I was prompted to write this because I heard an advertisement proclaiming easy weight loss by simply putting drops on one’s tongue. This always irks me because I hate it that so many people lie about weight loss; taking advantage of the desperate (and unthinking). The only drops one can put in one’s mouth to cause rapid weight loss would be super glue (and I’m not saying to do that of course). Yet, ’tis the silly season; that yearly ritual where anyone with a megaphone can make false claims about how one can lose weight overnight, without adjusting any behaviors.

Why do so many buy into this time and time again?

Well, let’s start with some facts: According to surveys, the top New Year’s resolutions are: Number One, “spend more time with family and friends;” and number two is “get fit.” “Losing weight” rounds out the top three.

So, it’s obvious that it’s important to many people.

Paradoxically 80 percent of resolutions find their way into the trash heap by January 20, and 92 percent collapse before year’s end. Bottom line? Only eight percent of resolutions survive the year. Why the low success rate? The reality is that so many people are so desperate to shed that weight – and to do it quickly – that they put their brains into neutral, falling for schemes that they’d never accept if they slowed down long enough to think.

Putting on my consumer advocate hat, I therefore did some research to find out what to avoid, should you wish to be one of the successful eight percent instead of the sad 92. Webmd.com listed several diet types to avoid if you wish to successfully lose weight.

In the pole position are those that focus on limited foods or food groups. Examples include many low-carb diets or more extreme types such as the grapefruit diet or the cabbage soup diet. Besides, this begs the bigger question, “If I had to exist on cabbage only, why in heaven’s name would I want to?”

So-called “detox diets” come in second. According to Pamela Peeke, the chief medical correspondent for the Discovery Channel, “They are pure nonsense.” She adds, “Our body is well equipped… to rid itself of potential toxins and does an excellent job of cleansing itself without needing flushes or cleanses.”

One of my pet peeves picks up third place: “Miracle diets,” those with a special newly discovered ingredient, add-on, or supplement. Is it coincidence that these additives are so many times sold by the author who just happens to be the one who discovered it? I think not. There is neither miracle nor magic involved in losing weight; sorry, I really wish there was. The bottom line is if you’re trying to shrink your bottom, it takes more than some enhancement to make pounds “magically” disappear.

Fasting or very low calorie diets are next. Avoiding all food might be appropriate for cultural or religious reasons but not for shedding pounds. Beyond the obvious issue that it’s unsustainable, starvation techniques indiscriminately shed not only fat, but also a decent amount of much needed fluids and muscle tissue.

Finally, simple good advice sums it all up. Stay away from diets that “sound too good to be true.” We’ve heard the claims ad nausea: “The weight loss solution the diet industry doesn’t want you to know about,” or “Don’t change what you eat while losing a pound a day!” People offering to also sell you the Brooklyn Bridge usually promote such diets.

In summation, any program promising more than a pound or so a week weight loss is probably a fraud, certainly unsustainable, and will most likely only lighten your wallet.


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