Ignore these wellness trends to lose less weight from your wallet

At YourLifeChoices, we aim to bring you the best innovations in health and science. It means we are exposed to a lot of cutting-edge ideas. But sometimes, it reveals popular fads that are downright daft.

So, don’t play in traffic, give cigarettes a miss and cut down on the chainsaw juggling. But don’t stress out if you missed out on the following:

Waist Trainers
Millennium mum’s blog scarymommy.com nailed this: “This isn’t a fitness trend; it’s a corset. There’s a reason it went out of style in the first place – it’s called organ strangulation.”

Fancy tea
Teatoxing, the practice of adding additives to tea to “wash the toxins” out of your body and – you guessed it – help you lose weight, is another one of those fads that sounds credible and too good to be true at the same time. It is the latter.

“Umm, having diarrhoea is not a healthy way to lose weight. Losing water ain’t the same thing as losing fat,” writes Bruce Y. Lee of Forbes.

“The only magic in these weight-loss miracles is how they will downsize your wallet,” adds huffpost.com.

Fancy Water
Twenty years ago, we marvelled at people paying for the stuff that comes out of taps for free. In the past decade, bottled water has claimed that infusions of various oils and fruits make them magical weight-loss elixirs.

“Expensive. Stupid. Expensive. Nutritionally unnecessary … Can we please just accept water for what it is? Water. In case you didn’t know, water is healthy on its own – you don’t need to supe it up. It’s not a Honda Civic.” – scarymommy.com

Dr John Magana Morton, division chief of bariatric and minimally invasive surgery at Yale Medicine, told eatthis.com that many popular fasting methods are “glorified versions of starvation”. He says the best diet is one you can stick to.

“Fasting for extending periods of time can be hazardous, leading to dehydration, electrolyte and vitamin deficiencies, alertness and muscle loss,” he says. It’s unsustainable, leads to bad eating habits and micronutrient deficiency.

But you might give it a go, because …

… Inexpert wellness and fitness influencers are a seemingly irresistible scourge
Bruce Y. Lee despairs at so many of us getting wellness advice from completely unqualified sources.

“If you have an electrical problem, would you contact an MMA wrestler? If you want someone to defend you in a legal case, would you choose a circus clown? Do you need someone to fix your smartphone? Why not call an actor? “

You get the idea. He thinks you should reconsider taking health advice from a reality television star or a random person on Facebook. Stick with trained medical professionals.

On the other hand, why wouldn’t you try a handstand on horseback?

Horse yoga and other weird yogas
Open-minded Ella Dove from the video series What the Wellness walked away from doing downward dogs on a mare feeling “totally connected and strong”.

At least with goat yoga, the poor animals just walked hoping for a pat.

But what about 90-minute therapy sessions with cows at a farm in New York. Que? The higher body temperatures of cattle help us feel “warmer, calmer and more relaxed”, apparently.


HuffPost grants that hanging out with cute animals is proven to bring health benefits, but “distractions like animals during yoga goes against the point of mindfulness-based practices”.

Humble, useful yoga is beset on all sides by unnecessary additions. Wine, beer and pot yoga, anyone? Corporate laughter yoga? (That’s prolonged voluntary laughter, in case you were wondering.)

Maybe you just didn’t want to contort in the first place.

Colonics and enemas
Simply put, this is inserting a tube into your rectum and then pumping fluid into your colon to supposedly flush out toxins, helping with bloating, constipation and weight loss. Celebrities like Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow endorsed it.

Colonics and enemas are unnecessary and potentially dangerous.

“Uh, your colon is not a bathtub or kitchen sink. You can’t just wash it out periodically without consequences,” writes Mr Lee.

“Your liver, kidney, stool and urine naturally remove toxins and waste from your body, and the colon itself is a very dynamic, hardworking organ that does its job naturally,” says Dr. Clare Morrison, a general practitioner and nutrition expert.

Jade eggs and vaginal steaming
While we’re at that end of the body, Dr John Chuback wants us to know that putting a jade egg in a vagina is the “stupidest and most potentially dangerous” health advice he’d heard in years.

“It was an absurd and irresponsible suggestion and I strongly advise that no-one ever engage in this practice for any reason.”

Sitting your genitals above steam like it they’re broccoli is also not advised.

 “Vaginal skin is delicate, sensitive, and easily traumatised,” writes Dr Megan Sneed. “The vagina is perfect the way it is.”

Mr Lee noted: “The 2010s have shown that if you have an orifice, someone will find it and tell you to put something in it.”

Ms Paltrow’s Goop website removed the page claiming health benefits resulted from Jade Egg insertions. That one got them involved in legal proceedings.

Honourable mentions
These made our eyes roll: the penis facial; appetite suppressant lollipops; and an oldie but a goodie – eating soap to lose weight.

The last one listed is from 1760, proving we have always been willing to embrace a dubious shortcut to look and feel better.

What’s the craziest wellness fad you’ve tried? What’s the strangest health therapy that’s worked for you?

Read more: Nine ways to beat a headache without drugs

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Written by Will Brodie