Don't Fall for These 5 Weight-Loss Gimmicks
The desire to lose weight is a common goal and one that consistently pops up on lists of New Year's resolutions. If you commit to trimming the fat, no doubt you want to run from gimmicks that drain your money and your energy. Just remember that at the end of the day nothing beats eating right and moving more (and that means daily) as the path to losing weight. There are scads of weight-loss strategies for the plucking, but are some too good to be true? Here are a few gimmicks to avoid on your slim-down journey:
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Creams.It sounds ridiculous, but self-proclaimed weight loss and "trimming" creams actually exist. For just a few dollars you get to rub on the cream, sit back, and watch your mid-section (or wherever) start to shrink. Really? Experts stress that any weight-loss strategy that promises results without exercise and healthy nutrition is most definitely a gimmick. Indeed, many online reviews of these products report that effects were noticeable only when the cream was augmented by exercise.
Shakes.There are commercially-produced shakes that can help you lose weight. But if there are less than 10 grams of protein in each serving -- the minimum needed to build muscle mass -- the lean muscle you worked so hard to develop by working out will wind up eating itself. You may lose weight quickly, but it won't be the type of weight you want to shed.
Check the ingredients list carefully to avoid shakes that are little more than weight-loss gimmicks. Many dieters turn to shakes as a snack or meal replacement, so they should be nutritious. Choose a brand that's low in carbs and sugar, loaded with vitamins, and contains enough fiber to maintain a healthy digestive tract. Spurn anything that contains trans-fats or saturated fats.
7-Minute Workouts.There is no question that losing weight takes time that you don't always have, which makes working out for a mere seven minutes particularly appealing. But experts insist that just isn't enough. While a small amount of exercise is better than veging out all day, research shows that a 7-minute workout should be completed at least three times (for a total of 21 minutes or more) to really make a difference. You might not lose any money with this weight-loss gimmick (there is a free app), but those seven minutes are just a down payment on the real investment.
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Fad diets.Eating healthy is a critical component of any weight-reduction plan, and that means a balanced diet full of whole, minimally processed foods. No-carb diets, for example, shed water weight for a quick fix. But carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, whole grains, and quinoa belong in a well-rounded diet and are best consumed after a workout when your body can process them efficiently, notes fitness expert Kami Blakeman. Diets that eliminate any key source of nutrition -- vegetables, protein, fruit, or carbs -- generally fall into the gimmick category and are unlikely to deliver healthy outcomes. If a diet sounds too good to be true (an ice cream-only diet, say), it probably is. Blakeman also recommends food products that contain no more than 10 ingredients, a sign of minimal processing. As she says, "Pay the farmer now or the doctor later."
Diet Pills.Over-the-counter diet pills are another weight-loss gimmick that drains your wallet and could damage your health. You may drop pounds with diet pills, but ongoing use, and therefore expense, is necessary to keep the weight off. Moreover, experts question the pills' effectiveness, are leery of the ingredients, and caution about unpleasant side effects. Only a few over-the-counter dietary supplements have earned approval by the Food and Drug Administration and some have been recalled. In short, diet pills are no substitute for those all-important lifestyle changes.