The Worst Ways to Lose Weight of All Time

Jun 12, 2013 at 10:09 AM ET

We get it. You want to slim down, get in shape, look great. We don’t need to hear your reasons, frankly. We didn’t listen when New Jersey governor Chris Christie explained recently that he’d undergone bariatric surgery to iron out a bit of the girth in his stomach region (like Al Roker! Like Carney Wilson!), so don’t take it personally.

But we don’t want you to hurt yourself, either. Some weight-loss methods are better than others. Here are a few you might want to avoid…

The tongue patch

It’s true: Eating less will probably help you lose weight. But how to control yourself in a world of cronuts and deep-fried pickles? Make it so physically painfully to eat, you’d simply rather starve instead.

Reports the UK’s Daily Mail: “A plastic patch which is sewn onto the tongue and makes it very difficult to eat is the latest in extreme weight-loss methods. The ‘miracle’ patch, which is secured to the tongue with six stitches, makes consuming solid food so painful that users are forced to resort to a liquid-only diet.”

You get one guess about where this diet was “invented” four years ago. (Hint: Beverly Hills, California.)

Chewing everything 32 times


Horace Fletcher may be the ultimate proof that an Ivy League pedigree (he studied at Dartmouth and worked at Yale) does not mean you have a fully-functioning brain. An early 20th century researcher known as “The Great Masticator,” Fletcher thought that you would lose weight if you just chewed a piece of food 32 times and then spit it out, having already absorbed all its nutrients.

The only problem with this diet is that it does not work. Time reported on a man’s efforts in the late 1920s to lose weight via Fletcherism: “His weight declined 30 pounds. His muscular endurance sank far down, as did his basal metabolism, and his efficiency upon the typewriter. His blood pressure, pulse, temperature, sleeping time, and ability in mental multiplication remained unchanged by Fletcherism. The only beneficial effect he found in Fletcherism was a marked increase in his ability to solve chess problems.”

Fletcher’s New York Times obituary from 1919 reported that Fletcher once subsisted for 58 days only on potatoes. It is not clear why.

Having a lot of sex

Don’t get too excited–and for the love of God, don’t use this in a bar. But, yes, there is something called the “sex diet.” It’s what you think it is.Kim_Kardashian_portrait_2009

Reports WebMD:

No doubt about it, “sex is good exercise,” says Laura Berman, PhD, LCSW, a clinical assistant professor of obstetrics-gynecology and psychiatry at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University in Chicago, and director of the Berman Center. “It gets your heart rate up even if you are not having extremely acrobatic sex,” she tells WebMD.

“Sex is a form of exercise especially if you incorporate different positions,” she says. “If you move around a little bit and flex your muscles, it can be a very good exercise,” she says.

Recent research shows that exercise in short bursts over the course of the day can be as effective as 30 to 40 minutes in a row. “You could use sex as 15 to 20 minutes of your exercise routine and then do something else at a different point of the day.”

And, according to Glamour, Kim Kardashian lost seven pounds in seven days by having lots of sex.

Ingesting arsenic

If you remember anything from your high school chemistry class, perhaps it’s that arsenic is a poison. As such, it would not appear to be a very good candidate for weight loss–unless you wanted to lose all of your weight, forever.

Well, you’d be wrong.

People did in fact try to lose weight by ingesting arsenic in the 19th century, before its dangers were fully known. As one doctor told the BBC, “It was advertised as speeding up the metabolism, much like amphetamines do.” He continued by saying, “Charlatans set themselves up as experts with diets to promote and products to sell. Plenty of people bought into these ‘miracle cures’.” Luckily, Americans are never fooled by charlatans.


Go to the gym or something instead.

Eating healthfully and staying active

This one is totally insane. First, you moderate your intake of – get a load a this! – fats and carbohydrates, while eating plenty of protein, along with fresh fruits and vegetables. Freaked out yet? Well, you should be, because there’s a second part to this madness: staying active by exercising on a daily basis and not sitting too long in one place.


Obviously, this method is totally unproven and probably dangerous. You should probably just go ahead and get that tongue patch.