When it comes to getting that summer body, we tend to try just about anything with the hopes of looking in the mirror and seeing what we want to see with the smallest effort possible. That, however, often tends to threaten our mental and physical health, as choosing some unhealthy ways to lose weight usually does. In the following, we will share the ten worst ways that you can choose to get rid of your extra body pounds with the hopes of never trying them again.
10 unhealthy ways to lose weight
Before we go on about the most unhealthy ways that you can use to lose weight, we wanted to clear the air first. We do not, by any means, support or encourage trying any of the following weight-loss ideas. As you will quickly learn, they are truly unhealthy and potentially health-threatening.
Instead, we will go on to explain why each and every way is considered as dangerous, offering a better alternative that we highly recommend trying instead. Just remember – weight loss is meant to revolve around healthy eating habits, mindfulness, and staying physically active, among other things, all of which are meant to not only help you lose that unwanted body weight but also help you change your health and life for better.
Many people seem to believe that starving yourself is an effective way to get rid of the extra body pounds. There are also people that think that anything above 1,200 calories a day is forbidden since you are trying to lose weight. Well, they cannot be more wrong even if they tried.
Of course, weight loss requires a certain calorie deficit in combination with an effective workout that will help burn more calories than ever, but that does not mean that you need to deal with the usual feelings of hunger, in addition to feeling irritated and resentful because of it. You see, starving yourself throughout the day will influence your mood, energy levels, and you are bound to engage in the so-called backlash binge where usually it is all of your favorite unhealthy foods that are involved (1).
Instead of starving yourself, choose snacking and regular meals that revolve around healthy and nutritious food options for the best weight loss results. Consult a nutritionist if you have to in order to determine the right calorie deficit for you according to your gender, age, physical activity, etc.
Use of laxatives
Another dangerous weight loss method is the common use of laxatives. Often people are trying to eliminate the excess calories and simply “feel thin” with no other than the frequent use of laxatives (2). But what these people are unaware of is the nutrients that are being rushed through their gut before the body gets a chance actually to use them, thus resulting in serious complications.
Not only does the use of laxatives deprive our bodies of the much-needed nutrients such as potassium, sodium, protein, vitamins, and minerals, but it also exposes it to the risk of severe dehydration that brings additional risks along.
Please do avoid the use of laxatives or any laxative teas as a weight-loss method. Instead, focus on combining the use of a healthy diet enriched with fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and all of the essential nutrients that your body craves on a daily level.
A lot of people have the habit of avoiding breakfast or dinner, thinking that is the right way to reduce their calorie intake for the day. Oh, if they only knew how wrong they are. Although this method will help you reduce your calorie intake, it comes with quite a high price.
A 2015 study showed that rats that have been given only one meal a day wounded up gorging on their food, thus packing unhealthy belly fat as their bodies try to survive, being aware of the food deprivation that they are experiencing on a daily level (3). Expect the same negative effect to happen to you too as well if you decide that skipping dinner is the right way to go trying to lose weight.
Skipping a meal is not an option, not while you are trying to lose weight, nor while you are trying to live a healthy life. Focus on introducing healthy food options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as at least two snacks in between to get the best weight loss effects.
Engaging in excessive exercise
Avoiding exercise is not an option while trying to lose weight, but engaging in excessive exercise is not an option either. You see, excessive exercise puts a lot of stress on your body, especially your muscles. Too much stress, especially when combined with starvation or unhealthy eating habits in general, is too dangerous for your health.
Excessive exercise can result in insomnia, increased risk of injury, and reduced immune system functioning, among other negative effects. Plus, when you are exercising excessively, you are burning more calories – calories that you are bound to replace by eating later. And please do understand, even snacking on too many healthy foods can quickly erase all of the hard work that you have been putting so far (4).
Take the time to plan out your workout sessions. Focus on introducing three to four workout sessions that last an hour or hour and a half max for the best results. But do plan your days off as well, allowing your body enough time to recover before the next workout takes place.
We mentioned once or twice until now, how important, regular meals and snacks are during your weight loss journey. However, if you lose control over how often you snack during the day, even if you choose the most diet foods that you can find, you are bound to lose all of the results that you have been working for so hard.
Always practice portion control to help you plan out your meals and snacks during the day. That way, you will get the best of both worlds – you will snack on your favorite healthy snacks, and you will be more aware of your calorie intake, preventing any unwanted weight gain from occurring (5, 6)
Relying on a protein-only diet
Protein-enriched foods are your best friends during the weight loss journey. They will boost your metabolism, giving you the energy to build strong and lean muscles, thus boosting the weight loss process (7). However, if you overdo it, you will only add a few extra inches around your waist, endangering the results of your weight loss process.
We are humans, which means that we need a variety of different food groups in order to survive and lead a healthy and happy life in the meantime. Cutting food groups and focusing on only one, with protein being the case right now, is not the way to survive or lose weight. While trying to lose weight, you need to variation of nutrients that only a well-balanced diet can offer. When you are focusing on a protein-only diet, you forget about fiber, exposing yourself to the risk of constipation and even a decreased liver functioning in the more severe cases (8).
A suggestion that we have for you is to focus on introducing protein in each and every meal of yours, however, always take the time needed to come up with a healthy and tasty combination that will allow you to introduce fiber, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and carbs as well.
Replacing meals with weight loss shakes
Weight loss and protein shakes are meant to be used as a dietary supplement, which means that you will still need to spend sufficient time in the kitchen, preparing a tasty meal for yourself. And yet, millions of people are relying on their favorite weight loss shakes as a replacement for their breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
It is true that high-quality protein shakes can help you lose weight by introducing enough protein in your diet, thus boosting your metabolism and controlling your hunger, but that is only the case when you pair them up with healthy sources of lean protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats. Despite the fact that these shakes are enriched with nutrients, if your diet consists of only liquid and nothing more, once you go back to eating solid food, your lost weight will bounce back once again (9).
Working out on an empty stomach
Many people like to workout first thing in the morning before they even have had their fresh cup of coffee, beliving the myth that working out on an empty stomach will help them burn more fat than ever. Well, we would not be here telling you this if they have been doing the right thing, would we?
A review published in the Strenght and Conditioning Journal has proven the opposite (10). It seems that hitting the gym on an empty stomach does not help you lose weight; it only helps you lose solid muscle tissue – muscle tissue that otherwise helps you burn weight, so you see how and why we would like you to avoid this?
Even when you have had a good night's sleep, working out on an empty stomach will influence your energy levels, causing the quality of your workout session to drop significantly. Not only will you be losing valuable muscle tissue, but your workout sessions with being of low quality, thus harming your weight loss journey.
What we do advise is to get at least 30 minutes earlier to have a delicious and nutritional breakfast first thing in the morning before you leave your house to get your workout done for the day. You will feel more energized and eager to workout while burning more calories than you can ever imagine and building strong muscles in the process.
Forgetting about Omega-3 fatty acids
Anyone who is trying to get that summer body is staying as far as possible from fats. But did you know that not all fats are bad? In fact, there is a variety of healthy fats that you are highly recommended to include in your diet on a daily basis to achieve the standard of a healthy, well-balanced diet, and Omega-3 fatty acids are one of those healthy fats (11).
Chia seeds, salmon, and walnuts are the perfect examples of rich sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, which you need to rely on as much as possible. Not only will the Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce your hunger and lower your bad cholesterol levels, but they will also help you lose weight according to a study published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise journal (12).
Beneficial effects that you need to expect once you pair Omega-3 fatty acids and sufficient exercise are lower body fat and lower total body weight, among many others. Choose between the natural sources of Omega-3 fatty acids or at least introduce a quality Omega-3 fatty acids dietary supplement in your diet.
Yet another big misconception about weight loss is that you need to eliminate carbs of any kind if you are even remotely interested in losing weight. But just like fats, not all carbs are bad. Of course, you would like to avoid refined carbs such as those found in cakes, candy, sweetened drinks, white pasta, and white bread, but there is no reason why you would avoid the much-needed healthy carbs found in seasonal fruits and veggies (13, 14)
Remember that carbs are providing the energy that you need, among other beneficial effects, and your diet needs to include healthy carbs as well if you do not want to deal with fatigue day after day. You would need to limit your carbs intake in order to help your body eliminate the stored fats, using them as energy sources, but there is no reason why you would avoid them altogether.
Weight loss is not difficult, not when you have the right methods at hand. But often we refer to something that gives us a quick result, even if that does not seem like the healthiest thing for our body and mind at the moment, often being unaware of the complications that may follow. Today we got to discuss the ten unhealthiest ways to lose weight, and we only hope that you will stay as far away as possible from any of these weight loss methods in the future.