There are plenty of effective weight-loss strategies that we know work, such as eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, but they aren't exactly the easiest ways to drop pounds. I don't blame you for looking for a quick fix, but some strategies can actually cause you to gain weight.
- Skipping Breakfast or Other Meals: Limiting your calorie intake will help you lose weight, but in no way does that mean forgoing entire meals, especially breakfast. To keep your blood sugars level and metabolism thrumming, try eating five to six small meals a day. This will help your body use up the calories you take in and limit the unhealthy cravings.
- Limiting Calorie Intake: While watching portion sizes is essential if you want to slim down, limiting your calorie intake to well below a healthy amount will make your body think you're starving, so instead of losing fat, it'll hold onto it for dear life. Women should never go below 1,200 calories a day; if you're not sure how many you should be eating, then check out this calorie evaluator.
- (Only) Walking Every Day: Taking your dog and yourself for a daily walk is definitely better than sitting on the couch. The problem is that compared to other higher-intensity cardio activities, walking burns much fewer calories. In order to see the weight-loss results you're after, pick up the pace by jogging, biking, or swimming.
- Ditching Your Favorite Foods: Sure, a bacon cheeseburger and french fries are superhigh in calories, but if you deny yourself the foods you crave, then it'll backfire, and you'll end up wanting them so much that you break down, eat them anyway, and give up on your healthy ways entirely. Stay on track by allowing yourself a small and reasonable indulgence each day so you feel satisfied without feeling guilty.
- Saunas: Getting all hot and sweaty certainly feels like you're working hard, but it doesn't exactly translate to a slimmer you. Stepping on the scale, you might see the numbers drop, but you're only losing water weight from sweating buckets. A sauna session can feel good on sore muscles, but if you want to lose real body weight, then stick to cardio.
- Going Carb-Free: Tons of people have lost weight by following a carb-free routine such as the Atkins Diet, which promotes eating mostly protein and avoiding carbs. The problem is that as soon as you go back to your regular, carb-full diet, you'll most likely gain the weight back. Aside from the fact that a carb-free diet is not sustainable in the long-term, there are many healthy foods high in carbs - such as fruit and whole grains - that offer valuable and essential vitamins, not to mention filling fiber, that you'll be missing out on. It's also tough to avoid bread, pasta, and cookies entirely, so denying yourself will only make you crave them more. Instead, find a balanced diet that you can live with forever; it's your best bet for losing weight and keeping it off.
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