15. 7. 2021

English Version | How to lose 10 pounds in 10 minutes

by Sara Andrade


Ten pounds of common sense, that is. Almost as absurd as embarking on some diets is not questioning how ridiculous they are. Have you had your daily dose of nonsense? Bon appétit.

It's only natural that the arrival of  warmer weather and the cooler, shorter and revealing wardrobe makes us question our silhouette. And it's just as valid to be satisfied with it – whatever the standards and social pressures – as it is to want to lose weight, if you feel that's what you need for a healthier life. And here, when it comes to losing weight, it doesn't necessarily mean being healthier, and it certainly doesn't mean going into one of those yo-yo diets – that is, diets that assure you can say goodbye to the extra pounds in no time, but which are not sustainable afterwards, over time, neither in practicality nor in results. The following, we believe, are too absurd to be put into practice, however, believing that high temperatures can cloud the judgment of even the most rational people, we have asked a voice of reason for the following meal to be accompanied by an extra dose of discernment.

Nutritionist Iara Rodrigues, who deals with those looking for a healthier diet on a daily basis, begins by justifying the fallibility of poorly balanced diets, which can even manifest themselves positively on the scale, but not on your health: “There is a very big difference between losing weight and getting thinner”, she distinguishes. "Losing weight implies that the person is committed to their health, well-being, their diet, a more balanced lifestyle, that they eat a diet that is consistent in quality and quantity, that there is physical exercise, that there is good hydration and this makes the body naturally do what it wants, which is to ingest less energy than it needs and, therefore, naturally lose weight", that is, you lose fat, which is what's intended, the expert alerts. “When we start going on crazy diets”, she continues, “that skip several nutritional principles, which can even jeopardize the supply of some nutrients, we get thinner instead of losing weight/fat: we dehydrate, lose nutrients, end up not getting what is necessary… and that does not mean that the scales won't show this loss, it will happen, but later on, when the summer fever ends, what happens is that these kilos are recovered much more quickly and come back as fat."

The expert doesn't condemn being more strict, trying a more restrictive diet for a short period of time, as long as it is an exception to the rule and in favor of a boost in motivation that the quick effect can trigger, but she warns that anything that cuts completely with a varied diet is a bandage without a balanced continuation and, above all, it is a health hazard when done consistently. No, drinking sap on weekdays so you can binge on hamburgers on Saturday and pizza on Sunday is not a sustainable diet. No, surviving on chocolate and wine alone doesn't bring everything your body needs, no matter how much your heart wants to believe it or no matter how much you say that's how Adele lost weight (specially because that's not how Adele lost weight ). “[The absurd part of diets] has to do with the supply of nutrients. Above all, you need to think always that when we lose weight, we are losing fluids, and understandably, we are losing lean mass, which is the buzzword for muscles, water, etc. But the muscles are not just in your legs and arms: the heart is a muscle, that's why it beats… our brain is a muscle.” When we go on diets that feed the ego but not the muscles, health issues arise, those that take the pounds off, but also your well-being, because “we are losing pounds of muscle, which is something that is not exclusive to the muscles of the arms and legs, it's also the heart muscle, it's a little bit of brain, it's a little bit of everything that makes us feel good. Therefore, our physiology depends on good nutrition. If we are what we eat, it also has to do with the whole situation of a healthy and balanced diet. We can perfectly well rely on a detox to give the boost, to give the push, but not make it the system. […] We have to be strict, we have to be organised, we have to plan our meals as much as possible in order to make our diet healthier and more balanced every day. Of course there are better days and worse days, but if there is consistency, it means that on the weekend or on a specific day or another, one can allow oneself to eat things one likes, a chocolate, a dessert, a snack.” And, above all, it's not worth comparing your evolution with that of others, even if the regime is comparable: “The genre itself already means that there are differences in composition – they [men] are much more robust, have much more lean muscle mass than we do, therefore, typically have a faster metabolism than ours; age group, sedentary lifestyle or [the fact that] a person is more active will also dictate this difference; there are many nuances – we can be the same height and age and have very different composition, because my physical activity, lifestyle and even my own genetics are different from yours. So it can't be compared at all. Because there are characteristics, namely metabolic and physiological, that we do not control, which in fact have a genetic and an environmental component. So there are things that work for me that don't work for others; and more – there are things that work for years and then stop working, simply because our mindset, or even our body, has changed.”

What's relevant knowing before going on any diet? “First, I'd replace the word diet with an eating plan. More of a lifestyle in the daily adoption of healthy options”, advocates the nutritionist. “If you have a healthy diet, it's no longer a diet, it's a way of life, it's mine, yours, normal. I cannot dissociate my habits from myself. It's funny because even when I binge, my own body quickly demands my own normality. I also infulge myself, but I have a limit, because this is not my normalcy. The best diet is to omit the word diet and assume that this is a way of life. It is a diet that is continued over time, based on good principles, and that will always work because we are in balance, because there is a physiological homeostasis and that's why we will obviously be able to maintain the extra weight off and if, by chance, the person wants to lose more, be a little more strict, meaning, being more rigorous in the quantities, maintaining the quality.” And that means all food groups: “Fats [good ones, such as avocados and nuts], carbs and proteins, always trying to make fruit and vegetables a much larger slice than the others, to compensate for the lack of vitamins, minerals, hydration that is needed… And try to ensure that your diet is varied, also adapted to the season – if there is a variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the year, why not take advantage of that? Even because nature is very wise in the way it makes the ingredients available to us; water, always essential, also infusions, and physical exercise. These are the guidelines. And of course, in addition to variety, trying to ensure that the quantities are in fact adequate for our lifestyle, for our activity and thinking that the body is our life and our home and it is fed every day and not just in the summer”, she concludes. It is also important to keep in mind that there are diets that seem to go out of the standard we are used to, but that does not make them absurd, so it is always important to check it with a nutritionist. Then there are others who don't need expert opinion to know that they are rich when it comes to lacking common sense. Some are below (thank you, Internet) andare hard to digest.

The Air Diet

We need air to live and, it seems, nothing else at all, at least on this diet, which involves (if you haven't already guessed) eating air. But it's not enough to open and close your mouth, "check, please": this diet involves cooking, serving and pretending to eat, in order to let the aroma of the meal satisfy you. The logic (?) behind it is that the gastronomic perfume triggers your mind into thinking that you actually ate. What do we think about this diet? That it wastes food and, above all, your health. Air is what's running through the minds of anyone who might consider this option a sustainable food plan.

The Prayer Diet

The premise is simple: pray every day to lose weight – because everyone knows that God helps those who need it most. That's why He can't waste time on you and these absurd requests for miracles. This diet doesn't work if you just rely on the Virgin Mary and don't follow a consistent eating plan. Unless, of course, you subconsciously feel it's a sin not to help the Lord in this arduous task of helping you achieve your dream figure and give a little earthly help in making the right food choices. If so, bless you, my child.

The Sap Diet

The name is popular, perhaps more in olden times than now, but its fallibility is great because it is not bearable as a long term option: the plan is to drink salt water in the morning and then spend the day on sap, that is, a liquid mixture of lime or lemon, sap syrup, cayenne pepper and water, and finish off at night with a laxative tea. Obviously, one will only be able to withstand such a castrating regime for a very short period of time, with serious consequences in terms of cognitive function and energy. This is a classic case mirroring the difference between losing health and losing weight/fat.

The Tapeworm Diet

Apparently, in the crazy 1920s, you could buy these diet pills at any American pharmacy – a small pill that contained a tapeworm. The said bug would lodge in your stomach, consuming the calories from your food and, consequently, causing you to lose weight – and all your health, of course. Not only because of the risks associated with this kind of anorexia, but also those associated with ingesting the insect itself – alive. It is clear that, at the time, little was said about veganism.

The Ice Cream Diet

It's the most appetizing diet you'll read here. It's also one of the silliest and tackles exactly on the calories versus nutrients point that the nutritionist was referring to: the idea behind this regimen is to survive only on ice cream – a specific, low-calorie one. The reasoning behind it is calorie control, though not nutrients. And living only on the ingredients listed on the label of an ice cream seems to us, without needing the opinion of a nutrition expert, a diet deficient in health.

The Werewolf Diet

No, it's not thinking what would a werewolf eat, but rather eating according to the cycles of the moon. For example: on a full moon, one fasts for 24 hours and only drinks water and juices. In other lunar phases, you cannot eat after six in the afternoon. Like the werewolf, there are no scientific facts to support its validity.

The Plugged Nose Diet

That's exactly it: putting a peg in your nose so you don't smell the aroma and thus lose your appetite. As your taste buds are affected, your pleasure in eating decreases and that means you'll only eat as long as (and when) you have an appetite, not for gluttony purposes. But let's face it: are you really going to eat with a nose plug on your next date or at a family dinner?

The Vision Diet

Vision because you needed to have it to imagine the contours of this diet: basically, this diet translates into enjoying meals wearing glasses with blue lenses, because it is said that this tone is an appetite suppressant and when you see the food in the cold hue, it becomes less appetizing – even those in shades of yellow and red (think French fries, ketchup, pizza, lasagna…) that make your mouth water. The theory is that with blue lenses, you will have less gluttony and therefore avoid some foods, or eat less. In medical terms, it does not suppress any food group (bonus point); in terms of style, it seems like a risk to us. In terms of effectiveness, we have doubts about its sustainability.

The Cotton Diet

If this isn't a description of stupidity, we don't know what could possibly be. On this diet, you can eat up to five cotton balls (or the equivalent amount in tissue paper) at once, dipped in orange juice, lemonade or a smoothie. The idea is that the stomach feels full without having eaten too many calories. Well, let's start by making a disclaimer and assume that we're not experts in gastroenterology, but we risk saying that this shouldn't benefit the digestive system. And are you really going to eat cotton for the rest of your life? And when you want a gourmet meal, do you substitute it for silk?

The Sperm Diet

The name would be enough to have this “option” (let's call it that) in this ranking. But please bear with us while we have the pleasure to elaborate on its contours: the Internet states that Kim Kelly, a pornographic actress from Los Angeles, created this high-protein diet and claims that she lost 20 pounds as a result of that effort. The diet, which is easy to carry out even during (her) office hours, consists of little more than consuming only semen over 30 days (although it is reported that Kelly also introduced bananas and broccoli to the diet for that daily intake of vegetables and fruit). Besides nobody else having come forward and admitting to having tried and gotten results, it seems to us this is a hard one to swallow. And that's all, folks.

Translated from the original on Vogue Portugal's The Nonsense issue, July/August 2021.