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Unhealthy Ways to Lose Weight, Plus Safer Alternatives

Apr 09, 2024
Unhealthy Ways to Lose Weight, Plus Safer Alternatives
Are you trying to lose weight? Skip these unhealthy ways of dieting and focus on these safe alternatives.

With more than two-thirds of Americans being overweight or obese, it’s not surprising to learn that 45 million adults go on a diet every year. You probably won’t be surprised, either, to learn that most diets fail. 

One reason that most diets fail is that people use unhealthy and unsustainable strategies to lose weight. At M. Zafar, MD, SC, which serves Illinois statewide by telehealth with offices in Streator and Flanagan, board-certified physician Muhammad Zafar, MD, offers a personalized, medically-supervised weight management program that includes healthy eating and exercise plans, innovative weight loss medications, and other proven weight loss strategies to help you reach your health and weight goals. 

Here, Dr. Zafar shares common unhealthy weight loss plans and why they don’t work in the long run. 

Skipping meals

While cutting down on calories does help with weight loss, skipping meals is not the best way to cut down. First, it can leave you hungry and low on energy, making you more likely to overeat or eat unhealthily at your next meal. Also, skipping a meal can deprive you of essential nutrients your body needs and slow your metabolism, making losing weight difficult.

Extreme calorie deprivation

In the same way skipping a meal can slow your metabolism and deprive your body of needed nutrients, diets that call for extremely low-calorie intake can do the same. You may initially lose weight with a diet that calls for extreme calorie cutting, but you’ll also lose muscle, which burns fat.

Obsessing over the scale

When you’re on a diet, watching the scale is normal. But obsessing over the number every day is not healthy. Everyone’s weight fluctuates depending on how much food is still undigested in your system, how much water you’re retaining due to sodium in your diet, and other factors. 

Instead of obsessing over the number on the scale, note your energy level, how well you fit into your clothes, and other numbers such as cholesterol and blood pressure. 


Bulimia is an eating disorder characterized by binge eating followed by purging, either through vomiting or laxatives. Health problems associated with purging go way beyond trouble keeping weight off. They include heart issues, dental problems, stomach ruptures, and depression.

Safer ways to lose weight

The safest way to lose weight is to lose it gradually with healthy foods and exercise, which can not only help you slim down but improve your cardiovascular health as well. 

At M. Zafar, MD, SC, we offer a supervised weight loss program that includes a personalized healthy diet and exercise plan. But, what makes our weight loss program so effective for weight loss — and weight loss maintenance — is our expert guidance and an option to use effective and innovative weight loss medication.

If you’re ready to stop unhealthy weight loss methods and start on a healthy journey to a thinner you, contact M. Zafar, MD, SC, to learn about our medical weight loss services.