You’ve put on some pounds. It happens. And it’s okay. So often we’re bombarded with things we must start to do to lose weight stat. But what about all the things you’re already doing that may be adding to the problem? As much as I hate to come from a place of “don’ts”, here’s a list of things it’s a good idea not to do when you’ve gained weight.
Don’t Start Skipping Meals
Skipping meals won’t help you lose weight in the long run. Studies show that eating every few hours helps stabilize your blood sugar and keeps you from making bad choices at the next meal (since you’d be famished otherwise). Plan ahead, and make sure to eat every few hours. Pre-planned portioned snacks and meals will do the body good and stop you from gorging later on.
Don’t Mentally Punish Yourself
Punishing yourself by staring in the mirror with fury or calling yourself “fatty” or showing your friend your muffin top isn’t going to magically melt the fat around your waist—and it’s going to work against you. Research shows that people who practice self-compassion are more effective at changing their behaviors. Being unkind to yourself will make you more upset and likely lead to emotional eating. Accept your weight gain (for the moment), and focus on all of the amazing positive choices you are making.
Don’t Spend a Ton on New Clothes
Weight loss takes time, so it may be a while until you fit into your skinny jeans. In the meantime, get busy doing some bargain shopping. No need to splurge since your weight gain is only temporary, but stocking up on a few pieces will help you feel better about your appearance is a good idea. (There’s nothing more emotionally draining than not being able to breathe in your jeans.) Remember, feeling better will help you make better food choices.
Don’t Obsessively Weigh Yourself
The key to healthy weight loss is to stay consistent and be patient with your diet and exercise, getting adequate sleep and controlling your stress levels. Typically, a person should not lose more than one to two pounds per week, but it could be more or less depending on you and your body. And, remember your weight will fluctuate depending on how much water you are retaining, what time of day it is, and what your hormone levels are. Try weighing yourself once a week in the morning. This way you can focus on the process and not the number.
Start slow and steady, and be consistent. If you are overly ambitious, the whole plan may go by the wayside. Instead, be realistic. Also, over-exercising can lead to overeating—which can actually cause you to gain more weight.
…But Don’t Stop Exercising, Either
Think your weight gain may be due to too much muscle bulk? Before you throw your free weights out, you may want to reconsider. Some women are afraid that lifting weights may make them bulk up, but this is very unlikely to happen. Muscle is more metabolically active than other tissue and will ultimately help you lose weight. You’ll also look leaner and improve bone health.
Don’t Try a Fad Diet
The problem with “diets” is that they’re not meant to be followed for a long period of time. You’re not just looking for the easiest and fastest way out of your new jean size. You want to lose weight and sustain that for a healthier you for the long-haul. Diets usually promote some type of miracle recipe for weight loss, such as cutting out a particular food group. Problem is, once you deviate from the diet, you gain the weight back…and many times this comes on faster and more furiously. The key to sustained weight loss is to eat real (not processed) foods that incorporate a balance of healthy fats, nutrient-dense carbs, and lean protein.
Don’t Ignore Your Hunger Cues
By learning to pay attention to your hunger cues and listening to your body, you will stop yourself from overeating and teach yourself to properly satisfy your hunger without stuffing yourself silly. This doesn’t happen overnight, but you can learn to do it. You should eat when you are slightly hungry and stop eating when you are slightly satisfied. If you listen to your body, you will never over-consume too dramatically, even if the food you are eating in is decadent.
Don’t Focus On What You Can’t Eat
Why waste your energy on what you can’t eat when you can focus your attention on all of the amazing and super-powerful foods you can eat? You’ll be so much happier if you make an effort to shift your thinking in this way.
Don’t Call It Quits and Accept Your Weight Gain
Stay empowered by setting small, attainable goals. Once you see you are able to achieve these goals, you’ll feel even more motivated to practice healthy habits. Stay focused. Stay positive.