Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Weight Loss & Diet Plans

Font Size
A
A
A

7 Things Never to Do to Lose Weight

By
WebMD Expert Column

Fighting the battle of the bulge can range from following a sensible diet to making ill-guided efforts that can have serious health consequences.

“People get so focused on weight loss they are willing to do unproven and potentially dangerous things that can backfire and cause serious health problems,” says Michelle May, MD, who teaches mindful eating.

 

pea on plate

Here are seven dangerous strategies you should avoid when trying to lose weight.

Starvation, Fasting, or Very Low-Calorie Diets

Severely slashing calories may lead to weight loss, but the lost weight includes precious muscle  and lowers metabolism. Drastic calorie restriction also causes a shift toward a higher percentage of body fat, which increases the risk for metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Unless medically supervised, don’t cut calories below 1,200 per day. Otherwise, you will struggle to get enough nutrients to fuel your activities and satisfy your hunger. Keep in mind that when you lose weight quickly, you may be at risk to pack it back on -- with more fat and less muscle -- especially if you're over 50.

Supplements That Make Grand Promises

If it sounds too good to be true, 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 putting them on the market. Even products that claim to be natural aren’t necessarily safe or good for you.

If you're thinking about taking any weight loss product, ask your doctor first. It's best to focus on what's proven to work for weight loss, including your diet.

Cleanses or Detox Plans

At best, cleanses cause weight loss from water and stool weight. But they can be dangerous. They carry risks of dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and more.

“Losing lots of fluid without medical supervision is risky, and when it's combined with fasting, even riskier," May says. "Your body is uniquely fine-tuned to detoxify and excrete toxins. So cleanses are unnecessary and can lead to serious complications by messing with your body’s system.”

Instead of detoxifying, be more mindful of what you eat. If you want to cleanse or detoxify your body, drink plenty of water and eat lots of high-fiber foods.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

vegetables
Video
feet on scale
Blog
 
Woman looking at reflection in mirror
Article
Hot cup of coffee
Quiz
 
pantry
Video
butter curl on knife
Quiz
 
eating out healthy
Article
Smiling woman, red hair
Article
 
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Build a Fitter Family Challenge – Get your crew motivated to move.
Feed Your Family Better Challenge - Tips and tricks to healthy up your diet.
Sleep Better Challenge - Snooze clues for the whole family.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply
thumbnail_woman_tossing_spinach
Video
lunchbox
Article
 
What Girls Need To Know About Eating Disorders
Article
teen squeezing into jeans
fitfor Teens