How NOT to Lose Weight

Here is a short list of 5 things you don’t want to do if you want to successfully lose weight.

DON’T:

1) Have unrealistic expectations.

She can thank herself and her momma for this perfect body. She takes care of it and her momma gave her the good genes!

She can thank herself and her momma for this perfect body. She takes care of it and her momma gave her the good genes!

Weight loss takes time. When you give it all the time it takes you can lose weight and be a lighter and maybe healthier version of you. That is a realistic and fabulous expectation.

If you’re trying to lose weight as fast as you can don’t be surprised when you’re disappointed. You may lose weight quickly but it may not be fast enough to satisfy you. You may be thinner but you could also be less healthy because you’re not getting all the nutrients necessary for good health.

FInally you have a genetic blueprint that makes you YOU. You can’t expect to be anything but a thinner you. If you want to have legs likes Heidi Klum and abs like Alessandra Ambrosio you will need to have similar traits in your gene pool.

2) Starve yourself.

Forget the "Watermelon Diet" and every other very low-calorie diet! Starving yourself in the name of weight loss is a very bad idea!

Forget the “Watermelon Diet” and every other very low-calorie diet! Starving yourself in the name of weight loss is a very bad idea!

It might make sense to go on a very low calorie diet to compensate for all those years of eating a very high calorie diet. Don’t do it.

You will lose weight, of course, but much of the weight loss will come from lean tissue as well as body fat. When the calorie deficit gets too great, the body doesn’t just use stored body fat to fuel itself, it raids your lean tissue (muscle) too. You could end up with a skinny, unfit body.

You also have effectively lowered your calorie burn at rest rate because losing muscle means that your body burns fewer calories at rest. Yes, that increases your likelihood of regaining lost weight faster and possibly gaining back more (maybe a lot more) weight than you lost and it will cause a negative shift in your fat to lean tissue body composition putting you at a higher risk of metabolic disease such as type 2 diabetes.

3) Hurt yourself with too much exercise.

Running 8 miles a day is smart if you're in training for a marathon. If you are trying to burn a lot of calories to lose weight, it's a bad idea because it's probably not going to be a sustainable behavior and it puts you at high risk of an exercise-related injury.

Running 8 miles a day is smart if you’re in training for a marathon. If you are trying to burn a lot of calories to lose weight, it’s a bad idea because it’s probably not going to be a sustainable behavior and it puts you at high risk of an exercise-related injury.

If a little exercise is good for weight loss, then it stands to figure a lot is better – right? Wrong! The more exercise you do the greater your chances are of getting hurt. This is particularly true of people who are engaging in heavy exercise to lose weight fast without the guidance and expertise of a physical trainer.

Even if you don’t hurt yourself you can hurt your chances of maintaining your loss by going overboard with exercise. Think long term – when exercise is a major part of your weight loss equation, it must be just as important to your maintenance efforts. If you drop back to a reasonable level of exercise once you have reached goal you will be burning fewer calories. If you think you can eat more when you no longer want to lose AND exercise a lot less (or go back to being sedentary) your weight goal will be fleeting.

4) “Detoxing” yourself.

Your body detoxes itself safely and efficiently without any interference from  you. Detoxing at best doesn't interfere with your body and at worst can cause serious threats to your safety or health.

Your body detoxes itself safely and efficiently without any interference from you. Detoxing at best doesn’t interfere with your body and at worst can cause serious threats to your safety or health.

Detox diets? Hold up! What for? What exactly do you think you need to detoxify and how do you think it’s going to promote better weight loss? It doesn’t.

Cleanses can make you weight less by removing stool and water from your body, but that’s not the same as losing stored body fat. It’s temporary and it can be dangerous. You are risking dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.

“Losing lots of fluid without medical supervision is a bad idea. When you combine that with fasting it’s even more dangerous. Your body is knows how to detoxify and excrete toxins. It’s built to do that all by itself without your interference just like it breathes and circulates blood automatically. That means that cleanses are unnecessary and dangerous and can lead to serious complications by messing with your body’s system.

Instead of detoxifying, pay attention to what you eat. If you want to cleanse or detoxify your body, drink plenty of water and eat lots of high-fiber foods including lots of fruit and vegetables.

5) Use drugs that are not specifically prescribed by your physician for the purpose of weight loss.

If you need prescription medication to help you lose weight, your bariatrician is the person to decide what you need. Street drugs and legal meds (not meant for weight loss) are better left untouched.

If you need prescription medication to help you lose weight, your bariatrician is the person to decide what you need. Street drugs and legal meds (not meant for weight loss) are better left untouched.

There are both legal and illegal drugs that are rumored to help with weight loss. Using drugs other than prescription weight loss drugs prescribed by your physician for the specific purpose of weight loss is a mistake with the potential for a very scary outcome.

The risks associated with abusing drugs such as cocaine, speed, and meds prescribed for attention deficit disorder, thyroid disorders, or diabetes to lose weight are serious and must be considered. They include addiction, relationship and financial problems, anxiety, severe headaches, stroke, and heart,lung, and kidney problems.

Using illegal drugs for any purpose is simply a very bad idea. 

Using legal drugs (which, by the way, if they were not prescribed for you, are also illegal) for their unintended purpose is dangerous. A bariatrician can decide if you need the help of meds to lose weight and if so, prescribe the appropriate meds and evaluate their safety and efficacy while you are taking them as directed.

In case you missed it, here are 5 tips for lasting weight loss!

 

 

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is the general manager of Weight Watchers of Maine. She is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. Her experience with her own weight management journey and raising girls has given her insight into the struggles families face with weight, healthy body image, food and physical activity. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news for more than ten years and appears monthly as a guest on FOX network morning program Good Day Maine.