The New Year is right around the corner, which means an inevitable spike in gym memberships and attendance at Weight Watchers meetings. We could remind you that 88-92% of Americans fail to keep these self-promises, but we know you'll probably make one anyway.
If shedding a few pounds is on your agenda for 2011, you might want to steer clear of these five strange diet plans guaranteed to screw you up more than a little excess flab ever could.
5. The Cookie Diet
Purportedly invented by Dr. Sanford Siegal and popularized by mall kiosks everywhere, the cookie diet is based on the principle that to lose weight you must restrict calories. That part is true. But what happens once you go off this ultra restrictive diet? Hint: Better padlock the fridge and avoid buffet restaurants at all costs.
Reality Check: We love sweets, but question whether we could really eat six cookies a day for an extended period of time. It's like when you work at a fast food joint. After two weeks of eating nothing but Happy Burgers, you're bound to want to throw up at the mere sight of one.
4. The Prune/Grapefruit/Apple Juice Diet
Liquid diets are designed to flush toxins from the system while cutting back on calorie and fat intake. They do actually work in the short term, though doctors generally say that doing an all liquid diet for more than a few days is unhealthy.
Reality Check: Of course it works. Do the math. One pound's worth of calories goes in, two pounds gets crapped out. Better break out the adult diapers. Speaking of which...
3. The Baby Food Diet
Actress Reese Witherspoon popularized this ridiculous diet, which substitutes a teensy tiny jar of baby food for a regular adult meal once or twice a day. Baby food does contain essential vitamins and minerals, but doses for a three-month-old are inadaquate for adults.
Reality Check: What's next? Wearing plastic pull-ups and seducing your partner with baby talk? You didn't even appreciate shit like mushy peas and mashed banana when you were drooling uncontrollably and pooping your pants, so you're probably not going to like 'em now. Still want recipes? Check out Cyndi Coon's homemade baby food ideas on Chow Bella.
2. The Breatharian Diet
This one's not so much a diet as it is a lifestyle. Several crackpots have claimed that they subsist solely on air, needing little more than a cup of tea every few months to survive. Of course, none of these claims have been scientifically proven and several people have died trying. Oh, and it costs a billion dollars to learn how to be a breatharian:
Reality Check: Wiley Brooks, founder of the Breatharian Institute of America, changed his tune after being spotted eating Twinkies, Big Macs and hot dogs. Now he swears that he must alternate periods of eating junk food with the breatharian concept in order to keep his body "in balance" in the modern world. He also believes that he is Jesus reincarnated, that we're all gods and that he has the secret to eternal youth. Uh-huh. Don't hold your breath on that...
The Spunk Diet
We've all heard rumors of the beneficial properties of semen (mostly from boys in the backseats of cars). It makes your skin look good. It has lots of protein. It's great for cooking. And apparently it's a weight loss tool.
In 2002, plump porn actress Kim Kelly went on a diet of "man juice," banana smoothies and broccoli for eight days. Her plan was to go longer, as she had no shortage of willing donors, but financing for the video project went limp at the last minute.
Reality Check: Trust us, if this diet actually worked some male scientist would've proved it by now and been hailed as a god by every other dude on the planet.