10 Popular Weight-Loss Tips That Can Actually Cause Weight Gain
Whether we read it in a magazine, read it on Instagram, or heard it from your best friend's sister, we're inundated with weight-loss tips on how to drop founds fast. Some advice is not so good and can actually make the pounds pile on. Here's a list of do-not-follow tips.
- Never eat past 7 p.m.: What time you stop eating has nothing to do with how much weight you'll gain or lose. What does matter is how many calories you consume each day. So instead of giving yourself a cutoff time to stop eating, give yourself a daily calorie amount.
- You only need cardio to lose weight: While going for a 30-minute run will burn about 270 calories, cardio alone isn't the best use of your time. Be sure to include strength training since having muscle increases your metabolism to help you burn more calories.
- Weigh yourself daily to stay on track: Monday you're 140, Tuesday you're 139, and Wednesday you're 141! These fluctuations have to do with how much water you're retaining or when the last time was that you had a bowel movement. Although completely normal, they can be damn discouraging and even make you feel less motivated to eat that salad for lunch or hit that 7 p.m. workout. Since slow and steady weight loss wins the race, once a week scale dates are enough. But also monitor your progress by factoring in your energy levels, your fitness endurance, and how your clothes fit.
- As long as you exercise, you don't have to watch what you eat: That 30- to 60-minute workout doesn't give you the green light to eat pizza and cookies all day. Practicing portion control is essential because if you eat more calories than you use up, you're going to actually gain weight.
- Cut out all carbs: While cutting out bread, pasta, rice, baked goods, and fruit may help you drop pounds fast, certified dietitian Leslie Langevin, MS, RD, CD of Whole Health Nutrition says you can't sustain this diet and you shouldn't because carbs are what your body needs for energy. Instead of saying "no" to all carbs, limit the amount you eat and make sure what you choose are complex carbs such as quinoa and barley and whole wheat bread and pasta, and you should opt for an actual orange instead of OJ (the fiber will fill you up longer).
- Skip meals to save calories: This sounds like it'll work, but your body is smart. If you don't eat, it stores fat to use for energy later, which makes losing weight impossible. Instead of skipping a meal, eat small meals more frequently to ensure you're using up the calories you're taking in.
- Drink diet soda instead of regular soda: While it is lower in calories, Leslie says that artificial sweeteners are just as addictive as regular ones, which can cause cravings for more sweets. Fruit-infused waters or herbal teas are way healthier, and if it's something sweet you crave, have a piece of fruit.
- Eat low-fat: The diet craze in the '90s was all about low-fat, but we've learned that eating healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, and nuts "can actually help us to increase our metabolic rate and lose more weight than by eating a low-fat diet."
- Keep a pair of jeans that are one size too small for motivation: Now that's just cruel. Positive reinforcement is way more motivating, so every time you lose five or 10 pounds, reward yourself with a relaxing yoga class or manicure.
- Do sweaty workouts in heated rooms to lose more weight: If you weigh yourself before and after a sweaty workout like hot yoga or a SoulCycle class, you'll lose a pound or more. But it's not fat you're losing — it's water weight. How much you sweat isn't an indication of how many calories you're burning. Instead focus on the length and intensity of the workout.