We're all aging, second by second, and unless we've already committed to a rigorous diet and exercise plan, we're slowly experiencing tiny hormonal changes that make it increasingly difficult to lose weight. In college, I could lose 20 pounds by taking an extra lap around the geology building before class. Years later, I can barely grind down two pounds a month, even though I eat nothing but protein shakes and illegal workout powder. I'm constantly light-headed, with dark circles under my eyes like I'm on a death march instead of a fitness journey. Losing weight is hard, and it makes you feel horrible.

So yeah, I can understand why people fall for weight-loss scams. When some asshole comes along and claims that you can take a pill, like "saffron extract", and it will make your fat gut magically dissolve into a tight double-packed row of abs, you'd like to believe it. It's just too bad that none of this shit works.

"These should be used as part of a weight loss and exercise programme," says the manufacturer of these magnetic toe-rings, as a way of explaining that magnetic toe rings don't actually cause you to lose weight. They're cheap, as scams go, but that doesn't excuse the fact that they're trying to convince people that toe-magnets will cause your body to burn excess fat.

Is it possible to hypnotize yourself to enjoy weight loss? Are you willing to listen to four compact discs' worth of a hypnotist telling you to get sleepy and then explaining to you that it actually feels good instead of bad to be hungry all the time? Then yes, hypnotize yourself with this audiobook and go to town. If it works on you, congratulations: You have the sort of mind that does what a woman on a CD tells it to do.

If you'd prefer a more active approach to weight loss, you can always sprinkle these magical crystals called Sensa onto your food. They're made of maltodextrin, silica, and tricalcium phosphate, which are regular food additives. What's their trick? Same as the magnetic toe rings: They make you weigh, measure, and record everything you eat. If you weigh and record what you eat, you will be too ashamed to write "6 candy bars" in your food log, or "8 cans of beer." So it "works," if you're self-conscious enough, but it has nothing to do with the crystals.

The HAPIfork interfaces with your computer through Bluetooth, and it will vibrate your teeth if it detects you "eating incorrectly." I'm not sure how you would eat incorrectly, and I'm not willing to have my fillings rattled loose in order to find out.

The most laughable weight-loss item in 2014, though, is the Breathslim. This piece of garbage makes your body lose weight when you breathe through the plastic straw into the plastic cup, according to the manufacturers, who modified a breathing aid for asthmatics so they could patent it. The only good thing I can say about this insanely brazen scam is: at least it doesn't Tweet your weight to all of your Twitter followers when you step on it.

Drew Fairweather is the author of three daily sites: The Worst Things for Sale, Toothpaste for Dinner, and Married to the Sea.

– Drew Fairweather (@drewtoothpaste)

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