5 Bad Weight-Loss Techniques to Avoid

Aug 3 2014 - 4:30pm

When you're trying to shed pounds, it's important to steer clear of the quick fixes and focus instead on healthy weight-loss strategies. It's not always easy to decide which diet tips you should follow, though, so we've rounded up five common weight-loss techniques you should avoid.

Cutting Entire Food Groups

Giving up entire food groups can lead to a nutritional deficiency — not to mention trigger major cravings for whatever food has been cut. Rather than, say, eliminating all carbohydrates, focus on whole grains and remember to watch out for portion control. Usually it's the extra servings that add to your waistline, not the pasta itself.

Keep your pasta calories in check with these tricks [1], or make these low-carb veggie noodles [2].

Choosing All Cardio, All the Time

If you live on the treadmill but never lift a pound, you're missing out on one of the most important pieces of the fitness puzzle. Not only does weight training prevent injury by strengthening the joints, but it also builds muscle mass and increases metabolic rate [3]. Bonus: thanks to a revved-up metabolism, you'll keep burning calories long after you've slipped off your sneakers.

New to lifting weights? These tips for starting strength training [4] will help you out.

Exercising on an Empty Stomach

If you regularly exercise without eating first, you should reconsider — when you work out on an empty stomach, research shows that the calories burned come from muscle, not fat. It's important to fuel your body before exercising because not only will you avoid losing muscle, but you'll also have more energy to push yourself through your workout.

Here are some suggestions for easily digestible snacks to eat right before your sweat session [5].

Skimping on Sleep

Making time for your workouts can mean less time for sleep, but it's important to get enough zzz's if you're trying to lose weight. You need extra energy to keep up with your exercise routine, and skimping on sleep can affect your body's ability to control appetite. Too little sleep increases an appetite-stimulating hormone [6], so if you don't get enough shut-eye, you may be tempted to overindulge.

If shut-eye tends to elude you, try these tips for falling asleep faster [7].

Skipping Meals

Cutting calories is key to weight loss, but missing out on meals can wreak havoc on your metabolism. When you wait too long to eat, your body reacts by slowing down your metabolism [8] and delaying your weight-loss efforts. If your schedule is the issue and you're simply too busy to sit down and eat a full meal, store small snacks in your purse to eat throughout the day so that you can keep your metabolism moving.

Check out our suggestions for healthy store-bought snacks [9] for when you're on the go.

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