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10 Things You SHOULDN'T Do if You're Trying to Lose Weight

Fitday Editor

I often tell people the things they shouldn't do if they're trying to drop a few (or maybe several) pounds, rather than tell them what they should do. You see, what you should do is so simple that people have trouble believing it works. Here's the magic should equation:

Eat a well balanced diet that includes ALL foods (some foods need more moderation than others) + Listen to your body + Move + Learn how to enjoy food, eating and exercise = Healthy way to lose weight and maintain it.

Yes, it might take a little longer to see results if you follow this simple equation, but wouldn't you rather see results that will last a lifetime?

That said, here are the 10 things you shouldn't do if you want to enjoy healthy, lasting weight loss and a happy relationship with food:

  1. Go On A Diet

    Restricting your calories will slow your metabolism and force your body to hold onto its fat stores. Also, dieting won't help you change your lifestyle, and it will only make you miserable. Have you ever seen a happy person who is on a diet? People who diet usually gain the weight back quickly, plus a few extra pounds. You should never eat less than 1,200 calories of real food per day. Low-fat varieties of foods are often higher in sugar than most, and they don't provide the same feel or taste, so you end up eating more. It's better to have a realistic portion of the "real" stuff and feel satisfied.

  2. Label Foods As "Good" or "Bad"

    Once you start labeling foods, you're going to want all the "bad" ones. All foods can be enjoyed as part of a healthy weight-loss program, because every food has something to offer either your body or your mind. Yes, even ice cream. Think moderation, not elimination.

  3. Skip Meals

    When you skip meals, you force your body to hold onto fat stores, depress your metabolism and lose muscle. Did you know that people who skip meals tend to eat more calories than those who eat consistently?

  4. Eliminate an Entire Food Group

    Reaching exclusively for foods that are low-fat or low-carb causes you to miss out on essential nutrients that both your body and brain require in order to function. And let's not forget to mention the intense cravings you'll have for the eliminated food group.

  5. Use Diet Pills or Supplements

    If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. These products are usually full of caffeine and diuretics, which can put unnecessary stress on your kidneys and heart.

  6. Purge

    Any form of purging -- vomiting, laxatives, excessive exercise, etc. -- is extremely dangerous. Dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, injuries and GI issues are just some of the consequences of purging.

  7. Go on Cleanse or Detox Programs

    These programs force your body to lose water weight. You miss out on essential nutrients, experience dehydration, force electrolyte imbalances and work against your body's natural detox system.

  8. Eat Too Quickly

    If you rush through your meal, you can't savor the flavors or let your stomach get the feeling of fullness that prevents overeating. Slow down, and really taste your food.

  9. Fail to Make Meals Special

    Every meal doesn't have to be served on your finest china, but eating should not be done in the car, at your desk or in front of the television. You are more likely to overeat if you are multitasking during mealtime.

  10. Be Unrealistic

    If you set unrealistic goals, you won't be able to achieve them, and the feeling of failure could cause you to binge or give up. People who set small, attainable weekly goals tend to make lasting changes.

When you stop obsessing over food and your body image, you can start focusing on moderation, balance and variety, which will help you achieve lasting weight-loss results and lead to a happier, healthier you!

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Joanne Perez, MS, RDN, LD is a Savannah-based dietitian who, after 20 years of food service and clinical dietetics, made the switch to nutrition communications and all things tech. She doesn't believe in diets and thinks that life is too short to be anything but happy and healthy at any weight. Read her blog, Real Bite Nutrition, and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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