6 Things Never to Do to Lose Weight
Cleanses or Detox Plans
Cleansing for a colonoscopy is necessary for examining your colon. But cleansing to remove toxins from your body is not necessary. At best, cleanses cause weight loss from water and stool weight. But they can be dangerous and 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 finely-tuned 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.
All Forms of Purging
Purging includes making yourself vomit, chewing food and spitting it out, and abusing laxatives. “These unhealthy and unsafe behaviors are not uncommon on college campuses, pose serious health problems, and are the first step in the development of eating disorders,” says Diekman, who counsels students with eating disorders at Washington University.
Acid in the stomach is extremely strong. Strong acid is necessary to prepare food for digestion and absorption. But stomach contents are meant to stay in the stomach, not be regurgitated into the esophagus and mouth. “Extremely acidic vomit can cause erosion in the esophagus and mouth and on tooth enamel. This can increase risk for certain cancers, tooth decay, and more when purging becomes a ritual,” Diekman says.
Regular purging by vomiting or abuse of laxatives also causes excess fluid loss that can cause serious dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.
All of these forms of weight loss are dangerous, but the most dangerous is the use of syrup of Ipecac, Diekman says. “One dose can trigger cardiac irregularity and can lead to cardiac arrest.”
Purging in all its forms is no way to whittle down the waistline; it is extremely dangerous and not recommended by experts. Eating and drinking responsibly is a much healthier and safer weight loss approach. If you cannot control your behavior, seek medical help.
Obsessive Behaviors Such as Extreme Exercising
Extreme exercise may make for good reality television. But in the real world, it can cause grave problems. It’s physically intense on the body, causes severe wear and tear, increases the risk for injury, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalance, and psychologically turns exercise into punishment for eating, May says.
The American Academy 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 vigorously intense cardio exercise 3 days a week and 8 to 10 minutes of strength-training exercises twice a week.
Despite the recommendations from authorities, some people think more is better and go way beyond what’s healthy. Obsessive exercise controls their lives in an unhealthy way.
Engage in regular physical activity for all the health benefits. That includes stress relief because ignoring the stressors in your life can cause the release of hormones, such as cortisol, that increase appetite and fat storage, Gazzaniga-Moloo says.