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28 Things You Should Never Do To Lose Weight

When you are on a weight loss journey it’s easy to get caught up and in an act of desperation turn to drastic methods and means to trim the fat. The most important thing to bear in mind as you try to lose weight is that you should only ever do it in ways that are safe.

You may think you have come across the most incredible tool or tip ever, but if it’s harming your body then it isn’t worth the weight loss it may contribute to.

Safety is not only better for your health, but often drastic methods never achieve lasting results, but take you further from your ultimate goal of taking the weight off and keeping it off for good.

With that in mind, let’s look at 28 things you should never do to lose weight.

28 Things You Should Never Do To Lose Weight

28 Things You Should Never Do To Lose Weight

1: Using Diet Pills and Illegal Drugs

Taking a drug or pill probably sounds like an easy way to get your weight loss journey started, but WebMD reports that many of them have serious side effects. Even if it’s a prescription drug – it should only be used for the person who was prescribed it and in the way it was intended, as directed by a licensed medical professional. Others may turn to cocaine, meth, or speed to give them a boost and while they may help you drop weight, the consequences are never worth it, as these drugs are not only addictive but can also be detrimental to your health.

2: Using Laxatives

This seems to be another popular method for people looking to lose weight fast – and is common in people who struggle with eating disorders. You might think it’s an easy way to drop the pounds but repeatedly using laxatives (in any form) can have dire consequences for your digestive system.

 3: Fad Dieting

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University studied thousands of these fad diets and found that less than a dozen of them had any effect on a long-term weight loss journey (http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/few_commercial_weight_loss_programs_show_reliable_evidence_of_effectiveness_johns_hopkins_reports). Despite the fact that the American weight loss industry is worth billions of dollars the US remains the fattest nation in the world. Nothing can replace eating healthy and exercising when it comes to losing weight.

 4: Very Low-Calorie Diets

This diet restricts to 800 calories a day and provides you with a list of zero-calorie foods that you are free to munch on. Your body needs calories to survive. It also needs a healthy balance of various foods that offer different nutrients, along with healthy fats that are key for the body and brain. While reducing your calorie count is an effective way to lose weight going on a very low-calorie diet isn’t going to repay you. You will initially drop weight, but this isn’t a sustainable lifestyle so as soon as you start eating more calories you will start gaining the weight back and often more than what you lost.

5: Starving Yourself

Starvation places you at risk for malnutrition and a host of health problems. It is also not sustainable and often results in eventual binge eating that makes you gain more weight. Starvation also causes the body to go into panic mode, where it hoards any calories you do eat to save for later, so can actually result in stalling any weight loss efforts. Long-term starvation or anorexia is a life-threatening eating disorder.

6: Meal Skipping

There’s a difference between Intermittent Fasting and just skipping meals for the sake of losing weight. You aren’t going to kick start your metabolism by passing on lunch, you will actually stall metabolism and be more likely to overeat come dinner time.

7: Over-Exercising

Extreme exercise can cause exhaustion and stress that may cause you to overeat. Stress hormones also play a role in the storage of belly fat. Too much exercise increases risks of burnout that causes poor decision making. You don’t need to run on the treadmill for two hours to get your daily dose of exercise. 30 to 60 minutes of exercise four times a week is more than sufficient for the average person and pushing yourself harder isn’t going to help you.


8: Binging and Purging

This is another habit common in people with eating disorders and it can wreak havoc on your body. Binging and purging is an eating disorder where a massive binge, usually on unhealthy foods is followed by induced vomiting. WebMD reports that throwing up after binging on food is likely to fuel unhealthy cravings; it damages your teeth, esophagus, and stomach, and can cause serious dehydration and even death from health complications.

According to WebMD, “Acid in the stomach is extremely strong. A strong acid is necessary to prepare food for digestion and absorption. Stomach contents are meant to stay in the stomach, not be regurgitated into the throat and mouth.” Connie Diekman, RD and director of nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis told WebMD “Extremely acidic vomit can cause erosion in the esophagus and mouth and on tooth enamel. This can increase the risk for certain cancers, tooth decay, and more when purging becomes a ritual.”

Diekman further reports that the most dangerous practice is using ipecac to induce vomiting, which she says, “One dose can trigger cardiac irregularity and can lead to cardiac arrest.”

9: Radical Detoxes And Cleanses

It sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it? Just follow this juice cleanse, or perhaps it’s soup, and you’ll lose all that weight you want to. According to WebMD, the main reason people lose weight from a cleanse is from water and stool. However, there is a real risk of dehydration from unhealthy and extreme cleanses, which can call all sorts of health issues.

 10: Yo-Yo Dieting

Stopping and starting numerous difference diets or dieting, in general, might seem like a good way to lose weight when you need to and go back to normal the rest of the time, but it’s doing more harm than good. It can harm your gut health, frustrate you psychologically, and it leads to weight gain. Moreover, NPR points to studies indicating that it may have negative effects on the health of your heart (http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/05/01/526048767/-yo-yo-dieting-poses-serious-risks-for-heart-patients).

Jumping from one diet to another is not sustainable, never leads to permanent weight loss, and is a generally dysfunctional practice.

  • Harms gut health
  • Frustrates you psychologically
  • Leads to weight gain
  • Negative effects on the heart
  • Causes weight gain
  • Never teaches or instills lasting habit changes required for permanent weight loss

 11: Erratic Routines

If you work odd hours and don’t have set meal times this can throw your body out of whack, and interrupt your metabolism, which is responsible for burning calories and digesting your food.

 12: Oversized Portions

There’s no sense in skipping a meal and then having an oversized portion at the next – not only will it prevent you from losing weight, it may actually cause you to gain weight.

 13: Cutting Out Food Groups

There is no sense in cutting out an entire food group unless your doctor has advised you to. This typically results in feelings of deprivation that only makes you want those foods more and so may not be sustainable for the long-term. This can also prevent your body from getting the nutrients it needs. Of course, there are foods you can cut out without risk – anything that contains trans fats and/or table sugars.

 14: Eating Too Quickly

It’s easy to get carried away when you’re hungry and wolf your food down. This is generally when you come to the end of the meal, think you’re still hungry, and reach for a second helping. Instead, you should take your time and focus on eating your meal mindfully. This gives your brain plenty of time to receive the signal that you are full. It will help you stay on track and eat less.

15: White Knuckling

If you are constantly suffering, starving and white knuckling it throughout your days, this is not sustainable and will only cause you to binge and overeat once you can’t take it anymore. A sound and lasting diet plan are one in which you eat, and eat well and eat fewer calories than you burn while maintaining mental satisfaction.

 16: Labeling Foods As Bad

As soon as you label something bad, it registers in the mind as something that is not allowed, which causes you to feel deprived, and that can make you want it more than ever, moderation is more psychologically sound.

It’s tempting to dismiss certain foods as bad (or good) but this is the wrong type of thinking, so remind yourself that everything in moderation really is the key.

 17: Following Very Low Protein Diets

Your body needs protein for muscle health and many other internal processes. Protein also makes you feel full, so eat less. The lack of protein will have to be compensated by something else, usually, this will be carbohydrates, which can cause weight gain, especially the refined, and sugar-filled varieties.

 18: Depriving Yourself

If you want to sabotage your weight loss attempts, then go ahead and deprive yourself – but it’s only going to end with a lot of guilt and shame when you slip up and can’t manage without certain types of foods.

19: Berating, Bullying, And Self-Hatred

Hating, bullying or berating yourself will not make you lose weight; in fact, it will only lead to self-defeating behavior like overeating or eating behind low self-esteem.

20: Fat-Free Dieting

Fat does not make you fat and your body needs healthy fats to function, so don’t be tricked into thinking the key to weight loss is cutting fat from your diet.

21: Ditching All Sugar

Don’t fall into this trap – while sugar can be damaging, fruits contain sugars, too. Natural sugars are not the same as table sugars. The key is moderation and choosing fruits low in sugar.

22: Binge Eating

It can be really tempting to binge eat, especially when it comes to your cheat meal/day. Even if you choose healthy foods to binge on you’re still increasing your calorie count. The most important part of a weight loss journey is controlling your portions.

23: Living On Caffeine

Sure caffeine is an appetite suppressant, but you still need to eat. So cut down on caffeine, as too much can also make you anxious and jittery, which can elevate stress levels causing cravings for junk food. Additionally, stress hormones play a key role in the retention of belly fat.

24: Drinking Too Much Juice

Juicing is all the rage, but even natural fruit juices contain sugar, when you drink too much fruit juice you increase your intake of sugar significantly, which can cause out of control cravings for sweets, increases caloric intake and wreaks havoc on blood sugar levels. Moderate juice intake and eat more whole fruits.

25: Smoking As An Appetite Suppressant

People often pick up a pack of cigarettes when they’re under extreme stress, and many will avoid quitting because of the chemicals in tobacco act as an appetite suppressant. Apparently, a cancer diagnosis is less terrifying than a few extra pounds. If you chain smoke you will very likely need to eat less and comfortably skip meals, however, the damage to your immune system, lungs, and overall health is not a fair trade.

26: Weighing Yourself Daily

Trust us when we tell you this will get you nowhere fast. It’s more likely to leave you feeling discouraged that you aren’t achieving your goals fast enough. Instead, weigh yourself once every two weeks.

27: Setting Unrealistic Goals

“I’m going to over 30 pounds in 2 weeks,” “I will exercise 3 hours a day.” Realistic? Not likely. It’s easy to put yourself off by giving yourself too big a goal to reach. This is the perfect sabotage, which makes you your own worst enemy. There’s nothing wrong with setting an ideal body weight and going for it, but don’t psych yourself out by reaching for attainable goals, and failing to create mini-goals in between. It gives you plenty to celebrate on your path to your ultimate goal and makes big weight loss much more manageable.

28: Choosing Any Of These 15 Extreme Diets

While the dangers of fat diets were mentioned, it’s important to stress some specific ones. These are popular diets that many people believe are harmless ways to help lose weight and in reality, they put your health at risk. Despite statements to the contrary, there is no scientific evidence to back any of these diets.


  • The Tapeworm Diet – This isn’t a new diet, but despite the dangers, it still exists today. The FDA has banned it, but people continue to find ways to get their hands on tapeworm diet pills. If you’re still unsure of what this diet involves it is literally all about growing a tapeworm inside you so that it eats the food you ingest. When you reach your goal weight, you take an anti-parasite pill to expel the worm and that’s it. Sure, you’ll lose weight, but there’s a good chance you’ll experience vomiting, severe diarrhea, and headaches. In some extreme cases, people have experienced epileptic fits.
  • The Hollywood Diet – This diet is essentially a starvation diet and relies on very low-calorie eating. Most of the weight you lose because of this diet will be water weight and you’ll have the joy of fatigue, nausea, constipation, (or diarrhea) for your troubles.
  • Fletcherism – This diet encourages participants to chew excessively until the food the food has essentially become liquidized. This is supposed to lead to eating less because your body knows it’s full – the drawbacks? You will spend all of your time eating and you may starve to death as your body waits to be fed as you over-chew every bite of food you put in your mouth. There aren’t any real dangerous health effects to this, it’s just not going to help you in any way.
  • The Baby Food Diet – It’s every bit as ridiculous as it sounds because while babies love those little jars, even they grow out of them and need solids. This diet requires you to live on baby food during the morning and afternoon and then in the evening, you are allowed a (very low-calorie) meal. This is not an effective way to lose weight long-term.
  • The Cotton Ball Diet – Sadly, this is a common trick that models use as they strive to maintain their stick-thin figures. It is in no way healthy for your body so don’t be tempted to try this. The idea is that eating cotton balls is an effective method for suppressing your appetite – there’s just one (or more) issue with that – it can block your digestive system. They expand when wet so you’re just inviting bloating, discomfort, and constipation.
  • The Master Cleanse – You may also know this as the lemonade diet. It’s basically just drinking a mix of water, cayenne pepper, maple syrup, and lemon juice. Not only will you lose very little (water) weight, but you’ll hate yourself for doing this to your body. There is no scientific evidence that it will purge toxins from your body and you’ll end up losing out on precious nutrients and vitamins that you need to flourish.
  • The Cabbage Soup Diet – This is another diet that was popularized by the rich and famous. The bonus? You can eat as much as you want! The drawback? Your only option is cabbage soup. The diet lasts seven days and once it’s over you can go back to eating as you always do and scratch your head in wonder as to why you regained anything that you may have lost.
  • The Grapefruit Diet – Believe it or not, this diet can be traced back to the 30s. The idea behind it is to cut carbs from your diet, eat lean proteins, increase your water intake, and eat a grapefruit before you eat anything else. It lasts for 10 days and… is utterly useless.


  • Ear Stapling – This has stemmed from ancient practices of piercing for medicinal purposes and having your ears stapled is said to help control cravings and suppress appetite. Florida has made this practice illegal due to the dangers.
  • The Drinking Man’s Diet – This diet was conceived even before the Atkins™ diet was and it’s easy to see why it’s attractive… for lunch, you can sit down to a thick steak, smothered in creamy sauce, and before you eat you can knock back a couple of martinis. Yep, fatty proteins and alcohol are the chief tenants of this diet, of course, your liver and kidneys will
  • The Apple Cider Vinegar Diet – Yes, the vinegar does have plenty of health properties, but it shouldn’t be the basis of any This sees dieters taking three teaspoons of it before they eat. If you take it that often, though, it’s likely going to irritate your throat because it’s highly acidic. Like the other diets mentioned, it does not address lifestyle habit changes, sustainable methods, or lasting results.
  • The Cookie Diet – No, you don’t get to eat chocolate chip cookies all day every day. You eat special cookies to control your appetite and then sit down to a small meal in the evening. It’s strict and you’re set 800 calories a day. Exercise is strictly forbidden. The exact opposite of what most experts recommend in a sustainable and healthy weight loss plan.
  • The Sleeping Beauty Diet – This one probably isn’t on your radar, but it’s been around since the days of Elvis (he was supposedly a fan). Just take drugs to knock yourself out for a few days and avoid eating altogether. There’s no need to explain all the wrong in this.
  • Diet Patches – While nicotine patches have been used to help smokers quit the habit and are FDA approved, new-fangled diet patches are not. They really are too good to be true.
  • The Energy Drink Diet – Believe it or not, a new mother was so desperate enough to drop the baby weight that she invented her very own diet. Rather than, eating healthy, she drank a dozen cans of Red Bull every day. It absolutely worked, she managed to drop almost 100 pounds – unfortunately, that weight loss was followed up by a heart attack, and she still suffers from anxiety.


Final Thoughts

Those were 28 things you should never do to lose weight, but remember the most effective way to lose weight is through regular exercise and eating a healthy, balanced, diet. Calories in/calories out are the scientifically proven formula for losing weight.

There is nothing on this planet that will help you lose weight and most important keep it off for the rest of your life as making profound habit changes and living a healthy life so don’t be tempted by drastic measures, life hacks or cheats that can compromise your overall health and well-being. You matter more than a few extra pounds.


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