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10 ways to lose weight that you should stay away from

glass of sugar cubes

There are so many ways to lose weight out there, with so many different rules attached to them. The diet companies are getting smarter in their approaches though, so now we often have rules that mean we don’t even know we’re dieting any more!

Even when we stop a diet plan and have the intention of ‘just maintaining a healthy diet’ (for example) we can still hold on to these rules that we have set ourselves, or that hang on from old diets.

Then there are the ways to lose weight that say they’re not diets, but are ‘just good sense’ or ‘healthier’.

I’m going to break some of these diet rules down for you, so that you can see them for what they actually are and stay well away from t

I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.

Mae West

#1 Slimming Clubs

Why you’d want to do it:
It’s a social thing, isn’t it. You and your buddy are going to join a slimming club. You’re going to do this together. You’ve seen others do it and lose loads of weight, so you’re keen to try it. It looks like an easy plan to follow, and you can ‘eat anything you want’ (so the diet will have you believe).

Why you shouldn’t do it:
Slimming clubs teach you nothing about good nutrition, healthy eating habits, what is right for your body, or why your eating patterns are the way that they are before you started the diet. You follow a set plan, with set foods and set points systems, and there is very little consideration for you as an individual.

#2 Crash diets - e.g.shakes, cambridge plan, clean 9 etc

Why you’d want to do it:
It’s a quick fix. You’ll lose a lot of weight very quickly.

Why you shouldn’t do it:
This is one of the worst methods of them all. They are based on an incredibly low number of calories, which is very harmful on the body in itself. You don’t eat a good range of foods, you again learn nothing about nutrition or your own relationship with food, and they are insanely expensive. Once you stop that weight is going to come bouncing back as quick as it left you. Plus, you can’t keep this diet up for long, surely?

#3 meal plans

Think cookbook, celebrity plan, personal trainers selling diet plans etc.

Why you’d want to do it:
No thought involved. Good results promised and no having to work out calories and macros because it’s done for you.

Why you shouldn’t do it:
Even if they say they’re tailoring it to you, they’re not really. They’re using a vague online calculator to work out the numbers and then adjusting the food to fit this. No consideration given to your personal needs, your biological needs, your likes and dislikes. Plus, they’re incredibly boring if you are eating the same meals over and over again.

sliced bread

#4 Cutting carbs (keto diet)

Why you’d want to do it:
Quick fix and fast weight loss, and carbs are bad for you right?

Why you shouldn’t do it:
It’s not as quick a fix as you think. After a quick burst of weight loss the losses slow right down, as with most other diets. Plus, all you’re really doing is cutting calories most of the time. The body needs carbohydrates as fuel so they’re a vital part of the diet. By cutting them out, especially long term, you are putting your body in a stress state and doing real damage. Carbs are also needed for healthy digestion, so prepare for stomach and toilet troubles once you’ve cut them out of your diet.

#5 Cutting sugar

Why you’d want to do it:
It feels like it should be healthy. Sugar is bad for you…. isn’t it? Lots of people online say so. And it seems like an easy thing to cut out of your diet.

Why you shouldn’t do it:
It is a super restrictive way of eating. Sugar is very difficult to cut out of the diet. It’s in most convenience foods, and it’s naturally found in many fruits and vegetables, which we know are so good for us. There are no real reasons to cut sugar from your diet. It is not the devil food that it is made out to be. It’s also not a sustainable way of living long term. See also ‘Cutting carbs’ re. your body needing carbs to live!

#6 only Eating in certain hours of the day (intermittent fasting)

Why you’d want to do it:
It feels like an easy option. You can still eat anything and everything. 

Why you shouldn’t do it:
It’s pretty much just a way to reduce calories. Eating in less hours means you may naturally eat less and therefore cut calories. HOWEVER, if you are restricting food you may also have a binge response and just eat more in that window you’re allowed to eat, because you’re subconsciously (or consciously!) going to be telling yourself that you need to make up for lost time.

alarm clock

#7 Not eating past a certain time of night (also intermittent fasting)

Why you’d want to do it:
You think that food isn’t digested properly late at night or when you’re sleeping. You think you’ll sleep better. Plus restricting the hours you eat will mean you’ll eat less.

Why you shouldn’t do it:
It’s nonsense! Although some people are physically more comfortable not eating later, other than this there’s no real dieting reason to restrict a food group after a certain time. Also, carbs are required in order to produce chemicals that send you off to sleep, so in restricting carbs you’re actually hindering your sleep. See also #6 above!

#8 Detoxes and supplements

Why you’d want to do it:
Celebs say it’s healthy. Influencers and diet companies say they’ve seen great results. You think your body needs to detox or replenish vitamins after a period of indulgence.

Why you shouldn’t do it:
Your body has an inbuilt detox system. It’s called your liver! That does the job perfectly well. You can support your liver with a good diet but to drink juices etc to detox your body is throwing money down the drain. Supplements may be useful if you don’t have a great diet, or have medical issues which mean you can’t eat properly for example, but on the whole if you eat a good range of foods you’ll probably be getting somewhere near your recommended intake of vitamins and minerals. As a side note, the one vitamin that is recommended in the UK is vitamin D. That’s a supplement worth taking.

#9 Eating only 'healthy' food

Why you’d want to do it: 
It makes you feel good. You’ll be doing something good for your body. People online have given a list of foods that are good for you and they’ve had great results.

Why you shouldn’t do it:
Placing foods on a moral scale from good to bad is going to wreak havoc with your relationship with food. It causes unnecessary restriction of some foods, and we know that this contributes to periods of binging on the foods you think are ‘bad’. Allowing all foods into your diet means no restriction, less binges, and a better overall relationship with food.

#10 Exercise to burn calories

Why you’d want to do it:
If you exercise you can eat whatever you want. You will burn the calories so it doesn’t matter.

Why you shouldn’t do it:
You never have to earn food. Full stop.

If not these diets, then what?

Intuitive eating!

Intuitive eating takes away all of those diet rules. It allows you to have a healthy relationship with food, which in turn means your eating habits are much healthier.

Plus, people who practice intuitive eating are proven to have a better overall intake of all nutrients (carbs, fats, protein, vitamins and minerals). Why would you want all the restriction above when you can eat what your body is telling you it wants, have less stress around food, and a better overall balance of foods in your life?

Want to know more??? You can find out what intuitive eating is and how to get started here:

What is Intuitive Eating?

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Please note, this post is intended to be general information only. Every care has been taken to ensure that facts and figures are correct at the time of posting. As always, please seek the support of a registered professional before making changes to your diet or lifestyle⁠, or if you feel that you are affected by any of the topics discussed.

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