Should I get my mouth wired shut for weight loss?
June 15, 2006 6:24 AM   Subscribe

Thinking about getting my mouth wired shut for weight loss(for about a month or so)--good idea or bad idea, you make the call.
posted by sandra194 to Health & Fitness (55 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How exactly do you mean?

It sounds like a bad idea. To be honest, I'd sooner just stop eating or buying food that's tempting than wire my mouth shut.

But that's just me!
posted by the_epicurean at 6:26 AM on June 15, 2006

it's just like a wire trap that keeps you from putting solid foods in your mouth? sounds like something you'd bounce back from pretty easily as soon as it's taken off (beyond the fact that it's a bit creepy/medieval sounding). i can't say i know much about it, though.

what else have you tried? why haven't other methods worked out?
posted by soma lkzx at 6:29 AM on June 15, 2006

If you're determined not to eat at all, why don't you just fast? Is it because you don't have any willpower? What's the thinking behind this?
posted by iconomy at 6:30 AM on June 15, 2006

My call is that this is weirdly drastic. If you want to live on smoothies for a month or so, just live on smoothies for a month or so.
posted by desuetude at 6:37 AM on June 15, 2006

You can still drink milkshakes with your mouth wired shut....

I'd recommend reading the other weight loss threads here on from the past few months. Most of them have been really good.

Also, wiring your mouth shut isn't a long term plan - the moment your unwired, you'll be back to your old habits.
posted by soplerfo at 6:37 AM on June 15, 2006

Uh, TERRIBLE idea.
posted by mkultra at 6:37 AM on June 15, 2006

I can understand wanting to do it, but remember when Tami from The Real World: LA did that? And remember how she had to talk the whole time? If not, clench your teeth and talk. Do you really want all your interactions for the next month to sound and look like that?

This is just my opinion, but if you're going to pay to have that done, why not pay for something like Weight Watchers (which I've never used but heard lots of good things about from friends/family)? I know its kind of hokey, but at least that way you'll be closer to knowing how to eat healthy for you.
posted by AlisonM at 6:39 AM on June 15, 2006

Sandra, have you consulted with a doctor about your desire to increase your fitness? If you are so desperate that you are willing to do something usually reserved for those with broken jaws, maybe you need to get a medical referral.

Really, talk to a doctor. This strikes me as a really unhealthy short term solution, which will do infinite harm to your body for little or no long-term gain.

To my knowledge (IANAMedical Professional) mouth-wiring would require the involvement of some member of the Medical Professional community. I'd be stunned if you found someone willing to go along with this scheme.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 6:43 AM on June 15, 2006

I think it is a good idea, but not for the reason Sandra194 is probably wanting to do this. By having her jaw wired shut, she will take away another scheme for losing weight from the back of her mind. "I can eat whatever I want because I can always get my jaw wired shut."

When this scheme fails, as it will, it may serve as a lesson that the real way to weight loss is consume less calories and burn more. Jaw wired shut may stop a person from chewing, but it wan't stop a determined person from consuming lots of calories.

If the weight is such a significant issue and short term results are needed for health reasons, have bypass surgery.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:44 AM on June 15, 2006

Something like this might be very helpful.

"An oral weight control apparatus and method adapted to block solid foods from entering the stomach of a user thereof, while at the same time allowing the user to freely move his tongue and jaws, to talk, to breathe, to drink fluids, and to participate in other desirable activities without the presence of the apparatus being visible or otherwise made known to anyone other than the user."
posted by Binkeeboo at 6:47 AM on June 15, 2006

I had my (broken) jaw wired shut for 4 weeks. I lost weight, but gained it right back again once I could eat. The feeling of not being able to open your mouth is absolute, mind numbing torture. You get to the point where you feel like scratching at your mouth, or raging so hard you would pull your teeth out for one big open mouthed gasp of air. Not to mention a month of pureed soup, Ensure and nasty teeth to boot.

I cannot imagine why anyone would voluntarily do this, it was an utterly miserable nonstop hell of a feeling for a month. Invest the money in a nutritionist/personal trainer, you will enjoy it more.
posted by remlapm at 6:47 AM on June 15, 2006

-The wires they stitch between your teeth must get pretty filthy pretty quickly. Be prepared to brush your teeth like 10x a day and still not be able to keep a clean mouth.

-In general, wire + mouth is a bad idea because you will endure probably the entire month with canker sores and blisters on your gums and inside lips from the wire there.

-How do you take pills if you need something as innocuous as a tylenol?

-What if you have to puke?!! How gross would that be?

-Also the first thing i thought of was Tami from RWLA. She couldnt talk the entire time. You will be basically handicapped for a month, lady.
posted by naxosaxur at 6:50 AM on June 15, 2006

Ow. I'd imagine you'd pass out after a day or something with no food.
posted by divabat at 7:15 AM on June 15, 2006

Bad idea.

I think you should try a raw food diet. Only eat raw foods. Let me know how it turns out!
posted by ewkpates at 7:15 AM on June 15, 2006

Bad idea.

Sounds quite gross (so, no flossing or proper brushing of teeth for a month).

It removes social interaction quite completely. Also, I can't imagine sex without the use of my mouth.

If you are so self-conscious about your weight and not in it for the health reasons (which I assume is the case with the rather extreme method chosen) having your mouth wired shut is not going to make you more attractive to other people. It will draw attention to you, definitely, but probably not the kind you're striving for.

Also, your friends and family will probably consider you to be a fucking idiot.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:17 AM on June 15, 2006

This is a bad idea. You'll just mess your metabolism up. If you want to lose weight you should probably exercise and eat healthy meals.
posted by chunking express at 7:18 AM on June 15, 2006

You can't brush your teeth, and mouthwash won't cut the smell. People will give you a large berth because your mouth will smell like rot.

You have to carry wire-snips with you at all times in case something bad happens or you start throwing up so you don't potentially drown on your own vomit.

Sounds like fun. Maybe buying a case of Dexatrim would be better?
posted by whoda at 7:34 AM on June 15, 2006

Should I get my mouth wired shut for weight loss?

posted by glenwood at 7:46 AM on June 15, 2006

It's probably a better idea to get someone to just punch you in the mouth anytime you're about to eat something fatty.
posted by klangklangston at 7:49 AM on June 15, 2006

Holy crap, no!
posted by madman at 7:52 AM on June 15, 2006

Let me assure you that with modern high-fructose soda concoctions an all liquid may not precipitate any weight loss, seriously.

But other than that, sure why not? The only trouble will be finding someone to do it, which you won't be able to-- short of breaking your jaw.
posted by 517 at 7:53 AM on June 15, 2006

It's a bad idea. It's a short-term, temporary fix that sounds expensive, painful, potentially ineffective (you can still drink high fat, high sugar things like soda and the afore mentioned milkshakes), and it does nothing to teach you how to eat properly or get in exercise.

There are a million other ways to lose weight that are better for you and more permanent, and cost far less. Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, diet pill prescriptions, South Beach diet, Slimfast, Personal Trainers, Nutritionists, appetite supressants, hell, even gastric bypass surgery if you are morbidly obese.

However since you're only planning on doing this for a month or so, it sounds like you don't even have that much to lose.
posted by tastybrains at 7:54 AM on June 15, 2006

Don't do it! Learn to eat (and live) healthier.
posted by csimpkins at 8:13 AM on June 15, 2006

No, first of all it won't work you'll end up just drinking tons of stuff. Second of all it's completly crazy. Third of all, wouldn't it make more sense to get your stomach stapled?
posted by delmoi at 8:18 AM on June 15, 2006

I think it sounds like a great idea! With your mouth wired shut, you'll have to carefully plan all of your food intake. No more impulse snacks, no more munching on junk food all day. Yes it's drastic, but people who are serious about weight loss are willing to make drastic lifestyle changes. It sounds like you're ready to get serious.
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:25 AM on June 15, 2006

Don't get your mouth wired shut!

As remlapm highlights above, the problem of losing weight is that unless you make changes to your lifestyle you will put the weight back on. Weight loss is about a lifestyle and concept shift. Having your mouth wired shut may help you shed weight dangerously fast (wouldn't locking yourself in a basement for a month have the same effect?), but it won't help you keep the weight off.

Lifehacker recently posted up a list of 50 weight loss tips by a guy who shed some serious weight.

If you've thought about getting your mouth wired shut, you've obviously committed to losing some weight. But the truth is, losing weight is not easy. There is no simple solution, but with effort and hard work, you can do it!

The following is stuff that I've picked up over the years:
  • You need discipline. A disciplined diet and a disciplined fitness plan. Body for Life may seem like the corniest thing ever, but I know several people who have used it to transform their lives. The book is inspiring and they've got good planning. It's part diet (small meals, lots of water, 1 day a week to gorge yourself) and part (intense) exercise.
  • Don't cut down on junk, completely cut it out. Out with candy bars, burgers, ice cream, cheese, steaks, bread, soda pop, etc. In with fruit, salad, soups, grilled/steamed meats and fish (if any at all). Out with ready-made meals.
  • Drink a glass of water with an Essential Fatty Acid supplement before each meal (helps you feel "full")
  • Get an idea of what a "portion" is (Bill Phillips says it's the size of a fist).
  • Set achievable goals. Small incremental steps (iterations!) towards a larger goal. Lose 4lbs a week rather than trying to lose 30lbs.
  • Buy a bike, some decent trainers and go cycling and running.
  • Plan your meals. People eat junk when they've got nothing else to eat. So make sure you've got something good for your lunch. Tacos. Fajitas. Wraps. Pasta. Soup. Rice. One-pot wonders. With salad. Fruit. Nuts.
  • You can do anything you set your mind to. That's how people run a marathon every day. That;s how people do ultra-marathons. That's how people do Bob Graham Rounds
I believe in you Sandra194. Let's roll!
posted by xpermanentx at 8:27 AM on June 15, 2006 [2 favorites]

I can't believe that anyone who would advise sandra194 to do this would not be trolling.
posted by Specklet at 8:42 AM on June 15, 2006

Wow, that's incredible. I mean as little disrespect as possible when I say this, but WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?

You're fat? Ok, congrats, join millions of people around the world who are fat and refuse to work to get it off. Sorry friend, you're going to have to run, you're going to have to jump, you're going to take a lot of time and It is going to hurt.

It will all be worth it in the end.
posted by CXImran at 8:47 AM on June 15, 2006 [1 favorite]

xpermanentx: i EXTREMELY disagree with you.

I'm currently trying to eat better, limiting myself to 2400 calories.

Everything I read says that it doesn't matter what you eat, but how much. It's also very unsustainable if you cut out everything good.

Last night, I had a baked potato with an 8oz filet mignon and asparagus, with a chips/guacamole appetizer. I stayed under 2100 calories yesterday, eating 2 snacks, breakfast, lunch, and that for dinner.

Don't gorge yourself - it wacks your blood sugar and the next day you crave everything. Don't remove all good foods from your diet - then it's not sustainable, you can't LEARN to eat like this. Don't take supplements, same reason.

Small portions - increase your whole grain intake - eat what you like - sometimes find substitutions for foods (low-cal ice cream sandwiches for ice cream, etc).

NEVER remove foods - just makes you want them more.

For the asker - I think the wiring thing is a bad idea. Check out The Hackers Diet for some more ideas maybe.

And Good Luck! Remember drastic measures are only a short-term solution. You have to teach your body to eat right consistantly and keep your blood sugar nice and even to avoid cravings.
posted by jimmy0x52 at 8:52 AM on June 15, 2006 [1 favorite]

Remove foods. Stop eating white sugar and white flour entirely. Onions are white, eat them.

Next, increase water intake. Eliminate consumption of all other fluids.

Ignore people like jimmy who think potatoes are good for you.

Listen to people like jimmy who say 1) control portion size; 2) eat regularly. 5 times a day minimum.

All fat people have the same problem. They think they should get to enjoy their food. They don't. Not anymore.

It's like shopaholics. They think they should get to buy things. They don't. Not anymore.

It's like people who don't exercise. They think they should get to do some cardio and then they'll be healthy. They don't.
posted by ewkpates at 9:08 AM on June 15, 2006

If you want to seriously lose weight, you need to limit yourself to far fewer than 2400 calories in a day.
posted by thirteenkiller at 9:09 AM on June 15, 2006

On reflection: Anyone who doesn't think onions are like candy is consuming too much sweetener of some kind.

This test never fails.
posted by ewkpates at 9:09 AM on June 15, 2006

I broke my jaw in high school and had it wired shut for three weeks. I drank ensure shakes and milk and ate applesauce and I didn't lose a single pound throughout the entire ordeal. You can't eat quickly, you can't breathe quickly, and although after a couple weeks you learn to talk clearly through your clenched jaw, it never ends up being quite right. You can't floss.

In conclusion, wiring your jaw shut is not worth your time or money.
posted by kaytwo at 9:11 AM on June 15, 2006

Anyone who doesn't think onions are like candy is consuming too much sweetener of some kind.

I assume you mean "sweet onions"?
posted by croutonsupafreak at 9:24 AM on June 15, 2006

If you want to seriously lose weight, you need to limit yourself to far fewer than 2400 calories in a day.

I'm guessing that this person has more than 10-30 pounds to lose, considering their drastic measures. I currently weigh 335 and should be around 220-240. I've got some pretty solid data that says my body at its current weight burns between 3400-3600 calories per day.

Now - a pound of fat is 3500 calories. If I'm eating 2400 calories that's almost 1/3 pound lost every day.

According to most doctors, my losing 2.333333... pounds per week would be 'unhealthy' - they recommend no more than 1 pound pet week. Being that I am so overweight though this is bound to happen when the caloric intake is cut as well as the fact that I can then slow it up as I get lower down.

Sandra feel free to listen to whomever you like - but there's no way around body chemistry. calories in < calories out=weight>
Depending on your weight forcing yourself to > 1200 calorie defecit in a day is just going to - once again - not be sustainiable because it's going to be too far from normal.

All fat people have the same problem. They think they should get to enjoy their food. They don't. Not anymore.

Interesting perspective. You sound like a real gem of a person and I'm sure Sandra appreciates the kind tone in your voice.

Let me reiterate - Make the diet too far off of normal life and it's not going to work. Period. After a couple months you'll notice your eating habits changing naturally.
posted by jimmy0x52 at 9:35 AM on June 15, 2006

I'm assuming you want to do this because you are overweight (as opposed to being anorexic). Any temporary solution like getting your mouth wired shut doesn't solve the food addiction. By food addiction, I mean eating more than you need for fuel - eating for emotional reasons. A wire trap won't solve needing to eat for comfort, needing to eat to provide some nurturing for yourself, needing to eat because you are giving so much emotionally but not receiving, or eating excessively to not feel your feelings, eating because you are bored, sad, depressed, happy - eating because that's how you deal with any feelings at all.

People talk about will power and dieting as if that alone will help these issues, and of course commitment is needed, but we wouldn't necessarily expect an alcoholic or drug addict to just stop. If an addict could stop on their own, THEY WOULD. We would expect them to get some emotional and psychological support from AA or NA or a therapist or group setting. It's the same thing with food addiction. If you are a person that self medicates with food (if food is your drug of choice), and you are at the point where you are desparate enough to consider a wire trap, get some help. Go to Overeaters Anonymous (it's free), or go to a food therapist. At the very least, go to Weight Watchers if only to get some form of group support. But I believe programs like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig help with the symptoms, but not the real issues of why we eat they way we do.
posted by jeremiahWasABullfrog at 10:01 AM on June 15, 2006

Mod note: a few comments removed, take metacomments to metatalk or email
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:30 AM on June 15, 2006

This sounds like a great idea.
posted by caddis at 10:34 AM on June 15, 2006

ditto. What's more, yawning, coughing, and sneezing are all exceedingly difficult with your jaw wired shut. If you have sinus problems (such as allergies) and your nose gets stuffed up, you will feel like you are suffocating -- a sensation I found terrifying. You will also find it hard to brush your teeth adequately and to get your tongue clean. Also, your jaw muscles will probably atrophy and your ability to open your mouth will be limited for weeks (possibly longer) after the wires come off.

So yeah, I think it's a bad idea.
posted by scody at 10:45 AM on June 15, 2006

Now - a pound of fat is 3500 calories. If I'm eating 2400 calories that's almost 1/3 pound lost every day.

That's not correct- fat requires calories to be created, not maintained. The math applied to losing weight, though, is still extremely simple. There are various places you can go to find out how much calories you expend in a given day, depending on your activities. If you eat more calories than that, you're going to gain weight. If you eat fewer, you'll lose it. Likewise, you can eat the same amount and exercise more. Period. You can follow a "fad" diet to lose weight more quickly (and I'm not saying don't), but in the longer struggle to keep your weight off, nothing else matters.
posted by mkultra at 11:04 AM on June 15, 2006

mkultra: Maybe you should read my post again.
posted by jimmy0x52 at 11:16 AM on June 15, 2006

I had my mouth wired shut for a month, due to jaw surgery. I didn't lose a pound.
posted by Shoeburyness at 11:18 AM on June 15, 2006

Mod note: seriously, email or metatalk if you're not answering the question or helping the OP find an answer
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:57 AM on June 15, 2006

Duh, right, sorry.
posted by mkultra at 11:57 AM on June 15, 2006

I'm shocked this hasn't been Meta'd by some alarmist yet.
posted by sourwookie at 11:59 AM on June 15, 2006

Everything I read says that it doesn't matter what you eat, but how much.

Of course it matters what you eat. Because certain foods (re:healthy ones) are far more satisfying in the long run and make it a lot easier to eat less.
posted by glenwood at 12:53 PM on June 15, 2006

Sounds like a downright awful idea to me. So much so that I have a hard time believing it is even serious. You might as well hire a guy to cut off one of your appendages each time you eat a piece of cake. At least that way I can guarantee you'll never eat cake again (unless you're insane... jury is out) and you'll be unharmed (provided you never eat cake again).
posted by rob paxon at 12:57 PM on June 15, 2006

My dad had his jaw broken (via surgery; his jaw had to be repositioned or he wasn't going to have much jaw bone left 20 years later) and was wired shut for 6 weeks. He lost about 10 pounds as I recall... this was in the 1980s when SlimFast and such wasn't around yet. He drank Sego shakes (one or two) for breakfast and lunch-- a precursor to Ensure. Had two bowls of strained soup for dinner. No smoothies, and smoothie places as we know them weren't in existence either. He'd have a milkshake ever so often.

He used a Water Pik along with brushing, but that still can't get your teeth totally clean. He had a real hard time talking on the phone. And uh, he'd spit majorly when he talked for the first few weeks.

And yes, there's the risk of choking on your own snot or vomit. He had to carry wire cutters with him. His jaw muscles cramped big time from not being able to yawn or stretch them. And he got REALLY tired of being asked "What happened to you?" once people saw his jaw was wired shut. It's similar to when I had a cast on my leg... within a week I was ready to kill people asking me what happened, even though I knew they were just curious and not trying to get on my nerves.

He gained the weight back (and a bit more) once he began eating normally again.

So... NO. Not worth it. No matter how desperate you feel.
posted by miltoncat at 1:26 PM on June 15, 2006

NO. NO. NO. No matter what quick fixes you try to lose weight, unless you change your life, it will all come back.

There have been a number of weight loss threads on Hacker's Diet, No S diet, 50 Weight Loss Tips, etc. Try Weight Watchers. Join a gym. Start/join a walking or bicycling group. Do aerobics or Pilates. Weight loss is hard. Don't do it by yourself, find a support group.

Focus on getting healthy, and getting your body in good condition. Focus on revising your daily diet to be more nutritious. Maximize the nutrition content, so that every calorie has greater vitamin, mineral, protein and fiber content, and get rid of the empty calories in your diet.
posted by theora55 at 1:37 PM on June 15, 2006

I know someone who did this about 20 years ago. It didn't work, for the following reasons:

1. McDonald's milkshakes are easily consumed.
2. Just about any food you can think of can be liquidised. Yes, even pizza - just add a little hot water to the mix.

She didn't lose any weight. Oh, and all her teeth went bad too where she couldn't brush them.

posted by essexjan at 2:44 PM on June 15, 2006

2. Just about any food you can think of can be liquidised. Yes, even pizza - just add a little hot water to the mix.

Dear god no.
posted by atrazine at 3:03 PM on June 15, 2006

Sweet buttery Jesus, no!

Speaking as someone who had their jaw wired shut after having it broken, this is NOT something you want to inflict upon yourself voluntarily. It's one of the most unpleasant things I've had to endure.
posted by antifreez_ at 3:42 PM on June 15, 2006

Get a Lap-Band. It's a laparoscopic procedure and reversible.
posted by IndigoRain at 5:58 PM on June 15, 2006

No, please don't do it. It will just make you miserable, and won't have any long term benefits.

The thing that would worry me the most would be if I had to vomit. You could die from aspirating it!

The fact that you're considering doing it means you're serious about losing some weight, I would definitely suggest going to a company like Jenny Craig and talking to them.
posted by tomble at 6:15 PM on June 15, 2006

My jaws were wired closed for 3 months because of surgery. It felt horrible. It was scary--have wire cutters around every second in case you should vomit. And no I did not lose enough weight (5 lbs.) to consider this a course of action for weight loss. There have been many fine suggestions here. Please try a different course and best of luck.
posted by dsaelf at 7:33 AM on July 31, 2006

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