Announcing the Worst Weight Loss Schemes of 2013


winners graphicBefore You Start Another Diet…

It’s the beginning of a new year and you know what that means to the chronic dieter. Time to start a new diet!

If you’re contemplating one, put away your scale and take note.

An independent panel of expert judges, selected by Green Mountain, has selected the worst weight loss schemes of 2013.

The “Slim Chance Awards” were started 25 years ago as a way to call out the most outrageous and overrated weight loss products, plans, and gimmicks of the year, and ultimately to increase awareness that dieting usually results in poorer health and weight gain over time.

2013 Slim Chance Award Winners

Worst Weight Loss Plan: The Special K ChallengeTM

Kellogg’s Special K Challenge claims that by replacing two meals and snacks a day with Special K products, including cereals, protein shakes and protein meal bars, a weight loss of up to 6 pounds in 14 days will occur.

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD and president and co-owner of Green Mountain weighs in on the Special K Challenge:

“First, a focus on quick weight loss just sets people up for the yo-yo diet cycle of losing and regaining that makes people fatter, not thinner. It may also foster chronic inflammation, which leads to all sorts of health problems, including weight gain for many.”

Most Overrated: Non-Invasive Body Contouring Procedures

The latest technologies, from ultrasound to freezing fat, are marketed to treat “problem areas.” Also known as liposuction lasers, non-surgical fat reduction, or non-invasive fat removal, treatments can cost thousands of dollars per area, are recommended only for people who are at a “normal weight,” and produce incredibly varied results.

“These kind of ‘miracle’ procedures feed body dissatisfaction and encourage unhealthy behaviors,” said Ashley Solomon, PsyD.

Most Outrageous: Cotton Ball Diet

The Cotton Ball Diet started popping up on YouTube earlier in 2013, unveiling a disturbing fad diet most popular among young women. Dieters dip cotton balls in juice and ingest them. The objective is to feel full without actually consuming real food. Risks include a blockage in the digestive system, which could result in surgery.

Worst Gimmick: The Tongue Patch Diet

In this reversible procedure a plastic mesh patch is fitted to the patient’s tongue. The purpose is to make chewing extremely painful, thus limiting the dieter to only liquid. Users have reported up to 20 lbs. of weight loss in a month.

“If we want to be happy in our bodies, we need to support them. That means, among other things, feeding them well, not starving them,” says Hudnall.

Changing the Focus to Health

While four weight loss schemes stood out as the worst of 2013, in general, the pursuit of weight loss doesn’t take people where they want to go. Instead, Green Mountain offers the following tips for finding your healthy weight:

  • Focus on feeling good, not how much you weigh.
  • Choose foods and eat them in a way that contribute to feeling well.
  • Listen to and trust your body’s cues – it can tell you when you are hungry and when you’ve had enough to eat.
  • Find movement that is pleasurable to you.
  • Forget about burning calories – that focus makes exercise a punishment, not a pleasure.
  • Find ways to fulfill your social, emotional and spiritual needs.

The Slim Chance Awards judging panel included:

  • Annabel Adams, blogger at Feed Me, I’m Cranky
  • Ashley Solomon, PsyD, founder of the website Nourishing the Soul
  • Rebecca Scritchfield, RD, Washington-DC based dietitian and fitness expert
  • Marci Warhaft-Nadler, author of “The Body Image Survival Guide for Parents: Helping Toddlers, Tweens and Teens Thrive”

About Healthy Weight Week

All information about Healthy Weight Week can be found at

3 responses to “Announcing the Worst Weight Loss Schemes of 2013”

  1. […] feelings) to see the television ads that come out every January, touting old and new (mostly old) weight loss plans and products. You know the players — they’re there every year, reaching out to people who are often […]

  2. […] Inform your friends, family and colleagues about the Slim Chance Award “Winners” for 2013 […]

  3. […] not a number on a scale).  This is part of Francie’s program which includes the annual “Slim Chance Awards” which chronicles some of the dumbest, most dangerous and least likely weight loss schemes of the […]

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