12 New Weight Loss Dos & Don'ts That Will Blow Your Mind

Adriana Velez | Jun 23, 2015 Healthy Living
12 New Weight Loss Dos & Don'ts That Will Blow Your Mind

woman drinking protein shakeIt seems like every other day there's another article about how exercise alone isn't going to help you lose weight -- and that working out can actually make you gain weight. So does that mean you can skip the gym? Is exercise the new high fructose corn syrup?  

Lace those gym shoes back up, because the right exercise will support your weight loss goals -- and help you maintain great health. Here's the inside scoop!

Have you ever gained weight after starting an exercise program?

weight loss dos and don'ts

Image via bogdanhoda/shutterstock; Luis Louro/shutterstock

  • Do Make Food Your Main Focus


    Image via Magdanatka/Shutterstock

    Sara Gottfried, MD, Harvard-educated physician and board-certified gynecologist and author of The Hormone Reset Diet, says, "After 25 years of taking care of patients, I believe that weight loss is 75-85 percent food and the remainder is exercise. That means food should be the focus when it comes to losing weight."

    So, for starters, cut out that sugar and processed junk. Gottfried recommends clean, lean protein, high-fiber foods, sulfur-rich foods (cruciferous and onions), healthy fats, and plenty of filtered water.

  • Don't Eat/Drink Like an Athlete


    Image via bogdanhoda/Shutterstock

    Unless you're training for a professional athletic event, you don't need protein shakes, energy drinks and gels, or carb loads. If you're trying to lose weight, Dr. Gottfried advises you also avoid high-fructose fruit (bananas, dried apricots, huge and sweet apples) as they can cause issues with leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full.

  • Do Eat More Fat


    Image via Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

    Yes, really. In addition to the obvious foods you should be eating (vegetables, high-fibre foods), Dr. Gottfried recommends eating more high-quality fat, "especially marine oil (cold-water, wild-caught fish and shellfish), plant-based (avocados, olives) and medium chain triglycerides (MCT oil, derived from coconut oil)." Those foods will raise your leptin levels, which help you feel more full.  

  • Don't Do Steady Cardio


    Image via Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

    Steady cardio (like running at the same pace for 30 minutes) is fine exercise if your levels of the stress hormone cortisol are relatively low and you're not looking to lose weight. It does the heart and lungs much good! But if you're trying to lose weight, it's not going to be enough to shed pounds after the first few months.

    More from The Stir: Exercise Can Actually Make You Gain Weight

  • Do High Interval Training


    Image via Maridav/Shutterstock

    Dr. Gottfried agrees with various exercise experts who say burst training, or high interval training (like Tabata Protocol), is far more effective for weight loss than ordinary cardio. That's when you alternate between working out at maximum effort and then shifting down to lower-intensity exercise.

    "I find that chronic unresolved stress is key obstacle to weight loss for women, and spending 40 minutes running or on an elliptical makes cortisol rise higher," she observes. "It's better to burst train, where you raise cortisol briefly, then recover, and do it again."

  • Don't Exercise for the Calorie Burn


    Image via Ana Blazic Pavlovic/Shutterstock

    Ah, bummer -- the calorie counter on your treadmill is lying to you. You still need exercise, but for different reasons.

    "Based on an exhaustive review of the literature, I think exercise helps more with the focus, motivation, and new keystone habit formation of weight loss than calorie burn," says Dr. Gottfried. In other words, getting into the habit of working out inspires you to simultaneously eat less sugar and more fiber, which will lead to weight loss.

  • Do Yoga, Barre, or Pilates


    Image via Andresr/Shutterstock

    Dr. Gottfried also recommends incorporating "adaptive exercise" -- like yoga, pilates, or barre -- into your routine to "improve stress resilience." Feel the ommmmm!

  • Don't Compensate Exercise With More Food


    Image via tockcreations/Shutterstock

    Whether you're rewarding yourself for workout by eating a cupcake, justifying that Frappuccino because you just burned "a lot" of calories, or absentmindedly eating larger portions after spin class, post-workout compensation eating can undermine your weight loss goals.

    "When weight loss is the goal, you need to find non-food strategies to reward yourself and reset cortisol, such as a massage, tea with a girlfriend, jewelry, a great book," Dr. Gottfried notes.

    More from The Stir: The REAL Reason You're Not Losing Weight Even Though You're Exercising

  • Do Exercise for Your Brain


    Image via Brocreative/Shutterstock

    Exercise also helps raise your brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), "which is like MiracleGRO for the brain and that helps with changing the weight set point in the brain," says Dr. Gottfried. (The weight set point is that weight your body wants to stay at -- and the reason why you struggle to shed those last five to 10 pounds!)

    More from The Stir: Hate Working Out? 10 Simple Steps That Could Change That

  • Don't Stop Exercising After You've Lost the Weight


    Image via Guryanov Andrey/Shutterstock

    Awesome news: Once you lose the weight, you get to ... keep exercising! As Dr. Gottfried reveals in her book, only 20 percent of people who lose weight maintain that loss. One of the best strategies for keeping that hard-won weight loss is a high level of consistent exercise.

    "In other words, use exercise to create the weight loss mindset, then increase exercise when you reach your weight loss goal to maintain it," she says. And remember: "Focus on the food throughout, since it's the small hinge that swings the big door." 

diets eating habits eating healthy exercise weight loss

More Slideshows