Weight Loss: What You Should Not Do

Be aware of your habits ! Below are some behaviors that can prevent you to see progress or even make you gain weight !

1. Restricting Calories Too Much
While reducing calorie intake is necessary for weight loss, it's important to avoid excessive restriction. Consuming too few calories can deprive your body of essential nutrients and energy, potentially triggering a starvation mode where your body holds onto fat instead of burning it. Prolonged calorie restriction can also lead to a decrease in metabolic rate, causing weight loss plateaus or even weight regain.

To ensure safe and sustainable weight loss, aim to reduce calorie intake by no more than 500 calories below maintenance levels and limit this restriction to a maximum of 12 weeks. This approach allows for gradual and manageable weight loss while still providing your body with the nutrients and energy it needs to function optimally.

2. Exercising Too Much
Exercise provides numerous health benefits independent of weight loss, yet excessive exercise without adequate recovery can lead to adverse effects. Excessive exercise can increase the risk of injury, mood swings, decreased performance, burnout, and even symptoms of depression. When focusing on weight loss, it's essential to prioritize dietary changes while viewing exercise as a means to promote overall health. Allow for sufficient recovery time between workouts to prevent overtraining and optimize results. Remember, a balanced approach that combines healthy eating habits, regular exercise, and adequate rest is key to achieving sustainable weight loss and overall well-being.

3. Poor Sleep Habit
Engaging in activities such as watching TV or scrolling through social media in bed, working, or eating in bed, and maintaining irregular bedtime routines are all examples of poor sleep habits. These behaviors can disrupt your internal clock, leading to shortened sleep duration or even insomnia. The adverse effects on health associated with poor sleep patterns are manifold. In the context of weight loss, inadequate sleep can result in elevated cortisol levels, which hinder fat burning.

To promote better sleep quality and support weight loss efforts, it's crucial to create a conducive sleep environment. Make your bedroom cozy, comfortable, and dark, reserving it primarily for sleep and intimacy. Minimize screen time at least 30 minutes before bedtime, as exposure to screens can interfere with melatonin production and disrupt sleep patterns. Additionally, strive to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, aiming to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. By prioritizing good sleep hygiene, you can optimize your chances of achieving both restful sleep and successful weight loss.

4. Too Much Alcohol

It's widely understood that excessive alcohol consumption is detrimental to both overall health and weight loss goals. Not only does alcohol provide empty calories—calories devoid of essential nutrients that contribute to weight gain—it also dehydrates the body rapidly. This dehydration can lead to elevated cortisol levels, promoting fat retention.

To support your weight loss efforts, it's important to limit alcohol consumption. While enjoying an occasional drink in moderation may not significantly impact weight loss, excessive or frequent alcohol intake can undermine your progress. Opt for healthier alternatives and be mindful of your alcohol consumption as you work towards your weight loss goals. Prioritizing hydration and making informed choices about alcohol consumption can help you achieve better results in your weight loss journey.

5. Cheat Days
The concept of "Cheat Days" involves occasionally indulging in foods that you wouldn't typically consume to reach your goals. While this approach may seem appealing, it can have its drawbacks. Feeling the need to "cheat" implies that you're experiencing restrictions or dissatisfaction with your regular eating habits, or perhaps struggling to resist temptation.

Research suggests that strict food restrictions often lead to binge eating behaviors. This is because we anticipate that we won't be able to enjoy certain foods for a period of time, so we tend to overindulge when given the opportunity. Consequently, it's easy to undo the progress made during the week in just one weekend.

Instead of relying on "Cheat Days," it's beneficial to make mindful choices that align with your goals on a consistent basis. Find a dietary pattern that generally satisfies you, eliminating the need for "cheating." Adopting a more flexible approach and viewing eating habits on a continuum—rather than categorizing foods as "good" or "bad," or "clean" or "not clean"—can be helpful. Focus on consuming more foods that support your goals and reducing intake of those that detract from them. By embracing a balanced and sustainable approach to eating, you can better navigate your journey towards achieving your health and wellness objectives.

6. Food Rewards
Addressing emotional ties with food can be challenging but is crucial for reaching your goals. Emotional eating can act as a significant barrier to progress, making it essential to confront and manage these feelings. The first step involves raising awareness and accepting your emotional eating habits without judgment. Keeping a journal can be a valuable tool for this process. Record how you feel and what triggers emotional eating episodes, paying attention to patterns that emerge. By becoming conscious of these patterns, you can develop a strategy for change.

The second step entails redirecting the reward associated with emotional eating towards activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Instead of turning to food for comfort, find alternative activities that provide similar satisfaction. This could involve taking a walk outdoors, reaching out to a friend for a conversation, or engaging in a hobby you enjoy. By linking the reward to these positive activities, you can gradually shift away from relying on food as a coping mechanism. With persistence and self-awareness, you can develop healthier habits and overcome emotional eating challenges on your journey to achieving your goals.

May you be happy, healthy and strong !

By Yannick Le Hellaye
CPT, ISSA, PN Certified Nutrition Coach