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Stop These Weight Loss Tactics That Just Don’t Work

How can I effectively lose weight? It’s a question that a lot of us have asked or will ask at some point in our lives and, unfortunately, it’s not often easy to find a good answer. There are so many people and businesses trying to sell you methods that just work, as well as some unhealthy attitudes towards dieting and weight in general that can put some bad ideas in your head. It’s time to bust those bad ideas, show a better way, and ensure that your weight loss journey is both healthy and reliable.

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Focusing only on exercise

Exercise can contribute to your weight loss efforts, there’s no doubt about that. The simple equation of weight loss goes that you need to burn more calories than you consume. Changing your diet can be tough, so a lot of people will focus entirely on the exercise side of the scale. However, this simply isn’t all that effective. Exercise alone has been shown time and time again to not be enough to help lose weight. As they say, diet is 90% of the work. It needs to be a combination of both.

Overestimating your efforts

Not only is relying on exercise too much an ineffective tactic, but a lot of people tend to overestimate just how many calories they’re burning while they’re exercising. Wearing a fitness tracker can help you get a more accurate idea, but the truth is that you might not be burning as much as you might think, even during cardio exercises like jogging. If you really want exercises that make a greater impact on your calorie balance, you need to look at things like sprint workouts. High intensities and short intervals do a lot more for your weight than even long periods of sustained jogs. They’re more physically demanding, but they’re also more efficient as a result.

Starving yourself thin

Let’s not get the facts wrong: portion control is a huge part of developing healthy eating habits, and many of us could stand to cut down just how much we eat during the day. However, any attempt to starve yourself thin is likely to end up in disaster. Not only is it unhealthy, making us more prone to injury, and resulting in muscle loss. It’s also completely contradictory. When we starve, our metabolism slows down so that our body holds onto every calorie as much as possible, which can slow weight management efforts. Calorie controlled diets, like the lipotrim diet, can help you ensure that you’re getting everything your body needs nutritionally, while ensuring you’re not eating more than you want to. Above all else, diet with the consultation of your doctor or dietician so you know you’re taking a healthy approach.

Photo by Ella Olsson

Counting only calories, not what you eat

The calorie balance is important, and counting calories alone isn’t enough to constitute a bad dieting plan. However, if you’re only counting calories and not where those calories come from, you can still find it harder to lose weight. Measuring your macros, such as how much fat, carbohydrates, and sugar you eat a day is also important. In general, sources of sugar are bad calories that tend to take a lot more effort to get rid of, while the calories you eat from proteins and unprocessed carbohydrates burn more efficiently and are used to supply the energy you need to work out, as well as aiding in muscle building.

“Cleanses”, “detoxes”, and “superfoods”

Is absolutely every diet fad guaranteed not to work? No. Certain things that have been touted as superfoods, such as berries in general, do have a lot of value to add to your body. However, when it comes to shortcuts, you should be extremely wary. Cleanses and detoxes, in general, don’t have much scientific backing behind their effectiveness in making you healthy in just about any way. More importantly, they teach you a bad habit: trying to look for quick fixes when committed, gradual changes to eating habits and increased levels of activity are the only methods that only work in the long-run. If you’re tempted by a superfood or fad, do a little research before you incorporate it into your efforts. Even if they do work, make it just an incorporation, not a wholesale replacement of diet and exercise.

Not building muscle

You might think that you’re “just” aiming to lose weight, not to build strength, but the truth is that they two are much more related than you might think. You don’t have to become a bodybuilder; bodyweight exercises can be enough to ensure you have a good range of motion and a healthy distribution of muscle throughout the body. Gaining muscle doesn’t just make you stronger, it increases your metabolic rate, meaning that your body more efficiently and effectively uses those calories that you’re eating. A combination of strength training and aerobic exercise is the most effective approach.

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Not tracking your progress

Simply put, it’s easy to get stuck in repetitive methods that get less effective over time, or simply to sabotage your weight loss progress by not doing anything to track it. It’s about more than just looking at your scale weight, you should also be using diet tracking apps to measure not just how many calories you eat and burn, but also those important macros to make sure your calories are coming from good sources. When it comes to exercise, simply repeating yourself means that your body gets used to it over time, and the same exercises become less effective at both losing weight and building muscle over time. Don’t stagnate, ensure you’re always progressing.

Lastly, it’s important to remind ourselves that losing weight is not the same thing as becoming healthy. Yes, a healthy weight range contributes to our overall well being, but we shouldn’t sacrifice more than we need to in order to maintain weight loss, meaning no extreme diets and no pushing yourself to the brink with exercise. Make it repeatable, make it manageable, and you can make it long-lasting and effective.

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Owner of Personal Trainer, Father and fitness copy writer. Working hard making the world fitter and healthier!

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