The Most Extreme Ways People Have Tried To Stay Thin

“What’s the best way to ensure you stay skinny?” It’s a question that most of us want to be answered. Unfortunately, there’s not really a simple answer. Nothing really beats healthy eating and regular exercise, but come on, that’s nearly impossible.

So, people looking to lose weight fast have stumbled on some pretty weird and extreme methods of doing so. I think it’s safe to say that most of the diets I have listed will actually do more harm than good.

The Air Diet

Yes, this is a thing. No, it doesn’t look like any fun at all. The only people who would enjoy this are the people who enjoy cooking food and then not eating it. Seriously, this diet has you making all the food and then not eating it.

In other words, you’re putting in all the work and not getting to enjoy any of it. In fact, you’re just smelling it and tricking yourself into believing that you ate.

Gummy Bear Diet


You might be happy to know that the sugar-free version of gummy bears can actually help you lose weight. The first stop on the nutrition train usually isn’t at the candy store, but maybe it should be? Okay, no, but gummy bears do contain an ingredient called lycasin, which is a potent laxative.

Some people will literally just eat gummy bears all day and wait for the explosion to occur.

Apples And Coffee


This diet is fairly self-explanatory. You can eat nothing but apples, and drink nothing but coffee for as long as possible. Why this combination? Well, coffee acts as a diuretic, which makes you have to pee more, while the apples provide your body with energy and nutrients to keep you moving.

In reality, you’re unlikely to lose much weight and more likely just to have a miserable time. That’s just my two cents.

The Color Blue


If you’re looking to have a suppressed appetite, you should look to the color blue. Apparently, studies have shown that if you’re someone who overeats, you should try on some blue-tinged glasses. As bizarre as it may seem, it can’t hurt as a last-ditch option.

I don’t know about you, but this blue lobster doesn’t seem half as yummy as a red one. Okay, nevermind, they both look the same on the stovetop.



Drunkorexia is basically cutting calories from food and replacing them with alcohol. Drinking to maintain body weight is almost never a good idea, and it can lead to some serious health problems.

I think you’d actually be surprised to learn how many calories are in your favorite beer. I think unless you’re going to drink to throw up every night (which could happen considering you aren’t eating) I don’t see this working.

Waist Wrapping

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There are many different kinds of waist wrapping, but one of the most popular is with plastic saran wrap. There are much better ways to attempt to get out the excess weight, but people think that wrapping yourself is going to help.

This can be very bad for your organs, and can result in severe dehydration, nausea, and even heatstroke. The lengths people will go to lose weight is incredible.

Bee Pollen

Bee pollen has been touted as some sort of superfood. It contains all the essential nutrients your body needs. It’s also great for boosting athletic performance, treating asthma, and reducing fat. None of the claimed effects have been proven in a lab, but I guess that doesn’t stop people from believing it.

People will literally eat bee pollen just to see if it reduces their fat. I’m hoping the hundreds of bee stings is worth it.


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Let’s just go straight past the fact that it’s probably not going to work, even in theory. Many people have tried injecting insulin in an attempt to lower blood sugar and break down fat instead of carbs. Insulin injections are extremely dangerous, however, and if unmonitored, can lead to the development of diabetes in non-diabetic users or even put some abusers in a coma.

Just stay away from it, full stop, bottom line.

Sleeping Beauty Diet

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The sleeping beauty diet helps people who struggle with dieting and it suggests that whenever you begin to get cravings just pop some sleeping pills and pass out for a couple of days, or a week. I mean, not only is this financially the best option, but you’ll get skinny from not eating.

This practice can cause your muscles to atrophy, your body to become dehydrated, and there is a high possibility of overdosing on dangerous medications.

The Baby Food Diet

This one is pretty self-explanatory. It was popularized by celebrities like Reese Witherspoon. If eating baby food for every meal is good enough for Reese, it’s good enough for me. This diet will work like many other ones in that it will probably just bore the participant into not wanting to eat anymore.

I don’t blame them. How much flavored mush can a person eat before they get sick of it?


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If you’ve ever had Mononucleosis, you know how horrible it is. It’s a dangerous virus that often affects your appetite, making you not want to eat while simultaneously sapping your energy. If you can even get out of bed, you’re overachieving.

You lose weight very quickly because of the energy your body is expending just trying to fight off the disease. The symptoms are often high fever, sore throat, and the swelling of the tonsils, lymph nodes, and spleen failure.

Lord Byron’s Vinegar Diet

You may or may not remember the 19th century English poet George Byron from English class. If you skipped English class, like me, you don’t remember him. I digress, but if you’ve ever had the chance to see what he looked like, you would know he was thin and pale.

People mistook his thin appearance for health, and tried to eat what he was eating. That diet consisted of biscuits, soda water, and potatoes drenched in vinegar.

Ipecac Syrup


Basically, the purpose of Ipecac syrup is to cause vomiting. If you’re having to take it for medicinal value, you’re probably not in a good spot health-wise. In the past, it was used to empty a person’s stomach after being poisoned, but now people are using it to lose weight.

If they feel very full and can’t gag themselves, they can take this and it’ll make you yack almost immediately.



This is one of the oldest tricks in the book. When it comes to losing weight, drugs almost always appear to be the answer. Not the healthy or the recommended answer, but a popular one nonetheless. Many deluded people have turned to hard drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine in an attempt to lose weight, which is always a terrible idea.

That’s where the stereotypical skinny, pale drug addict pictures come from.

The Cabbage Soup Diet


This was incredibly popular in World War II. In fact, that’s where this diet originated. The cabbage soup trend became popular in the 1940s to protect soldiers against scurvy. It regained popularity in the 1990s as a way to help people lose weight.

While on this diet, you will likely be taking in fewer than 1000 calories a day, which is about half of the recommended amount. Any sort of physical activity or exercise will be nearly impossible.

Urine Injections

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Basically, you inject your body with the urine of a pregnant woman. The urine contains a hormone called chorionic gonadotrophin which can trick the human brain into believing that it’s pregnant.

That will then increase metabolism speed and burn calories faster than usual. Desperate times call for desperate measures. This is going to be a no from me dawg, I’m going straight Randy Jackson from American Idol on this one.

Stomach Stapling


I think the technical word is vertical banded gastroplasty surgery, but stomach stapling is easier to say. It’s a procedure in which doctors use staples to section off part of the stomach and limit the amount of food passing through. This is a big procedure.

If you need to get this done, you’re either incredibly rich, or you’re at life-threatening obesity and this is your Hail Mary shot at being skinnier.

Wearing A Corset

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There is literally no benefit to wearing a corset. Well, I should rephrase that — there’s no MEDICAL benefit to wearing a corset. Yes, you’ll probably suffocate yourself, but you’ll LOOK skinnier around the waste. But, it doesn’t actually shrink the fat.

It should be common knowledge that your body isn’t a tube of toothpaste. Your fat doesn’t get squeezed out of your body when you wear a corset. They can actually end up doing significant damage to your internal organs.


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There was a 19th-century food enthusiast by the name of Horace Fletcher. He had some fairly unique ideas on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. His followers were encouraged to chew their bites of food up to 100 times. This turned the food to liquid in their mouths.

Fletcher believed that it reduced overeating (probably because their jaws were so tried for taking three bites), and saved them lots of money.


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The idea of just not eating anything for days is probably not something you should look to do. Yet, despite how bad it is for your body, there are a lot of people who do it. You probably know the individuals on a diet who will take naps for dinner.

Skipping meals is not ideal, and let’s be honest, it’s pretty darn hard. I don’t get how anyone does it.

Tongue Patch


Yes, there’s an actual tongue patch cleanse that you can do. You sew a small patch of fabric to the top of your tongue that makes eating solid foods unbearably painful, as I’m sure just about everything else you do with your mouth would be.

This forces you to pivot to an all-liquid diet as long as the patch remains sewn to your mouth. I’m not even sure that nothing but liquids would do the trick.

Spoon Diet

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The spoon diet allows you to only eat foods that you can eat with a, well, spoon. The goal is to limit your caloric intake and stick to healthy foods like soup and yogurt, and to limit portion sizes because spoons aren’t all that big.

With that being said, there are some pretty awesome tasting sweets that can work with this diet. I’m looking at you ice cream and pudding.

The Cotton Ball Diet


This is a classic. It involves soaking cotton balls in water or juice and eating them to trick the body into thinking that you’re actually eating something. It’s the perfect diet if you want to feel full, but also consume barely any calories.

There’s also a huge negative to this. The cotton wool can collect in the intestinal tract which will cause you severe pain and discomfort. It’s a no from me.

Feeding Tube

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This is usually used for stubborn patients in psychiatric hospitals. The feeding tube diet involves inserting a small tube through the nose and down the esophagus. It pumps low-calorie, high-fat solutions directly into your stomach.

The tube cannot be removed for days, and the diet will send your body into a state of ketosis, where body fat is burned for energy instead of food. This sounds bulletproof, uh, just kidding.

Just Say No To Swamps

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Wow, we’ve really come a long way in our understanding of nutrition. In the early 1700s, Dr. Thomas Short believed that there was a direct correlation between living near a swamp and being fat. His advice? Well, you move away from that swamp and you’ll magically become skinnier.

It became very clear that this theory held no merit. People were moving away from swamps and still remaining fat. Sorry, Dr. Short.

The Master Cleanse


You know those weirdos that just drink the strangest concoction of foods they can blend up? Well, that’s kind of what this is. It’s the lemon cleanse, but on steroids, and not the good kind. It’s a liquid diet that involves drinking a cocktail of lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup.

The goal is to cleanse your body of toxins and impurities, but it tastes like a combination of garbage and torture.

Ear Staples

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People are weird and desperate. When they’ve tried to diet for years and it’s never worked, they’ll do anything. In China, you can have a doctor staple a pressure point in your ear associated with appetite suppression. These staples are left in for weeks.

The legendary Mayo Clinic has said that stapling your ear has shown no effective signs of causing weight loss. I guess I just feel like I could’ve told you that.

Ana Boot Camp


This is extremely dangerous. Not only that, but it’s immoral and it’s sweeping the internet. The idea is boot camp format (which is great if you’re with a personal trainer and you’ve got the nutrients in your body), but only promoting an anorexic lifestyle.

So, the boot camp trainers give out programs with strict diet plans of 0-500 calories per day. This can be incredibly detrimental to people’s health and can easily lead to heart attacks.

The Tapeworm Diet


If you don’t like worms or insects, you’re not going to like anything to do with this. I would argue that this is probably the hardest one to swallow, both literally and figuratively. This diet has you ingesting a real tapeworm and letting it grow inside your body where it will eat anything you eat.

They can grow up to 30 feet long, and sometimes don’t want to come out. No thanks.

Diet Soaps


The 1930s were a weird time. If we were to believe the ads from that time period, we would be doing a lot of things differently. One of them being dieting. They had “diet soaps” called “Fat-O-No” and “Fatoff” that were advertised to help you lose weight just by smearing it all over your body.

I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised by that since that era also saw people using vibrating exercise belts to lose weight as well.

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