We live in a society today where everyone wants to stay trim and thin. And with more than half of the American population considered medically overweight, everyone is looking for a magic trick to make tummies trimmer and thighs smaller.
There are a few sneaky weight loss tricks floating around the internet that can come to your rescue. The problem is most of them offer short term results that can often come at the expense of your overall health. You read right: these ‘body hacks’ are not only relatively ineffective but can cause dangerous side effects that you’re better without!
Here is a list of seven weight loss tricks you should avoid at all costs:
In recent years over-the-counter laxatives have become a popular choice for individuals who want to lose weight fast. The theory behind this is that the laxative will accelerate the movement of food through the digestive tract, giving your body less time to absorb high or low calories in the food you eat. In reality, the laxative does not do this. By the time food waste reaches the colon the body has gotten all of the nutrients from it, so you simply end up eliminating your food waste faster. So why then does it seem like laxatives work so well?
A side effect of laxative use is dehydration, so you may shed some water weight when using a laxative. Other side effects also include nausea, mental fogginess, muscle weakness, even death. If you want to shed some water weight and decrease bloating, reach for vegetables high in fiber instead of the laxative. These foods naturally reduce bloating and are rich in antioxidants and other nutrients.
Purging, or induced vomiting immediately after eating, is widely known to be a dangerous weight loss trick, but every few years medical professionals report an influx of individuals suffering the devastating side effects of purging, which leads us to believe that people still think that purging works.
Like most dangerous weight loss tricks, purging is just as ineffective as it is deadly. When you purge food it is nearly impossible to purge everything you ate, ultimately adding some calories to your daily intake. Done multiple times over the course of a day, purging can cause you to consume several thousand extra calories which will make you gain weight!
Purging is also extremely unhealthy and can lead to lethal side effects. For instance, vomiting leads to dehydration and a devastating loss of electrolytes. Prolonged purging can also lead to stomach acid, creating holes in the esophagus and deterioration of the stomach lining. These conditions can lead to internal bleeding and death.
Too Much Cardio
Many people make the biggest fitness mistake of skipping everything else in the gym in favour of cardio exercises. In reality hitting the cardio machines too often can lead to a decrease in muscle development. Since muscle mass is what burns excess calories, the more muscle you have the faster you lose unwanted fat.
Translation: don’t skip the weights! Doing resistance training with weights few days a week is a much more effective way to lose weight.
Working Out on an Empty Stomach
There is an old belief that working out on an empty stomach will help you burn more fat during your workout. However, the truth is that working out on an empty stomach burns the same amount of calories from fat as working out after having eaten. The only difference is your body has less accessible energy at its disposal during your workout. A small meal of complex carbs and protein before a workout session can enhance performance, which will burn more calories and provide faster results.
Low Fat/Low Carb
Cutting out an entire food group from your diet is a huge no-no that many dieting fanatics make. The idea that cutting all fats or carbs from your diet may sound like a fast and simple way to lose weight, but it is also a quick way to become malnourished.
Malnutrition can lead to several diseases, as well as a decrease in stamina, energy, and physical deterioration. Malnutrition also signals your body to hold on to fat reserves for as long as possible to avoid starvation. Cutting out all fats and carbs can actually make you lose weight slower!
Instead of cutting out entire food groups, focus on portion control and balancing your total calorie intake to ensure that you get all of the vital nutrients you need for good health without overindulging in extra calories that will cause weight gain.
Just like cutting out certain food groups, fasting does more harm than good if you are attempting to lose weight. Long term starvation tells your body to hold on to as much of the energy and fat reserves that is has in order to survive—not to mention the lack of food can lead to extremely unpleasant side effects.
Skipping even a single meal can lead to nausea, headaches, and fatigue. The hunger from fasting can also lead to dangerous binge eating later, which can set you back in your weight loss goals.
Weight loss supplements
At the height of the weight loss craze, weight loss supplements with stimulants like ephedrine hit the market. These wonder pills were extremely popular because they decreased appetite and effectively aided in weight loss. The problem is that they also created heart palpitations and other lethal side effects.
These stimulants have been made illegal in most countries, but there are still products on the market today that seek to recreate these weight loss results. Natural stimulants like taurine and caffeine may be legal, but in large doses these can also cause adverse effects.
Instead of taking supplements that kill the natural appetite, focus on eating healthy meals high in fiber like dark leafy green veggies. These foods will leave you feeling fuller longer so that you can make healthy meal choices and lose weight the natural way.