The women who have tried these bizarre diets claim they’ve found a solution to losing weight without dieting or exercise. But, can you stomach these extreme dieting approaches, and do any of them last long term?
THE FEEDING TUBE DIET
Feeding tubes were once considered a hospital-only staple. A long, thin tube is placed in your nose, ported to your stomach, and then hooked up to a small pump that provides a continuous drip of protein-fat liquid. Who wouldn’t lose weight? That said, this should not be considered a “diet.” Complications can include dehydration, constipation, erosions and kidneys stones. Once the feeding tube is removed after 10 days, experts say you can expect to gain all the weight back.
No, this isn’t a new Halloween gimmick or a fancy new spa treatment. Women actually pay to have themselves wrapped from head to toe like a mummy for an hour or two. Once unwrapped, they mysteriously lost inches off their bodies– only to gain it back afterwards. This was due to the “Spanx” effect, where one appears smaller due to the constriction but hasn’t actually lost any physical weight.
As one woman from Redwood City, CA learned, “I followed the aftercare instructions and measured myself over the course of the next few days, only to find that my measurements went back to exactly what they were before the wrap. I would consider this a total waste of money.”
EAR STAPLING / EAR ACUPUNCTURE
While having elective surgery to pin back your ears may give you a thinner looking face, that isn’t what we’re talking about here. In this case, surgical staples are placed in the inner cartilage of your ear for several weeks. Considered by many extreme dieters as a type of “ear acupuncture,” the staples supposedly suppress appetite. This controversial dieting method has no evidence to support its claims, but about 20% of people who have it done do contract an infection.
THE TAPEWORM DIET
If you’re reading this while eating, you may want to put down your lunch.
By far the most Fear Factor-inspired diet on this list is the tapeworm diet. Tapeworms are parasites that stay alive after you swallow them, feeding off food in your digestive tract so your body doesn’t consume calories from food you’ve swallowed. It’s not just extreme, it’s incredibly unhealthy. The worms swallow everything, including minerals and vitamins your body needs to survive. Oh, and you have worms living in your intestines. They’re incredibly difficult to get out once inside, often times requiring medical intervention.
TONGUE PATCH SURGERY
Along the same thinking as ear stapling, except a “patch” is surgically attached to your tongue, forcing you to consume a liquid-only diet. No chewing or swallowing for you. Besides the threat of choking, you also risk infection. As one doctor said, “”I’d say the tongue patch is a daily reminder of how just because your physician has an MD behind their name, it doesn’t mean they’re bright.”
THE BEST DIET OF ALL
To be clear, there are many dietary supplements on the market that have proven beneficial, you just need to be smart when selecting them. Likewise, experts still agree that following a sensible eating plan, limit processed foods, and eating more fruits and vegetables is the best way to lose weight and keep it off. In combination with limiting your calorie intake, be sure to get at least an hour of exercise every day. Once at a stable weight, you can maintain this with 30 minutes of exercise daily. While following a clean nutrition plan and working up a daily sweat isn’t the cure all for everyone, it is the healthiest place to start. Consult with your doctor before undergoing any change to your diet or exercise plan.