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Brie Cadman: The Eleven Most Ridiculous Diets

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People will do almost anything to lose weight. While the most logical, sustainable means of doing so hasn’t really changed—eat less and exercise—every day it seems there are a host of new and outlandish methods to lose those love handles. Most of these ill-fated regimes will help you lose pounds, at least in the short term, but sometimes it’s at the expense of an organ or your sanity. Here are a few of my favorites:

11. Dr. Siegal’s® Cookie Diet™
Make no mistake, you’re not going to be eating Pepperidge Farm Milanos, or Oreos, or Mrs. Fields’ White Chocolate Macadamia Nut cookies on this diet. No, you’re going to be eating the concoctions of Dr. Siegal, a physician who specializes in hypothyroidism and obesity, and who also likes to sell weight loss books and snacks. However, his proprietary hunger-controlling cookies are a diet-deceiving indulgence; they look like bricks of fiber-coated oats sweetened with prunes. Although they may make you less hungry, the doctor also advises combining them with a restricted calorie diet, which, as we all know, is the main way you’re going to lose weight. I also like how he has trademarked the term “Let’s face it: hunger wrecks diets™.” Uh, so do cookies.

10. The Subway Diet
Ever since I worked in a building where the women’s restroom abutted a Subway sandwich shop, I have had an almost Pavlovian reaction to thought of eating one of their subs. It reminds me of the toilet, and makes me want to gag. So although I know many people like Subway, eating them twice a day for a year, like Jared Fogel, the guy on the Subway commercials who lost 245 pounds, seems inconceivable. And it seems like I could save a whole lot of money by just making my own sandwiches, and maybe going for a jog now and again.

9. The Cereal Diet
This is similar to the Subway diet in that you’re supposed to supplant two meals a day with the same thing—in this case cereal. From Special K to Raisin Bran, many cereal boxes now claim you can “lose six in two”— that is lose six pounds in two weeks. Of course, the premise is the same: when people have to measure the amount they are eating, they end up eating fewer calories, so they lose weight.

Add a Comment4 Comments

I went on the Atkins diet just to see what all the fuss was about and lose a couple of kilos. I only lasted 4 weeks. I found myself obsessed and thinking about food a lot, in a way I hadn't done before. I also found myself cooking different meals for my children and husband. It became too much work and was a bit anti-social.

I don't remember smelling bad. Maybe I did and just didn't know it! :)

May 17, 2009 - 1:12pm
HERWriter Guide

Thanks for this!!

Coming from Europe saw me on the Cambridge Diet which was 3 cups of soup per day and allowed one diet soda per day.

I did it for two weeks and it was impossible.

Each cup of soup had 110 calories for a total daily calorie count of 330! Per day! Was I insane? No, but I nearly ended up that way!

That diet is still around, modified now - some days you can eat 600 calories a day! Yay!

Other diets out right now advise 900 calories a day. None of this makes sense.

I eat a sensible diet with moderate treats and I exercise regularly.

I'd prefer not to exercise and pig out every day but I like being in shape and how it makes me feel both mentally and physically. I have no interest in being thin/skinny, but feeling trim and fit just feels great.

I know there are exceptions but most people can maintain a healthy weight with a healthy diet and regular exercise. For many people who claim they are "big boned" or have a slow metabolism - if they actually wrote down what they ate, they'd be surprised. Portions are out of control, we have no real idea about what feeling full really means (or even what actual hunger feels like) and I think many of us have no clue as to how much we really eat every day.

Writing it down is a great way to learn our eating habits and tendencies.

Another way to ensure weight gain is to outright ban foods like chocolate or cake or ice-cream. Or fruits and veggies! We'll obsess over those foods and gorge on them. Diets that contain exclusions are destined to fail. In fact, I'd hazard a guess that 99% of diets are destined to fail. You come off them - you gain weight. This is why the 'diet' industry is making billions of dollars every year. That and clever marketing.

Sensible eating and exercise - that sums it up for most of us, I think.

I have friends who did the Atkins Diet and said they smelled really bad. I'm not sure how or why this happens - anyone know if it's true?

May 16, 2009 - 4:42pm

I loved that article. I laughed out loud! We do get bombarded with some crazy diets. :) There is always a new 'miracle pill or diet' in our faces.

When I was at school (in the 80's, Australia) someone put out a 'Citrus Diet'. The acids in oranges, lemons etc were meant to dissolve fat. Ha! Glad that one didn't stick around. I remember my friends and I all starved ourselves for a couple of days before gorging on chips. :)

May 16, 2009 - 3:46pm
EmpowHER Guest

The Atkins diet only makes you feel like crap for about 15 days while your body adjusts to making energy from ketones instead of sugar. In other words you were detoxing from a sugar/carb addiction, which is as addictive as heroin.

If you read what Atkins really said instead of what everybody "knows" then you realize that the diet is largely vegetables, with good fats and proteins, berries and daily exercise. It is only highly restrictive in the initial stage, basically a paleolithic diet which is the way humans ate for most of history. Supplements like chromium, magnesium and fish oil can ease the transition during the induction phase. And while its long term effect is only a few pounds lighter than with a low calorie diet, it has a fantastic effect on cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar and blood insulin levels. Not a bad trade-off for starches and sugars.

May 15, 2009 - 10:51pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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