British women have the lowest self-esteem in the world, beaten only by Japan!
As someone living in the UK, I find this a disturbing and shocking statistic.
Many point their finger at the pressures generated by social media where everyone is having a grand old time!
Facebook breeds a “my-life-is-better-than-yours’” culture.
Instagram users all have a #perfectbody, with a #tinywaist.
Rather than providing the spurious motivation for which they’re intended, these images leave most feeling slighted, insecure and unworthy.
Let’s be clear:
Going through life as the ‘perfect’ size 10 is not in itself a worthy goal.
But striving for a healthy weight and feeling good about yourself is.
After all, you’re entitled to enjoy good health as much as the next person.
You deserve a body of which you’re proud.
And with the right knowledge, and the right mindset, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy all these things.
But like so many other great strategies, it’s often what not to do that can provide the greatest results.
For example, the single biggest contribution of modern medicine towards a longer, healthier life, is the advice to not smoke!
So, for anyone wanting to lose weight; here’s what not to do!
1. Snack ‘Under the Radar’!
Before I lost 80 lbs of excess weight, I had the crazy notion that any snacks under someone else’s roof ‘didn’t count’!
And while it’s true that the odd, small transgression doesn’t really count, all those licks of the spoon and titbits you allow yourself as you’re preparing a meal soon add up!
Be honest! Take a closer look by jotting down everything you plan to eat and drink that day. Then write down what you actually consume…you may be surprised!
Look for patterns and triggers. What is it that stopped you eating as you’d planned?
For example, one common cause is not having healthy choices to hand, or being too tired to cook.
2. Reward Your Workout With Food!
Let’s face it: motivation becomes a helluva lot easier when we’re allowed the carrot at the end of the stick.
But when that carrot becomes a sugary donut you may want to question your intentions!
And whilst post exercise nutrition is undoubtedly important, don’t allow exercise to be an excuse to eat as much as you like!
There’s a far greater mis-match between food and exercise than most people think.
To give you an idea, one Starbucks latte takes 80 minutes to walk off!
3. Ignore Your Muscles!
Thankfully, women around the world are beginning to embrace the insane health and weight loss benefits of strength training. Strong is the new beautiful!
The downright evil notion of more muscle corresponding to a bulky, unattractive body that looks no different from a fat one is completely false.
Toning muscles does not make you big. Eating too much food makes you big!
Training muscle, even with some heavy lifting, is one of the best ways to lose fat.
As a matter of fact, after a high-intensity weight session, the body basically becomes a fat burning machine for the next 48 hours!
An exciting prospect known as the ‘afterburn’ – you’ll scorch additional calories by literally doing nothing. What a payoff!
Related post: 13 Exercises That Burn More Fat Than Running!
4. Eat “Diet” Foods!
The dangerous chemical in Diet Coke, aspartame, has been proven to cause more weight gain than regular Coke!
This seems completely counterintuitive until you realize that the label on that Diet Coke is just a marketing strategy, not a medical verdict.
Coke’s free to call its products whatever it wants. The fact is that you are better off eating raw, natural sugar than you are eating fake sugar substitutes.
And whilst eating sugar isn’t something I condone,at least the body knows what to do with sugar. It doesn’t with unnatural chemicals like aspartame.
Your body puts stuff like aspartame to the side in fatty deposits – basically quarantining it to deal with it later (and then never dealing with it!).
5. Expect Perfection.
It’s worth remembering that hitting your target can take time. And there may be times when things don’t go entirely according to plan.
But beating yourself up could unwittingly be setting yourself up to fail.
In fact, what’s only a minor slip, starts to feel like a major setback.
As a result, overwhelm and despair often kick in and you unravel all your good work!
Rather, treat your mistakes as an opportunity to learn.
This can actually take you closer to your goal!
Instead of giving yourself a hard time, think, “What can I do differently next time?”
6. Starve Yourself Into a Smaller Swimsuit!
A dangerous ‘strategy’!
Simply starving yourself until your stomach shrinks, is perhaps the worst thing that you can do to your body.
First, your malnourished frame will be unable to exercise to the level that you need to keep weight off.
Secondly, your body will go into a hibernation state and retain more of the fat that you do take in.
Remember: in general, an average, adult woman should never eat less than 1,200 calories per day.
7. Skip Out on Meals (Especially Breakfast)!
“I feel so bloated after breakfast” is not an excuse to skip it!
You feel bloated because you are eating the wrong foods for your body, not because breakfast is inherently evil.
Breakfast is especially important because your body is basically starving after 8 hours of sleep (you are getting 8 full hours of sleep, aren’t you?).
If you don’t eat breakfast, the aforementioned state of hibernation will impose itself upon you for at least the rest of the day.
Over time, this creates those hardcore fatty deposits that are especially difficult to get rid of.
8. Count Calories.
It’s true: your body changes in response to lifestyle decisions.
Unless you want to count calories for the rest of your life, you shouldn’t get into this practice for the sole reason of losing weight.
Because when you stop counting because you have, oh say, actual WORK to do, your weight will swoop right back in!
What’s the answer?
If you want to ensure the right amount of energy in your diet, eat organic foods in a balanced way that corresponds to your activity level.
In conclusion: if you don’t binge or gorge, instead of you counting calories, the calories will more or less count themselves!
Related post: The Boiled Egg Diet: Lose 20 Pounds in 2 Weeks
9. Pretend The Sauna is Exercise!
Sweating does not necessarily equate to fitness.
And any excess weight that you do lose in a sauna will be all water.
What’s more, as soon as you drink anything, you’ll immediately put that weight back on!
The sauna is meant to be a reward of sorts after an intense exercise session, not an exercise in and of itself.
Use it to help sore muscles recover more quickly so that you can return to the high-intensity exercise that is necessary to maintain a low-fat body.
Another common myth is that sweating helps rid your body of toxins. This is a job reserved for your liver and kidneys. Sweating merely functions to keep us cool.
Related post: 11 Yoga Poses for Weight Loss
10. Ignore The Most Important Nutrient of All!
Can you guess what it is?
Not only does your 8 glasses a day help you shed stubborn fat, but it’s essential for every other biological process.
Simply put, if you drop below your healthy water weight for an extended period of time, you will get sick, tired, exhausted and irritable.
Combine this with the fact that lean muscle actually has more water than fatty tissue, you’ll lose all your feminine curves and shape. No!
In conclusion, a sparkling glass of refreshing H2O, helps you burn more calories and will suppress your appetite if consumed before meals.
What’s more, it’s 100% calorie free!
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I love your blog. There’s so much content out there that is confusing or simply untrue. As a scientist I find it so irritating. Thanks for sharing real information 🙂 I laughed out loud – sweat is for keeping us cool 🙂 brilliant! 🙂
Hi Eglé. Thanks so much for your comment. I do try to ‘keep it real’ and not pander to the latest fitness and diet trends! That’s what so great about the human body – it doesn’t follow trends. Works the same way it has done for millennia and will continue to do so :). Cheers for reading. Best, Peter