Who among us is entirely satisfied with their appearance? Chris Hemsworth might look secure in the condition of his abs, but you know he’d love them to be sharper and more defined, and that’s when he’s in Thor condition — off-season Hemsworth is even more self-conscious. In the end, we all look upon others with envy and wish that we could look better (and be fitter, sure).
Let’s say you’re in that boat of shame, sailing through the ocean of chunkiness and hoping to one day reach the land of physical perfection. You can make progress, certainly… but how? By taking your exercise routine to the next level? Lifting heavier things? Learning to do backflips? You might be quick as a whippet, but you can’t outrun the fork, and it will slip calorific food down your gullet if you’re not careful. The solution, in the end, is dietary.
Look for a diet plan and you’ll find thousands. Everyone has some crackpot scheme about how to recalibrate your body, focus your chi and do something useful with your chakra. You might not fall for those, but there’s still a pretty good chance that you’ll fall for some suggestions that are 100% guaranteed to fail (allow some artistic license for that percentage). Here are four:
Fasting for days
It’s a familiar scenario: you’ve fallen off the wagon by indulging in your favourite foods, and now you’re sitting there with a gut full of food and shame (they can occupy the same space because shame is an abstract concept). As the self-loathing washes over you, you vow to take drastic action by fasting for days. It’s the best way to make up for what you’ve done, right?
And then you give it a try. Oh. You felt overly full when you made the commitment, but half a day goes by and you start feeling peckish. The hours tick away and the desire to eat only gets stronger. In all likelihood, you cave, and you cave hard. Maybe you indulge too much again and restart the cycle, only beset with even more shame than before.
Ah, but what if you don’t fail? What if you push through the hunger and you actually go days without eating anything? You’ll lose weight, sure, and your hunger level will go down — except that won’t last, because the moment you start to eat again, you’ll remember how much you enjoy eating, and you’ll feel that you’ve earned some indulgence. Off the wagon you go, and with even worse results.
Cleansing with juice
The entire idea of ‘cleansing’ is generally silly. It’s at its worst when there’s talk of eliminating toxins from the body (the kidneys already do that), but it’s still bad when the idea is drinking large quantities of fruit and vegetable juices to somehow cleanse your system. Juices won’t heal your injuries and give you freakish strength or resilience. They won’t make you happy.
Instead, ‘cleansing’ with juice will achieve two things: giving you a sugar rush from the fruits, and making it abundantly clear that some vegetable flavours can’t be adequately masked. It won’t dampen your appetite for your favourite foods, so you’ll just end up eating what you’d normally eat anyway. The only difference is that you’ll feel a little sick from all the juice.
Raising the volume
Instead of eating small things that contain a lot of calories, you should eat big things that contain few calories. It’s a simple idea. Spend a couple of minutes stuffing your face with food and you’ll start to feel full: if it doesn’t really matter what you stuff your face with, then why not go with something low in calories so it doesn’t amount to much?
Strawberries are low in calories relative to their weight. So are various other fruits. If you want something savoury, try popcorn with low seasoning, or green vegetables. You can eat as much as you want and not get too many calories (you could even try konjac noodles, though you might not like them and they do tend to smell fishy).
So why is this guaranteed to fail? Because your stomach stretches the more you eat, and you won’t be able to eat nothing but low-calorie foods every day. Soon enough you’ll need to eat something more calorific, and your expanded stomach will produce an expanded appetite that will see you eat far too much and venture directly back to square one.
Using a tapeworm
People make bad decisions all the time, and terrible decisions almost as frequently, but what could be negative about the notion of swallowing an egg in the hope that it will hatch into a worm that will attach itself to your intestines and consume some of the calories you ingest? Seems like a perfectly reasonable plan with no possible downsides.
This is a genuine thing (which is simultaneously gross and terrifying): the tapeworm diet works by swallowing a pill with a tapeworm egg inside. When the tapeworm eventually hatches and grows, it apparently ‘eats whatever you’re eating’ (again, gross) hence the weight loss.
If that’s the conclusion you’re leaning towards, then you’re probably in a lot of danger from yourself and should avoid yourself whenever possible. Tapeworms are terrible for you. Having a living creature rooting around in your digestive system isn’t a recipe for good gut health, and there’s every chance that having a tapeworm will end up making you ill.
Even if it doesn’t, what do you think you’ll do with the knowledge that some of the calories you’re consuming are being taken by a tapeworm? Yes, you’ll end up eating more just because you feel you can, meaning you’ll probably end up with no clear benefit to offset that wild risk. In conclusion, don’t allow a tapeworm to reside inside your stomach. That’s all.
Want to turn your diet around? Consume less sugar, limit your carb intake, eat more of those ‘healthy’ things you try to avoid, and get more exercise. If it doesn’t help, increase your effort until it does. Easy? No. Simple? Yes.