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8 Dangerous Weight Loss Methods That Could Destroy Your Health

When it comes down to it, weight loss is a mixture of desire and habit-forming changes. Only when you shift your behavior can you gradually earn the results you’ve always wanted. The problem with healthy weight loss, for many, is that long-term results are often slower to achieve than expected. This can prompt a dangerous search for quicker ways to shed pounds — which can either end in weight regain, or serious harm.

Disaster can strike when you take weight loss to the extreme. Whether you’re filling your body with things that don’t belong there or depriving yourself of the nutrients necessary for survival, the quickest way to lose weight is never the healthiest. Avoid these dangerous tactics to protect your body from long-term damage and distress, and adopt alternatives that take time — but end in weight loss that lasts.

1. Smoking

Smoking is not a smart weight loss method.

Smoking is not a smart weight loss method. You might lose weight. You might also have a stroke. | iStock.com/Man pouring coffee

It’s hard to say exactly why smoking sometimes fends off weight gain. Cigarettes once contained appetite suppressants, says Livestrong.com, though it’s unlikely this is still the case. Smoking could replace extra calories you might consume when you’re bored or stressed as well. Though smokers tend to weigh less on average than non-smokers, it’s not a guaranteed side effect. Its other risks are much more likely, however.

Smoking to lose weight isn’t a new fad. The difference between now and 50 years ago is that we’re aware of the long-term consequences. Yet according to the CDC, smoking still causes more deaths annually than HIV, illegal drugs, alcohol, motor vehicle injuries, and firearms combined. It also significantly increases your risk for heart disease, stroke, and cancer. The risks associated with smoking far outweigh the potential weight loss benefits. Even if you do lose weight — is it really worth it?

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