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I Tried 3 Weight Loss Challenges, Here’s Why I Won’t Try Any More

January 19, 2023

When trying to find a weight loss solution, the Internet is not shy about developing new diets, cleanses, and challenges. It seems like each year a new trend is created, and it explodes on social media with influencers telling you how much it’s helped them and how we should all try it if we’re looking for “healthy” ways to lose weight.

There are always so many promises of fast weight loss, magic “solutions” to finally get us the bodies we want.

I gave in to the pressure of trying viral weight loss challenges, and it didn’t go well. I will never do them again. Here’s what I tried and why I’m done with the weight loss challenges.

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Apple Cider Vinegar Challenge

The use of apple cider vinegar (ACV) has become increasingly popular over the years, with celebrities and influencers drinking it for its array of health benefits. Before you knew it, TikTok introduced apple cider vinegar challenges, with claims that drinking it every day could help aid in weight loss. After constantly flipping through my For You page and seeing videos starting with something along the lines of “I drank apple cider vinegar for X amount of time,” I decided to give the trend a go.

To summarize, I decided to drink apple cider vinegar for a month. I drank two tablespoons every morning mixed  with 8 ounces of hot water, a tablespoon of honey, and some cinnamon (I wanted to try and mask the potent taste of the ACV by turning the drink into some sort of apple pie flavor). I would do this before eating breakfast because the rumor was it would help “aid digestion” (according to those Tik Tokers), and its natural probiotics could help improve gut health.

What happened: It was a tedious task to drink a glass of this concoction every morning. As the month went on, I felt this to be more of a chore than a healthy lifestyle change. I weighed myself every week and did not notice any significant weight loss. ACV might work long term as part of a plan incorporating exercise and healthy eating habits, but in my experience, ACV on its own didn’t make a difference.

Water Gallon Challenge

There’s no denying that it’s important to drink water daily, as there are tons of benefits to doing so, including better brain function, increased energy, and yes, help with weight management.  Plus, drinking at least 8 cups of water per day can help support gut health. According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, men should drink about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day and women about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters).

So TikTokers developed the Water Gallon Challenge, where participants had to drink an entire gallon of water (16 cups) a day, which would supposedly aid in weight loss. While this is a similar amount to how much men should drink per day, as a woman who hardly drank the recommended intake, I knew this would be a challenge.

What happened: As I worked through the challenge, there were some noticeable differences in my health, including feeling fuller more often, clearer urine, and less bloating. But I also dealt with some nasty side effects, such as headaches and the constant need to run to the bathroom every hour. Did I end up losing weight? You already know the answer: Nope.

Drinking a gallon of water was helpful in certain ways, and it did made me aware that I should be drinking more water than I have in the past. But it was a big fail in terms of weight loss.

75 Soft Challenge

First came 75 Hard, which was developed in 2019 by podcaster Andy Frisella. He explained that 75 Hard was not meant to be just a fitness challenge, but a “transformative mental toughness program” that improved skills like determination, self-esteem, confidence, and discipline.

However, this program was super-intense, as the rules included picking a diet to follow, with no alcohol or “cheat” meals, drinking a gallon of water a day, completing two 45-minute workouts a day, reading 10 pages of a non-fiction book, and taking a progress photo every day, all for 75 days. If you skipped a day, you had to start all over.

So the 75 Soft was born, which had similar but less strict guidelines. These guidelines were to eat well and only drink on social occasions, exercise for 45 minutes a day with one day of active recovery per week, drink 3 liters of water per day (about 12.6 cups), and read 10 pages of any book each day.

What happened: Tackling this challenge was no easy feat. Although I became very aware of my lifestyle habits, I felt as if doing this took away from my freedom. Whenever I went out to dinner or participated in an activity with family and friends, I had to decide what counted as a “social occasion.” When was it acceptable to drink? What on the menu was defined as “eating well”? These little thoughts took up so much space in my brain, and that’s all I could focus on. As for the 45-minute workouts, it was hard to squeeze it in on certain days when work was busy or I was feeling sick.

What I took away from this challenge, similar to the others, is that I shouldn’t let a weight-loss craze take over my lifestyle. Instead, it’s great to be aware of your health and watch what you eat and drink, but it’s also important to enjoy yourself and not fixate on a certain diet.

Read next: Trying to Lose Weight Made My Body Dysmorphia Worse. Here’s What Actually Helped.

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