One of the things I love most about being a wellness writer is exposing and dismantling the lies and harmful narratives the industry tries to sell us. (PSA:.)
One of my favorite lies to bulldoze is the one that says you have to go through a series of ridiculous activities to get a "beach body." It's rooted in a much deeper lie about the way bodies should look -- but that's another story for another day.
Here, I'm covering everything you shouldn't do to get a beach body this summer (or, like, ever) no matter how hard yourtries to sell you on these harmful trends.
1. Wear a waist trainer
Waist trainers are so harmful in more ways than one. Anyone who consciously decides to wear a waist trainer for reasons that aren't explicitly cultural or spiritual is almost undoubtedly dealing with the emotional consequences imparted by wellness culture.
Above: Kim Kardashian has popularized waist training on Instagram.
Waist trainers promise to help you achieve the "perfect body" and eliminate any shame you might feel for not having that body already. But really, they're preying on your insecurities for not meeting the impossibly specific and small societal body standards.
Aside from the emotional turbulence that comes with waist trainers, these things can actually harm you physically. When you wear a waist trainer, your waist is cinched into a diameter that is, if I had to guess, unnatural for your body and most others. When you squeeze yourself into a waist trainer, your organs can shift and become too crowded to function properly.
It's been reported that waist trainers can lead to difficulty breathing, acid reflux and abdominal cramps, as well as neurological symptoms such as numbness and tingling, because waist trainers can clamp down on nerves in your torso. Additionally, if you wear a waist trainer too often and for too long, you put yourself at risk for weakened abdominal muscles.
Is this all worth it for a temporarily smaller waist?
2. Drink skinny teas
If you want to lose weight mainly through emptying your bowels, reach for a box of skinny tea. If you'd rather keep your intestines intact, however, maybe you should just stick to eating nutritious foods and exercising.
Many skinny teas, "fit teas" or "flat tummy teas" are actually combinations of gentle laxative agents that, well, do what laxatives do. Other skinny teas that don't contain laxative ingredients are still just infusions of herbs that likely don't speed up your metabolism or fulfill other label claims -- at least not significantly enough to help you lose weight in the long term.
If skinny teas can do anything, they might help reduce bloat temporarily. Some herbs and spices, such as ginger, have been reported to help with bloating and other digestive discomfort.
3. Drink detox water
While we're on the topic of fluids you shouldn't drink in an attempt to lose weight, add detox water to your list, too. I promise you don't need detox water -- you have plenty of organs that detox your body just fine.
Detox water is any water-based beverage infused with the flavors of fruits, vegetables and herbs. For example, water with lemon, cucumber and mint could be considered detox water.
While detox water won't necessarily hurt you, it's just kind of worthless if you don't like the taste. There's no reason to force yourself to drink something you don't enjoy in the name of a smaller body. Plus, most of the purported health benefits of detox water -- clearer skin, boosted energy, reduced bloat -- can be attributed to water itself.
If you don't like detox water, just drink regular water and your body will do its job. If ya want to add a little bit of lemon juice, fine.
4. Eat appetite-suppressant lollipops
Our bodies have this cool thing called intuition. As in, your body knows when it's hungry and when it's not. Your body doesn't need a lollipop to tell it to stop eating: Your body needs food to tell it to stop eating.
Appetite suppressant lollipops -- specifically Flat Tummy Co lollipops -- were popularized by Kim Kardashian in 2018, when she posted a photo on Instagram with the caption "You guys… @flattummyco just dropped a new product. They're Appetite Suppressant Lollipops and they're literally unreal."
Per the Flat Tummy Co. website, the lollipops contain an ingredient called Satiereal, a "clinically proven safe active ingredient extracted from natural plants." The Satiereal website clarifies that the plant source is saffron.
Flat Tummy Co. says the ingredient maximizes the feeling of fullness, "So with one to two pops per day, you'll have your hunger under control and cravings in check. Just have one whenever you start to feel hungry and it'll help hold you over until your next meal!"
Kardashian received enough backlash for this in 2018, so I'll leave that alone. But here's the moral of the story: Eat food when you need food.
5. Wear garbage bags while you run outside
First side effect of wearing a garbage bag while you run: Neighbors serve up side-eye.
Second side effect of wearing a garbage bag while you run: Possible.
If you weren't aware, this is a thing that people actually do, typically in an attempt to lose weight. Wearing a trash bag over your clothes while you exercise stops your body's cooling circuit from doing its thing. Your sweat won't evaporate, so your body temperature doesn't reduce, and your body continues to produce more sweat in an attempt to cool down.
Thus, wearing a trash bag induces weight loss from water weight. You can expect to gain this weight back as soon as you guzzle some, and you shouldn't expect it to work for .
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.