5 Weight Loss Strategies Doomed to Fail

Losing weight is hard. Very hard.

And we can unknowingly make it even harder by embracing diet strategies that appear on the surface to be effective, but in reality will likely sabotage your weight loss goals.

Dr. Aaron Michelfelder, a family physician and a professor in the department of family medicine of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, has identified five such bad strategies you should avoid.

Bad strategy No. 1: I'll lose weight at the gym.
Working out is good for your health and can help you maintain your weight, but exercise alone is not very effective in shedding pounds. To lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories.

Bad strategy No. 2: I have to dramatically change my diet.
A radical change is not necessary. A more effective strategy is to simply cut back a few hundred calories a day. For example, if you're going to a restaurant, eat an apple before dinner to dull your appetite, and then skip the bread before the main dish arrives. Eat smaller portions and ask for a to-go container.

Bad strategy No. 3: Weight-loss supplements will make it easier.
Supplements burn more muscle than fat. And when you stop taking them, you will gain back more fat than muscle, making it worse than if you had never taken them in the first place.

Bad strategy No. 4: I want to be like the Biggest Loser and shed pounds quickly.
A more realistic--and healthy--strategy is to try to lose one to two pounds a week. If you cut back 500 calories a day (such as a bagel and cream cheese), you will lose a pound a week. If you cut back just 250 calories a day (one candy bar) you will lose two pounds a month. This will provide the slow-and-steady type of weight loss that will be long-lasting.

Bad strategy No. 5: I give up.
I'll never get down to a normal weight, so why even try? Do not despair if you do not get down to a trim, normal weight (defined as a body mass index of between 18.5 and 24.9). If you are overweight or obese, losing 10 percent of your body weight will improve your appearance and have significant health benefits, such as lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of diabetes. Even losing as little as five pounds will be good for your joints.

--From the Editors at Netscape

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