You’ve already heard the many variations on this advice. As a dieter, you know what you’re supposed to do to succeed. But what about the things you’re not supposed to do?
Did you know, for example, that drinking diet soda can make you fat? And so can eating low-carb protein bars and eliminating fruit! Here, for a refreshing change of pace, are the top 10 things you shouldn’t do if you want to lose weight and keep it off long term:
1. Eat too little or infrequently. Keep moods and energy up, hunger satisfied, and metabolism in high gear by eating three meals and two to three snacks a day. Don’t skip breakfast!
2. Eliminate all fruits. Extremely low-carb diets that forbid fruit are punishing and invite cheating. Stay on track with moderate portions of fiber- and nutrient-rich strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, kiwi, grapefruit, or peaches.
3. Eliminate fats. Several studies at Harvard and elsewhere prove that low-fat diets result in weight gain. To lose weight, you need to increase your consumption of good fats (monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats).
4. Get snacks out of your kitchen. Snacking helps with weight loss. Make sure you replace commercial baked goods, candy, chips, crackers, cookies, and pretzels with healthy snacks such as hard-boiled eggs, cheese, celery, nuts, sugar-free gum, homemade “slow-carb” bars and muffins, protein shakes, cucumbers, yogurt, and sugar-free JELL-O.
5. Splurge away from home. Your healthy eating program is a way of life. Try to stick to your new behaviors and habits everywhere you eat–at restaurants, friends’ homes, and while traveling.
6. Consume lots of artificially sweetened foods and beverages. Artificial sweeteners trigger cravings for additional sweets in some people. Others gain “false fat” or bloating caused by the body’s inability to digest sugar substitutes.
7. Count calories. Hormone (insulin) levels, not calories, are what determine your metabolism — the rate at which you burn fat. Eat balanced meals to keep your insulin levels steady and your metabolism working efficiently.
8. Eat lots of commercial low-carb products. Many companies have jumped on the “low-carb” bandwagon with high-calorie, low-nutrition snack foods that will not help you change your eating habits or lose weight.
9. Adopt a rigorous exercise routine. Exercise is important, but daily activity that you enjoy and can sustain over a lifetime is more important than killer workouts that are hard to stick with. The name of the weight-loss game is adopting habits that become second nature.
10. Load up on protein, eliminate carbs. Protein-loading has serious health risks, and few people can stay on radical high protein, low-carb diets long term. Switch to a balanced diet that features healthy amounts of protein balanced with lots of high-quality “slow carbs” — carbohydrates that convert slowly into blood sugar.