic calorie restriction also causes a shift towards a higher percentage of body fat, which increases the risk for metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Unless medically supervised, don’t consume fewer than 1,200 calories per day. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to get enough nutrients to fuel your daily activities and satisfy your hunger. Keep in mind that when you lose weight quickly, you might be at risk of packing it back on – with more fat and less muscle – especially if you’re older than 50.
2. Taking Supplements That Make Grand Promises
If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Unlike makers of prescription drugs, companies that make supplements don’t have to prove that their products are safe or effective before selling them on the market. Even products that claim to be natural aren’t necessarily safe or good for you.
Therefore, if you’re thinking about taking any weight loss products, ask a doctor first. It’s better to focus on what’s proven to work for weight loss, including your diet.
3. Using Cleansing or Detox Plans
At best, cleanses cause weight loss from water and stool weight, but they can be dangerous. They carry the risk of electrolyte imbalance and dehydration. Your body is fine-tuned to detoxify and excrete toxins, so cleanses aren’t necessary and can lead to serious complications by messing with your body’s system.
4. All Forms of Purging
Purging includes making yourself vomit, chewing food and spitting it out, and abusing laxatives. These habits pose serious health issues, and are the first step towards the development of eating disorders.
Acid in the stomach is extremely strong, and it’s meant to stay in the stomach, not be regurgitated into the throat and mouth. Extremely acidic vomit can cause erosion in the esophagus, mouth and tooth enamel. This can increase the risk of certain cancers and tooth decay.
Regular purging by vomiting or abusing laxatives can cause excess fluid loss that can cause serious dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
Purging in all its forms is no way to decrease your waistline. Eating and drinking healthfully is a much safer option.
5. Extreme Exercising
This can cause serious problems such as severe wear and tear,dehydration, increased injury risk, and electrolyte imbalance.
The American College of Sports Medicine and American Heart Association recommend getting at least 30 minutes of moderately intense cardio exercise five days a week, or 20 minutes of intense cardio exercise three days a week, and strength-training exercises that work all the major muscle groups 2-3 times a week.
Some people think that more is better and go beyond what is healthy. This kind of obsessive approach can take control of their lives in an unhealthy way. If you take a moderate approach to exercise, you’ll be able to stick with it for the long haul.
6. Legal or Illegal Drugs
Using drugs other than prescription weight loss drugs intended for weight loss is a mistake that can come with dangerous consequences.
The risks associated with abusing drugs such as cocaine, speed, and medication intended for attention deficit disorder or diabetes to lose weight far outweigh any health benefits you may get from the weight loss. The risks include anxiety, severe headaches, addiction, financial and relationship problems, strokes, and heart, lung, and kidney issues.
Using illegal drugs for any purpose is strongly discouraged, and using legal ones for their unintended purpose without medical supervision is dangerous.
We are all aware that smoking has countless health risks. Yet, some people, especially young adults, use smoking as a diet strategy.
Nicotine has been shown to be an appetite suppressant, but the risks of smoking vastly outweigh any benefits. Smoking damages nearly every organ in the body; causes cancer as well as respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
Beyond the numerous health risks, weight gain is often a side effect when smokers try to kick the addictive habit.
Best Weight Loss Practices
Choose a diet that works well for your lifestyle. The best diet is one that you can stick to long-term. Use common sense, listen to your body, be mindful of what you eat, and ignore expensive, risky, and worthless weight loss strategies or products that are unproven.
Seek advice from your doctor or a registered dietitian if you are concerned that your weight loss methods may border on extreme or unhealthy.