Weight loss isn’t easy and there are no quick fixes.
The formula might be simple – take in fewer calories than you use, and you will lose weight, but this requires discipline both in the kitchen and in the gym and so it’s tempting to look for an easier way.
Here we explore common weight loss gimmicks, including detoxes, diet pills and crash diets and explain why simply eating less and moving more is way more effective.
The truth about weight loss
With so much conflicting information out there on weight loss, it’s hard to cut through the noise and avoid the latest fads.
Remember that the only sustainable way to lose weight is eating fewer calories and doing more exercise, whether that’s lifting weights, hitting the treadmill or taking the dog for a walk.
The quick fixes that we explore below might help you drop weight in the short term but the only way to maintain your optimum weight is by incorporating eating healthily and staying active into your daily lifestyle.
There are lots of ways to get started on your healthy weight loss journey.
The detox weight loss myth
When it comes to weight loss, we hear lots about the dreaded, ‘detox.’
From cucumber juices to cabbage soup and the detox teas promoted by celebrities on Instagram, you could be forgiven for thinking that detox is the answer to losing pounds fast in a healthy way.
Touted as a full cleanse for your body, the very idea of flushing your body of toxins and impurities is often nothing more than a scam.
Depending on the detox product that you chose, it’s also potentially dangerous.
“A bogus treatment that allegedly detoxifies your body of toxins,”
Speaking to the Guardian, Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University, said:
“Let’s be clear,” “there are two types of detox: one is respectable and the other isn’t.”
The respectable one, he says, is the medical treatment of people with life-threatening drug addictions.
“The other is the word being hijacked by entrepreneurs, quacks and charlatans to sell a bogus treatment that allegedly detoxifies your body of toxins you’re supposed to have accumulated.”
If toxins did build up in a way your body couldn’t excrete, he says, you’d likely be dead or in need of serious medical intervention.
“The healthy body has kidneys, a liver, skin, even lungs that are detoxifying as we speak,” he says.
“There is no known way – certainly not through detox treatments – to make something that works perfectly well in a healthy body work better.”
Detox tea for weight loss
Professor Stephen Powis argues that platforms like Instagram and Facebook, have a responsibility when it comes to protecting the wellbeing of its younger users and that ads for products such as detox teas and diet pills can have a damaging effect.
Despite being advertised as natural products, many contain senna, which is a laxative made from the leaves and fruit of the senna plant.
In January, former The Only Way Is Essex star Lucy Mecklenburgh urged her followers to steer clear of such teas, claiming that most of them “will just make you go to the toilet”.
Diet pills for weight loss
Another quick fix for weight loss that is a gimmick at best and dangerous at worst, diet pills should be avoided altogether.
They typically work by suppressing your appetite, which is a recipe for disaster and can throw off your bodys’ ability to regulate itself.
The Kenzai website explains how the pills work:
“The majority of diet pills fall into this category. By activating certain hormones, a substance can kick-start your body’s sympathetic response (fight-or-flight) system.
“When your body is in the hyper-alert, ready-for-action state, your appetite disappears. This is very useful for dealing with a one-off emergency, but when you keep your body in this state day after day, you start to feel pretty horrible.”
Common complaints are insomnia and jitteriness, along with hypertension as the heart pumps in an emergency like conditions all day. Even more serious complaints include depression, dementia, stroke and heart attack.
Other potential side effects from diet pills include irregular heartbeat, upset stomach, loose stools, and insomnia.
Crash diets for dropping pounds
If you want to lose weight, then a super restricted diet will help you lose weight – in the short term.
You will, however, burn off muscle and not fat, at the same time starving your body of essential nutrients – slowing your metabolism right down.
Opt for a sustainable diet plan to watch the weigh reduce gradually and chose a plan that you will stick to – it will work far better in the long run, we promise.