The 11 Most Common Weight-Loss Blunders Dietitians See

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The 11 Most Common Weight-Loss Blunders Dietitians See

Losing weight can be tricky business: When you’re insanely busy, it can be tough to focus on your goals in a healthy, sustainable way, let alone work towards them at all. It’s easy to fall into pitfalls, but hey, knowledge is power—when you know the traps you’re most likely to fall into, it’s easier to steer clear.

Registered dietitians know these roadblocks all too well, and they’ve helped their clients get past them, too. Here are 11 weight loss mistakes registered dietitians warn against:


“So many people embarking on a weight loss journey focus on what they can’t have—[such as] no sugar, no alcohol, no dessert, no bread, no cheese. I like to tell my readers to focus on what they can have and tally up all the filling and nutritious superfoods out there.”

–Kath Younger, R.D., blogger at Kath Eats Real Food


Betsie Van der Meer, Getty Images


“[Don’t] eliminating foods you love. Too many people who are trying to lose weight develop the all-or-nothing attitude. This way of thinking can be detrimental in the long run. Instead of depriving oneself of foods they love, they should learn how to incorporate them into their diet in a healthier way. For example, love pasta? Instead of adding a creamy high fat sauce, add lots of veggies, grilled shrimp, and toss in olive oil and garlic. Can’t live without bread? Well, you shouldn’t have to. Make a healthy sandwich for lunch on 100 percent whole grain bread with grilled chicken, avocado, lettuce, and tomato.”

—Keri Gans, M.S., R.D., author of The Small Change Diet


“Not having a solid, realistic plan [is a mistake]. People should set themselves up for success by coming up with small, challenging yet attainable action steps to work towards. Start off with a few actionable and specific goals for the first week. Once you master those, keep adding on. Before you know it, those action steps will become lifelong healthy habits.”

—Lindsey Pine, M.S., R.D., owner of Tasty Balance Nutrition


“When people are trying to lose weight, they often cut out an entire food group, like carbs or meat, but this usually just results in an unbalanced diet and even deficiencies in certain nutrients. Plus, for most people, this is not sustainable for a lifetime—I always say if you couldn’t do it for the rest of your life, it’s a diet that’s probably not going to work in the long run.”

—Sarah-Jane Bedwell, R.D., L.D.N.


andresr, Getty Images


“Green juices and smoothies are very popular right now, and a lot of people will use these as meal replacements. Unfortunately, oftentimes these beverages aren’t made up of the right mix of nutrients. Green juices lack fiber and protein, which are key nutrients in keeping you full and helping you meet your nutrient recommendations, and smoothies are typically loaded in sugar from juice, sweeteners, or too much fruit, and can be really high in calories from oversized portions of healthy fat sources like nuts and seeds.”

—Maxine Yeung, M.S., R.D., owner of The Wellness Whisk


“The biggest pitfall I constantly see my clients falling into is the calorie counting trap. Many women come to me struggling to follow a 1,200 calorie per day diet and ask me what would help them to feel more full during the day. My answer is always to eat more! We live in a culture that is so obsessed with calorie counting that oftentimes we are depriving our body of the very nutrients that will actually help us not only to live healthier, but lose more weight. In my practice I try and help my clients transition from counting calories to counting nutrients because at the end of the day, what you eat is just as important as how much you eat.”

—Emily Cope-Kyle, M.S., R.D. owner and consulting dietitian at


“I find that many people are stuck eating low-fat or fat-free versions of food, a holdover from the fat-phobic days of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. A moderate amount of fat is important as it helps with satiety. Plus, people end up replacing fat with refined carbs, which we now know can have a detrimental effect on health and weight. Include healthy fat at every meal, in the form of nuts, seeds, liquid oils, avocados, oily fish, soy, and dairy products.”

—Alissa Rumsey, M.S., R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

avocado toast

juj winn, Getty Images


“[I see people] cutting out certain fruits and vegetables because they think they contain too much sugar. Sure, some do contain a bit higher amount of naturally occurring sugars, but they also contain fiber, which helps counterbalance the effect on blood sugars. Compared to highly processed snacks and drinks, there is nothing to be worried about.”

—Michelle Dudash, R.D.N., creator of the Clean Eating Cooking School.


“The bottom line here is if there was a pill or a potion that really worked in the long term, then not one of us would be talking about weight management at all! The weight loss industry is…so successful because we are so desperate to find a quick fix. The only long-term effective weight management skill is to change the way think about fueling our bodies. We need to think of food as fuel for daily living and to fuel it the best way we can. The rest takes care of itself.”

—Jennifer O’Donnell-Giles, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D.



“You should take the weekends off from your job, not your diet. Sure, you can still have fun and go out to eat on the weekends, but make an effort not to stuff yourself to the brim with food or drinks. Simply eating mindfully when you are enjoying good food can be enough to not wreck your hard work during the week. If the weekends are a problem for you, consider weighing yourself Friday mornings and Monday mornings. If you see that number routinely creeping up on Monday, try changing your weekend routine to include more exercise and healthier food choices.”

—Heather Mason, M.S., R.D.


Jake Curtis, Getty Images


“A lot of my clients don’t drink enough water. Changing this habit is one of the easiest ways to help your health. Studies show that drinking water or eating a water-rich salad or broth-based soup before a meal can help decrease how much you eat during the meal—plus, staying hydrated helps prevent headaches, which can lead to stress eating. Figure out how you prefer to get your water: Do you like a bottle with a straw or a wide-mouthed top? Whatever your preference, keep a water container at your side as often as you can. You’ll reach for it a lot more if you don’t have to get up to fill a glass.”

—Amy Gorin, M.S., R.D., owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition

By Alexa Tucker

About the Author

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148 responses to “The 11 Most Common Weight-Loss Blunders Dietitians See”

  1. Avatar Niamh says:

    Lmao I cannot believe this article says cutting out meat will lead to an unbalanced diet, as well as promoting dairy products as a “healthy fat”. All that meat, dairy and eggs will do is make it harder for you to achieve sustainable weight loss and vibrant health

    • Avatar Lois Martin says:

      While you are certainly entitled to your own opinions on healthy eating, you are not entitled to stand on your podium and preach to those of us that have a different method of obtaining “sustainable weight loss and vibrant health.”

    • Avatar mrwufpack says:

      Funny. I tried vegan and over a few weeks became lethargic, sleeping as much as 16 hours/day and still being tired. I substituted lentils and beans for the meat I used to eat every day. I tried tofu but couldn’t stomach it. My Indian doctor, who is vegetarian herself, ran a lot of blood tests including looking for hypothyroidism but everything checked out. She said that not everyone can absorb plant-based protein as well, and that I should go back to eating meat. Within 1 day of eating meat, I was back to normal.

      We evolved to eat meat. Just because some see it as an ethical or moral issue (I agree, I love animals and recognize they have personalities/consciousness) doesn’t mean it is healthy for us to not eat meat. Please consider what you’re advocating may harm people as well.

      • Avatar Randall Hamlet says:

        I was a vegan for years. I didn’t feel any different than before or now. Even when I immediately started eating meat again (something people think makes you sick for whatever reason). You just have to be responsible enough to actually look at what you are eating.

        I do not believe you slept 16 hours a day. I do not believe your story at all, you are just lying.

        We evolved to eat mostly plant-based foods and some meats. We do not need meat anymore though.

      • Avatar vh1 says:

        Agreed I feel weak if I go too long without real protein–MEAT! A small red steak goes a long way in making me feel more energetic!

      • Avatar laura says:

        If you were tired all the time you clearly were not eating enough. 1200 calories is far too little. To feel your best you need atleast 2000 calories on a plant based diet

    • Avatar Eliot says:

      If that is true, why are vegan diets and literature full of substitutes for the nutrients in meat & dairy products? You want to be a vegan, that’s fine. Telling me it’s that way or the highway is based in your need for reassurance, not science.

    • Avatar Eliot says:

      Spoken like a vegan with an agenda.

    • Avatar chexwarrior says:

      I have been doing a ketogenic diet (which includes: lots of meat, eggs, and cheese, with little to no fruit; among other things) for several months now and lost around 30 lbs and just over 2% body fat. I also feel more energized throughout the day since my blood sugar isn’t falling off between meals. Meat and dairy are not the enemy, sugar is a much bigger problem.

      • Avatar laughingwater says:

        I too have switched to keto, due to dental issues. In my case, I made rapid improvement when I gave up dairy (except for butter from grass-fed cows). Although I avoided processed carbs, in the end, all carbs break down into sugar. All that fruit I used to eat was spiking my blood sugar. Now I get my carbs from green leafy vegetables. I use tahini instead of salad dressing.

        • Avatar chexwarrior says:

          Yeah, milk has a fair bit of carbs in it from the lactose so you have to watch out for that. Butter is just the milk fat, and hard cheeses have far less carbs than the wet stuff, before I hit my goal weight I was strict enough on keto to even cut out things like milk, and carrots.

      • Avatar vh1 says:

        Don’t forget your veggies! Those ketogenic diets are dangerous in the long run to your kidneys especially.

        • Avatar chexwarrior says:

          I ate a spinach and radicchio lettuce while I was starting out (Fiber is keto safe) and now that I’m below my weight goal and just looking to maintain weight; carrots and the like are back on the menu.
          How long is “the long run”? Does going off keto for a week or two every few months mitigate the kidney danger? Does the strictness of the diet matter (25g/day vs. 50g/day etc…)?

    • Avatar Jeanette Santori says:

      The way I understood that one, was if you are cutting out entire food groups of food that you are used to eating, with the only reasoning being trying to lose weight, that isn’t going to last or promote a healthy diet (alone). Deciding to be vegetarian or vegan because it means something to you, because you believe in it as a lifestyle and for health reasons, and going in informed on how to eat healthy as a vegan, is a different story. But if I go into it saying “meat makes me fat, I’m not going to eat it anymore,” I don’t think that’s particularly sustainable, most people will probably cave after a few weeks or a month. Sustainable diets need to create a lifestyle for you that you believe in, they can’t just consist of exercising enough willpower to deprive yourself enough to drop a few pounds.

    • Avatar Captain Jeff says:

      I am on a high protein vegetarian diet for almost 10 years now (somewhere in 2007). I tried to go vegan (lasted 2 weeks), but found it hard missing eggs & dairy, both very high in protein. I went veggie for a plethora of reasons…my own reasons. I have been told I have progressive thinking in life as a whole, so i stick to my own ideas. Today, unless you are eating organic or making everything from scratch, has crap in it…additives, preserves, refined sugar, words you cant pronounce, etc. A friend of mine is from Peru & tells me they dont use any of that in their foods. Our food industry, IMO, is responsible for so any diseases & deficiencies in this country. When I was growing up there was no ADD, ADHD, or anything like them, atleast it wasnt diagnosed as so. I grew up next to a “hyper” kid. He wasnt put on all these BS drugs our government/health industry is making millions from. So sad.
      Try to go as natural as possible so you know exactly what you’re putting in YOUR system.
      Most vets & dog specialists will tell you that every issue with your dog starts with their diet. I agree that should pertain to humans as well, if not every living organism.

  2. Avatar Debbie says:

    Why is there a link to an ad for a skinny pill accompanied by this article? I am so annoyed…

    • Avatar Jennifer Robbers says:

      That annoys me too. Most of the ads are for reasonable things, but I saw one for something called “fit tea” with progression photos of someone going from a soft belly to rock star abs. Not sure what those abs have to do with tea. SMH

    • Avatar Christie Lane says:

      That’s actually a third party ad server. Unfortunately they have no control over the content of those ads.

  3. Avatar Jennifer Robbers says:

    Where’s #12? 😉

  4. Avatar Niamh says:

    Dairy products are not a healthy fat when they are so high in cholesterol and hormones. Also fish (no matter how oily) are some of the most toxic things we can put in our bodies.

    • Avatar Anna says:

      I agree vegan all the way !!

    • Avatar Jagan Kumaravelu says:

      Say WHAT??? I don’t know about fish, but I am not giving up my eggs for anything in the world. And I will never believe eggs are dangerous at all. And there are studies coming out in hordes which proves that dietary cholesterol does not affect your body’s cholesterol levels. So if you still want to keep that thought, its your problem.

      • Avatar chexwarrior says:

        The studies that vilified dietary cholesterol looked at blood levels shortly after eating, however longer term studies show that the body regulates cholesterol to normal levels even after eating a cholesterol heavy meal. Additionally eating fat helps your body burn fat, carbs reduce your ability to burn fat. So in a high fat low carb diet your body is burning the cholesterol and keeping it from building up, while a low fat high carb diet means that your body is retaining nearly all the fat that comes in.
        TLDR eating cholesterol is not the heart killer some people believe it is.

        • Avatar He-Man says:

          Sorry, but this is wrong. A low fat high carb diet does not mean that the body is holding onto all fat because of high insulin or anything because your body is strong fat every time you eat, partially due to the action of insulin but also other hormones as well. What matters is that at the end of the day that insulin returns to baseline, which is what happens when you are in a calorie deficit or sleeping.

          And I need to respectfully correct you on the eat fat to burn fat mantra. The body does not burn more body fat by ingesting more dietary fat, but it does burn more intramuscular triglycerides as energy. The only thing that causes the body to burn stored fat is an energy deficit. This is all that the scientific literature has shown for the past 100 years. Metabolic ward studies have also never shown a metabolic advantage to a low carb diet. If you prefer it and enjoy it and can stick to it, more power to you. But please don’t confuse people anymore than they already are by telling them things which just aren’t true.

          • Avatar He-Man says:

            But you are correct: cholesterol is certainly not the villain it was made out to be, but neither are carbohydrates. Extremes in both directions are rarely a good idea.

    • Avatar chexwarrior says:

      Depending on the species and how it is harvested some fish can be high in mercury, but to say that fish “are some of the most toxic things we can put in our bodies” is pure falsehood.

  5. Avatar John says:

    I like the article but disagree about the calorie counting. If you have no idea how many calories you are eating, how are you suppose to be in a caloric deficit?

    The number one problem I see with people is they simply eat too many calories, even when they think they aren’t or they aren’t eating enough, but don’t know it. The reason, they are not counting calories or not doing it accurately.

    Also, counting calories with measuring cups is not accurate enough. Use an electronic gram scale. I have seen plenty of people go from gaining to losing weight by making this one change in their life.

    Once you lose the weight you will have a much better idea of what you are eating and can usually put the counting calories away while at maintenance. If your weight creeps up, start counting again, figure out your mistakes and make adjustments.

    • Avatar Beveybs says:

      My husband’s trainer suggested an app to keep up with what you eat. I was one that wasn’t eating enough and feeling it. Since I’ve started using the app, and with recommendations about diet changes that help me focus on the positive, after 4 weeks I’ve lost 10 lbs. My goal is “healthy” not just the weight loss. I agree that we need to keep up with what we’re eating. One thing the app taught me, as we do splurge once in a while for a special occasion, is I do not want to eat hot wings from a restaurant. Too much sodium for someone who is trying to get her blood pressure down. I have looked up recipes to make changes in the comfort foods to have healthy alternatives to the traditional items we were raised on.

    • Avatar Melba says:

      Totally agree! I couldn’t believe how off I was when I was “eyeballing” measurements. Oy, pasta? Definitely measure it and when it’s cooked. And I’m glad I started measuring peanut butter too. While it does have some nutritional value, I suspect most people don’t know what an actual serving size of it looks like.

      I thought I was eating 1500 calories a day but it ended up being around 1800+ . -___-

      Lesson learned!

      • Avatar Jagan Kumaravelu says:

        I tend to disagree. Since you took the example of pasta, what I have been doing so far is get the electronic gram scale, put the bowl on the scale and tare (i.e. subtract) the weight of the bowl. Then I break the dry pasta in a way that I can put it into the bowl. The common serving size for pasta (on the nutrition labels) is 200 calories for 56g of dry pasta. If you want to eat only 200 calories from the pasta, put in exactly 56g of the dry pasta and stop. Then cook that 56g of pasta with water. Since water carries no calories or nutrients, your cooked pasta’s macros will be the same as the macros for the specific amount of dry pasta that you used. Note: This assumes that you only use dry pasta and water to cook your spaghetti. If you put any other ingredients, then this theory is not valid and you will have to add the macros for every additional ingredient you add.

        • Avatar BMS says:

          My biggest issue with this is cooking for more than one person. If I have to cook two meals – one for me, one for the family – then I’m going to give up. I did some calibrating so that I could know how many calories and whatnot were in typical cooked portions, because it makes family meals easier.

          I definitely envy single people sometimes. My skinny teenagers can apparently eat an entire whale without gaining an ounce, so making sure there is enough food for them without me eating all the leftovers is a challenge.

      • Avatar Pete Foret says:

        I think what they are saying is calorie counting all the time because calorie counting is not a lifestyle.

        • Avatar chexwarrior says:

          Calorie counting is a good starting point, but once you get used to how much you can eat in a typical day and stay within your calorie (and macro nutrient) goal it becomes more hassle that it is worth to count every calorie every day for the rest of your life.

        • Avatar madmax says:

          Exactly. Once you stop counting calories, you will start putting on weight unless it is a life style change. Eating right and regular strenuous exercise is the key.

      • Avatar Tish says:

        Try PB2 it’s a dry peanut butter. And depending how much you weigh is how much calories you need to get cause if you body goes from 1800 to 1200 your body is going to go into survival mode and feel it’s being starved.

      • Avatar clarknt67 says:

        Calorie counting with a scale helped for me lose 30 pounds in 4 months just because I had no ideas what an appropriate serving size was. There were also a good handful of foods I ate regularly that I was surprised were huge calorie bombs.

        And I have learned if I make healthy choices I can feel perfectly satisfied on 1,500–1,800 calories a day.

        The problem with the tip is calories do matter. The age old of calories in/calories out just works— if you are careful to avoid the many potential accounting errors. Perhaps the dietician is just making the point not to live under calorie tyranny. Some days you will blow past your budget and do not sweat it. It is a life time goals.

    • Avatar Lihong Chen says:

      I don’t agree that counting calorie is a good way for weight-loss. First, it is not listening to our body. If our body is telling us that we are hungry while we are eating a lot, it means that we are either not eating the right food or not at the right time. Second, the body is very smart. When we cut down our calorie intake, the body will adjust its energy expenditure to meet the energy intake. Overall, we are not in much a calorie deficit as we think unless we are fasting or doing extreme exercise. Third, it will cause anxiety, which is one of the biggest enemies for weight management. For most people, calorie counting will work temporarily and they will regain their body weight just like those people in the “Biggest Loser”.

      • Avatar Beth says:

        Weight loss only happens with a calorie deficit. This has been proven time and time again in scientific metabolic ward studies. Sure, psychologically one might be affected by whether or not one knows that they are in a calorie deficit, but regardless, a calorie deficit is necessary for weight loss. Yes, the body adjusts energy expenditure to a point, but that is exactly why Emily Cope-Kyle above suggests not reducing to 1200.. it’s not sustainable, unless you are a smaller woman. And I’m not sure what you mean by “We are not in much of a calorie deficit as we think unless we are fasting or doing extreme exercise.” Most people who are tracking/measuring their food are also tracking/measuring activity, and if they are honest and accurate about both, they likely have a pretty darn good idea what kind of calorie deficit they have. I count calories, and I track my food and activity, and I’m fully aware that I’m running a very small deficit.
        As for your last comment, I feel like “Biggest Loser” is a pretty extreme comparison. We are talking 3000 calorie deficits on starvation diets with extreme exercise on that show.. a far cry from someone trying to cut out 500 calories per day and lose a pound per week.

        • Avatar Lihong Chen says:

          First, I am not arguing about calorie deficit. It is the first law of thermodynamics. Second, I am glad that calorie counting actually worked for you. It will be interesting to know how much and how long it worked. Anyway, most of the people I knew couldn’t stay on that track for a long time. Not to mention that many of them didn’t even want to start or miscalculate their energy balance. However, I have to say that there was a group of people who started on that path and kept their weight loss for a long time. The true driving force was the general awareness of healthy eating (or lifestyle) but not calorie counting. Third, I never said that calorie counting won’t work for weight loss. Personally, I still don’t think it is a good way. Maybe I should say there are better ways for sustainable weight management.

          • Avatar Beth says:

            I know you posted this response a month ago but I only just now saw it on disqus and if anything, it’s probably helpful I’ve had a month to reflect.. 😉
            I actually see now that we are not really in disagreement. Even people who use calorie counting are only successful when they make healthier choices overall.. not because you can’t hypothetically lose weight eating 1200 calories of Twinkies, but that is entirely unsustainable. If you aren’t making the right eating choices, you will feel more deprived with fewer calories.

            While I credit a calorie deficit to my latest weight loss, the truth is that when I lost weight in my early 20s, at first it I wasn’t calorie counting at all — just making (forced) healthier decisions due to changes in my environment, such as walking more, having more limited and healthier food options, etc. I am sure part of the reason I have been successful now, in my early 30s, with calorie counting weight loss is simply because I know WHAT to eat with those calories. I’m also very analytical, so the idea of entering all the information about calories in/out is “fun” to me (yes, I know, I’m a weirdo).
            Sigh. Ultimately, I think that what works is different for everyone, which makes it such a challenge. What’s sustainable for most people is a moderate, balanced diet that doesn’t feel like deprivation — this is where calorie counting is helpful, because it doesn’t necessarily eliminate any foods. But, the activity of calorie counting in and of itself can be tedious, and you are right, those who are not as obsessed with spreadsheets as I am are likely to abandon it.

          • Avatar Mistuby says:

            I was on a medical fast (500 cal per day) for 6 months. Lost nearly 100 lbs have kept between 80-90 lbs of it off for over 3 years. I count every calorie that goes in my mouth (with the exception of on a cruise). Calories in HAS to equal calories out absolutely no exceptions. If I eat 1600 calories one day I must cut back the extra 400 somewhere. At 70 yeats old, I only have a 1350 allowance for weight to remain the same (plus of course exercise calories). Calorie counting IS a way of life.

        • Avatar Jaynekotter says:

          I know people who have increased their calorie intake to 3,000 calories or more per day, in order to lose weight. The Atkins diet is one example, where the first phase requires higher intakes of fat and calories, but severe reduction of carbs. So, weight lose does not only happen with a calorie deficit.

          • Avatar madmax says:

            We call that suicide by diet. Didn’t work for Dr. Atkins (diet due to heart disease) and probably won’t work for anyone.

          • Avatar Suzanne says:

            Dr Atkins didn’t die from heart disease. Do your research since it’s easy enough to do….he fell and hit his head and died from his injury.

        • Avatar madmax says:

          Actually people who eat a whole food plant based diet and consume more calories and still lose weight than people who eat meat protein and processed food (or the Standard American Diet). Also when you eat whole unprocessed plant based food, it is tough to get too many calories since the food is not very calorie dense. I don’t count calories and my weight continues to drop.

      • Avatar Debby says:

        Some people, including myself, do not have the proper signals for hunger and fullness, which may be partly caused by a dysregulation in obesity-related hormones, such as leptin and ghrellin. I cannot rely on what my body is telling me to determine hunger and satiety. I would rather ‘listen to my body’ but it just doesn’t work. So I rely on calorie counting

        • Avatar Lihong Chen says:

          Most important, do whatever works for you and stick with it. I just want to say that lacking proper signals can be a misconception. Most of time, your body’s ability to release those signals or sensitivity to those signals can change.

      • Avatar Christi says:

        I’m 5’4 and I’m a 21 year old female I used the app Pacers and my fitness pal. I started counting calories weighing 198.6lbs in June 2015 I’m now 148lbs sometimes 145 when I weigh in the morning in June 2016. I’ve been moving around from 145 to 151 during menstruals. But my body weight always go back to 148 for the past 2 months. I must say calorie counting wasn’t the only thing that help. Drinking only water and eating small pieces of food throughout the day and working out maybe 2 times a month did the trick for me.

      • Avatar Katrina Samuel Garrison says:

        So then what would you recommend?

      • Avatar Marilee Jikey says:

        I happened to see your response. I had struggled to come up with a plan to lose some weight. I was about 20 pounds over weight. I tried diet plans, counting calories, low carb diets, you name it, nothing worked. I did some soul searching and self analysis and decided that I didn’t like eating breakfast. I just wasn’t hungry in the mornings, so I stopped. I am busy during the day and never liked eating lunch much either so I decided to stop that and just see what happened. About four in the afternoon I would get hungry so I would eat something to fill me up like watermelon. I would try and eat dinner between 7 & 8 in the evening. These consist of a lean meat or fish and vegetables and a small piece of pie or a cookie. These meals are between 800 & a thousand calories. I try and keep my 4 o’clock meal or snack under 200 calories. This is not a plan for everybody but it works for me. And, I feel that I am in touch with my body. It is hard for me to believe that thousands of years ago when we lived in caves that we sat down to three meals a day.

    • Avatar Tanya Fritzinger says:

      I agree 100 % , calorie counting is important, along with keeping track of your nutrition . That’s why I LOVE “my fitness pal ” app. It keeps track of everything so you don’t go over your calories, fat, sugar,sodium,ect….

      • Avatar Cynthia Buechler says:

        I agree on the calorie counting. I have lost 40lbs with fitness pal and my run. I am now doing 10k races by combining good nutrition and exercise. I am a 56 year old woman who started this plan a year ago. Amazing support!

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          I just read that you lost 40 lbs. I have to lose that same amount and I am really struggling. Is there any chance I could communicate with you some more? I feel the need for someone to talk to who has been through it.

          • Avatar Val Carter says:

            Me too. I seem to always sabatoge myself at the end of the day. Do good during the day and then I sabatoge myself by saying I deserve a reward for whatever reason I put there.

          • Avatar Steph says:

            Maybe change what your reward is? For example, I use a reward list that includes things like a new watch or a new shirt. Make a goal and attribute a reward to that goal. (e.g., lose 5 pounds, get new shoes/watch an extra episode of something; work-out 5/7 days, go see a movie). I used to reward myself with wine, but found that I ended up rewarding myself every day with a glass (or two…). It’s not to say you *don’t* deserve a daily reward, its that rewarding yourself with food/drink is counter productive (but very easy to give in to!). I look at my daily reward now as the pride I feel in being one day/pound/exercise closer to my new shoes. Hope that helps!

          • Avatar Kay-Cee Gray says:

            Oh Val! ME TOO! I’m great until 5:30-8 p.m. I should just come home and go to bed so i won’t eat and ruin the good I did all day. It’s rough, because I sit at a desk all day, and only need 1,400 calories to maintain my weight, unless I hit the gym for an hour a day. It’s not fun. I need to lose 15-20 and once I drop 5-7, I gain it all back and then some.

          • Avatar Moosesmom says:

            What worked for me was My Fitness Pal, and tracking exercise as closely as calories and nutrients. I started at 60, 35 lbs overweight, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and an irregular heartbeat. I’m down 30, off cholesterol meds completely, and am only on one of the milder bp meds. I found that when 30-60mins of exercise was not doable because of my desk job, I could find time to take a quick 10 min walk around the office. I set a reminder, and if I was on a call when it popped up, I snoozed it 5 mins at a time till I was done. But I went. 2 or 3 of those a day got me feeling better, and turned into buying a stationary bike that I can ride at home, in the morning, before I go to work. I’ve kept the weight off for 2 years, and I love how I feel now!! You CAN do it!! Oh, and the hearbeat, while not completely gone, is much, much less troublesome – my cardiologist only wants me in once a year instead of every quarter!!

          • Avatar KP says:

            Hi Caroline…9 months since you posted this, how are you getting on? any progress? You can add me on MFP if you like Kerstin Pearce. I have lost just over 3 stone in the last year with 10lb still t go. Sometimes it has been very frustrating, barely shifting 0.5 lb a week, or worse still the scales not moving at all! I am approaching 50 and it is no myth that it is a lot harder these days! Patience is the key, and to keep at it regardless…I have to keep reminding myself that it took 10+ years to put all that weight on so losing overnight is NOT going to happen, there are no quick fixes.


        • Avatar Kay-Cee Gray says:

          Wow, great job!

        • Avatar KP says:

          Well done Cynthia. I started almost a year ago on MFP, (well i’d used it before this but not seriously). Today I have lost just over 3 stone! I have a smartband. I stick to my calorie intake and balance my steps/exercise (target 10,000steps per day/90 active minutes)…it’s that simple. If I know I am going to have a heavy weekend/evening out, I up my efforts in the preceding days to earn some extra exercise points, or if not possible I do it afterwards. It all started with an IBS diagnosis and was advised to follow a low FODMAP diet, basically now I have cut Gluten, most dairy and some fruits/veg….but the advice of focusing on what you can have rather than what you cannot is spot on! There is still a lot of lovely food I can have. Every day I have chocolate if I want, assuming I have done the exercise to warrant it, I have cut nothing I enjoy including alcohol as that is not realistic long term, I factor it in….just cut back a lot and try to avoid during the week. Now I have a daily plan that is a habit/lifestyle rather than a “diet” and I use the Nutrition tab to keep an eye on my nutrients, even if it means going over some of the allowances…eg I switched from almond milk to soya as just 100ml gives me 100% of my daily calcium, and I’ve started adding 2 kiwi fruit to my lunch instead of nuts because it gives me more fibre….it’s just a few tweaks here and there but MFP gives you all the tools and it is so easy to keep a check on what you eat. Now I am eating better and on the home stretch with 10lbs to lose, I am focusing on a weekly overall view and not worrying too much about the day to day but I have taken up a couch to 10k running plan…the focus now shifting to future maintenance as I know these last few pounds will literally take care of themselves in the coming weeks!

      • Avatar Laura Burnett says:

        For me, I’ve stopped counting calories and instead just always base my meals off of a sensible protein source, (e.g. chicken breast, steak, quarter pack of mince meat etc) and try to fill at least half my plate with vegetables. I don’t avoid carbs and will eat potatoes grains rice etc but not with every meal and still make sure at least half plate is made of vegetables. This naturally keeps calories down without needing to count. I personally don’t use oil or butter as this adds so many calories without keeping you full and use low calorie sprays. Most of my fat comes through milk in coffee throughout the day, eggs, meat etc. I’ll have half an avocado or a small handful of nuts, but no more than twice a week and always on days where I have done exercise. When I calorie counted, I’d often skip healthy foods to make room for chocolate or other crap.

        For snacks, I stick with fruit / veg, or protein rich foods like cold meats & cottage cheese if I’m really hungry or need fuelling for exercise.

        I do eat cereal for breakfast, and make sure I weigh that and keep portion low. Typical breakfast would be two weetabix with almond milk & fruit or 40g of porridge oats made with yogurt and fruit. I never add sugar though.

        I also allow myself 100-200 calories worth of ‘extra’ a day. This might be a small bit of sauce like ketchup or mayo or a sausage with breakfast or a small chocolate bar etc. If I’m going out for dinner with friends or going drinking at weekend I try to make best choices but sometimes I’ll decide that the food looks too tasty and I’m happy to put on weight that week (but will try to be extra good the rest of the week to keep up with it). I’ve lost 3 stone (42lb) and kept it off for ~3 years.

    • Avatar Susan Kochevar says:

      I also agree. When I started watching my calories, I quickly realized I was drinking too many calories. Juices, coffee with creamers, green tea with soy milk, etc. I switched to water and now eat better foods. Once in a while, I’ll enjoy a green tea latter, but I’m cafeful. I treat it like dessert, once in a while and small portions.

      As long as I stay in the calorie range, I lose weight. If I want an extra portion, I excerise so that I can have it without guilt. I feel in control.

      • Avatar stellamaris73 says:

        So true. One of the things Weightwatchers essentially forced me to do was to take a hard look at my drink consumption… not just high-calorie alcoholic beverages but also the number of calories I was consuming by putting 1% or skim milk in many cups of tea or coffee. I switched to unsweetened almond milk, drink more water, and no longer hit Starbucks except for a treat. I’d rather eat those calories than drink them.

    • Avatar Mina says:

      Absolutely true!!

    • Avatar julie says:

      totally agree, through experience. I am back to losing what I had already lost last year, I went a bit stupid at Christmas.

    • Avatar drake H says:

      If counting calories works for you, more power…..some people may need to count calories if they are still trying to balance old eating habits with better eating habits. I do not count calories for a pretty simple reason, I only eat things that are healthy for me, mostly fruits and vegetables and reasonable amounts of lean meats. I find that because I eat so well, I get full long before I would have eaten too many calories. In other words, if you are eating properly, counting calories is not all that important. If one is going to count anything, i would suggest less worry about calorie counting and worry more about reading food labels properly. Cutting out foods with tons of added sugar is more important than worrying about 100 calories here or there. One might be eating the appropriate umber of calories. but consuming way too much sugar in those food items. And Im talking about sugar that is added to products not the kind found naturally in fruit.

      • Avatar Rick Yount says:

        You are fortunate. My brain has no idea when I get close to “eating enough.” If it tastes good, I tend to eat more if I am not logging intake. I run out of “legal calories” long before I run out of “desire to eat more.” I chalk it up to leptin-resistance developed over years of over-eating grains and sugars. This past spring I decided to cut the stress of recording intake and exercise and “just be sensible.” After 5 months (January to June) and a gain of 18 lbs (240 to 258), I went back to record keeping. No sugar, No grains. Intermittent fasting. Thousand-calorie deficits. This morning, after 6 months (June to December), I weighed the a pound less than I did January 1 (258 to 239). I basically wasted 2018 in my trek to 170. I record everything I eat, every day, as precisely as I can, and make adjustments day by day and week by week in order to see small losses. I use blood glucose and blood ketone tests to measure what is happening in my body as I eat. I’m 70, so I’m fighting a lifetime of excessive sugars and grains that played havoc with my metabolism.

    • Avatar S B says:

      Calorie counting is old school. It has nothing to do with nutrition. Sodium, carbohydrates and sugar content are way more important than counting calories.

      • Avatar He-Man says:

        Sorry, but this is wrong. You can easily eat too many healthy foods and end up gaining significant amounts of fat or losing none at all. I think what you mean to say is that it is much harder to overeat on nutrient dense foods than hyperpatable foods which have the right combination of sugar, salt, and fat to make them irresistible. They also tend to do a poor job with satiety, due to being low in fiber and micronutrient content, which tricks the stomach into being full by adding bulk to digested chyme.

      • Avatar thohan says:

        As per the Taubesian (Why We Get Fat, etc.) way of thinking, I have to agree. However, when I track what I eat (within, say a few hundred calories of accuracy), I find I do better. My thinking here is that calories are not causation but perhaps a strong correlation with my weight goals. After counting the calories of the good foods, I don’t have anything left for the fun stuff I shouldn’t be eating anyway. And dinners have gotten much simpler/smaller. Just one anecdote for what it’s worth.

    • Avatar Jason says:

      A couple of things to point out here. 1) Most people aren’t going to use an electronic scale, and if the difference in gaining/losing weight is using a precision calorie scale versus an educated rough estimate of calories, then you’re still doing something wrong overall. (Key word here being “educated”–keeping an accurate rough estimate takes experience) It’s also worth considering here that gaining weight does not mean going from 142 to 144 over two weighings, either. It’s long-term maintained increases or decreases in weight that matter.

      2) The point being made was not “don’t count calories”, it was “don’t count calories to an exacting limit every day”. Calories are always estimates, even when precisely measured, because (especially with meats), things like marbling, fat content, etc., all matter with respect to exact calories. The point was to be more worried about nutrient intake while sticking to a reasonable level of food intake, without feeling like you need to punish yourself if you break a specific number. That sort of thinking is what leads people to poor health habits.

      CAVEAT: Obviously, this is not all aimed at John, since a couple of points he mentioned indicate that he’s already capable of doing what I’m talking about. It’s more just to help people realize that they don’t need to be slavish to measuring, as that will kill a “diet” quicker than anything. If health is too work-like, most people won’t do it.

    • Avatar Kim Buckley says:

      I think the point is “don’t just rely on calorie counting” or “Don’t stress too much if you go slightly over” – 50 cals once in a while isn’t going to undo all the good work.

      Also when people start out they tend to be too restrictive in their plan.

      I weigh 81.7 kilos (about 180 pounds) and if I tried to go with a 1000 cal a day plan right now at the start of my journey it isn’t going to work. It’s too much too soon. Math wise it makes sense but it doesn’t take into account what I need to basically function.

    • Avatar Kay-Cee Gray says:

      I agree! I’m so tired of the, “You’re not eating enough,” theory of health tips in articles. The rest of this is great, but clearly America wouldn’t be obese, (including our now fat kids,) if we had a clue on how much we over-eat. Count calories, and make your calories count. Portion size and too much sugar are our biggest problems in this country in my opinion.

    • Avatar madmax says:

      No need to count calories if you eat a whole food plant based diet. If you want to eat crap, I agree you better count calories or you’ll never lose weight. The best advice is not to eat the crap (e.g., meat proteins and processed food).

      • Avatar Dr Muon Funk says:

        This is very skewed. Eating in balance is always best. This whole all meat proteins is bad is BS. See Mediterranean diet. Also see all of Asia. These people are living longer than all of Europe and eat lots of salt and meat.

  6. Avatar joe3eagles says:

    All these complainers. Sheesh! While a viable alternative for many, vegan is not a healthy choice for everybody. Inflexible, lock-step totalitarianism in your food regimen is rarely a smart way to go.

  7. Avatar Lisa says:

    I use MFP app and I do use the 1200 Calorie limit…I find ways to eat what I want and some days I go over by 100-300 calories, but I figure in the long run it will all work out. I have have lost 20 lbs. in about 10 weeks with exercise.

    • Avatar Eliot says:

      Me too. The idea that eating a cheeseburger once in a while, or the magic couple of hundred calories over 1200 will somehow wipe out any value of your other diet efforts is counter-productive. If I have realistic hope that I can maintain a diet and lose weight, even slowly, over time, I will do it. Tell me one hamburger during the week defeats all my effort and I won’t bother. I’m far from the only one.

    • Avatar Lissa J Barnes says:

      I use MFP too.
      I eat anything from 1600 to 2000 as a minimal.
      I run 5k 3x a week., Walk 4k+ everyday and I weight train.
      Lost 4st so far

  8. Avatar Eliot says:

    Like just about every such article, this one doesn’t offer anything to people struggling. #1 clearly conflicts with #10. It is virtually impossible to eat healthy at the vast majority of restaurants. Healthier, yes. Healthy, no. Plus, going to a restaurant and skipping what you really want to eat a “healthy” alternative has just the negative effect addressed by #1. To suggest that 6 days of eating well are wiped out by a day of eating what you really want it, to say the least, counter-productive.

    • Avatar Chris says:

      The idea is to do #1 a lot so that when you DO go to a restaurant, what you REALLY want IS in fact THE healthier alternative.
      If you find that you are still hankering after that unhealthy restaurant choice, then you have not done #1 enough.

      • Avatar Eliot says:

        Completely disagree. This is the same “you can never eat a hamburger again” mentality that causes people to fail. Don’t tell me if I really want veal parmesian, i can have fish with tomato sauce instead. Don’t make me believe eating that one 2000 calorie dish is thd same as if i had eaten 3000 calories every day during the week.

        • Avatar Debby says:

          Here are my choices at a restaurant:
          1. Have exactly what you want, but adjust portion size accordingly – take home the rest
          2. Choose a less calorie rich alternative if volume is your thing,
          3. Don’t go to restaurant really hungry – will help to make better choices
          4. Eat whatever you want in whatever volume it comes in as long as this is a very occasional occurrence and it doesn’t trigger more eating experiences like that!

  9. Avatar Martin says:

    I totally agree with the fats intake part of this article, as I too see this frequently; people seem to still be scared by yester-year’s threats/misunderstandings. What I don’t agree with, is eating soy products in any other form besides: soy sauce, tempeh, and miso. Otherwise, good points, and a good article.

  10. Avatar Miedina Dita says:

    Oh my goodness! I think what it boils down to are: eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, limit grain intake, eat healthy protein, include healthy fats in your diet, stay away from all processed food, and drink plenty of water. I don’t think you can over eat on those.

  11. Avatar Captain Jeff says:

    IDK….I lost 30Lbs in 60days. Had numerous people tell me that was too much, too fast. I discounted every single one of those remarks. First of all, thats an average of a half a pound a day, that is NOT unhealthy. I am vegetarian & my friend (who graduated with a Holistic Nutritionist degree) developed an extremely high protein diet for me. The diet did cut sugar out of my diet, other than the low amount in each food I ate.
    I am a male & never really tried dieting before, but I reached an all time high weight & knew I had to do something. Girls say, “Oh its easier for guys.” That statement to me is complete BS. Do you know how hard it was to reach my goal? My secret…

    1. Eat right….not just what you eat, but when/how often you eat to keep metabolism
    2. Exercise…strength training as well as cardio. Muscle burns fat. I didnt lift heavy, I
    do low weights, high reps, leading to being more toned/defined
    3. Determination…this is of utmost importance. More important than eating right &
    exercising because if you you arent determined you wont do either.

    • Avatar vh1 says:

      It IS much harder for women. I’m 5’4″ and only need about 1800 calories at most for maintenance. So half a pound per day leaves me with 100 calories left. Everyone knows, too, that men have more muscle, higher metabolism. It’s a given. I am glad you did well, though!

      • Avatar Captain Jeff says:

        I still disagree with the statement that its easier for men. I think EVERY body is different. The only thing i paid attention to while on my diet was what/when I ate. Didnt count cals, didnt do anything special. Metabolism changes in each person, thats how I gained my weight in the first place. I worked my butt off while i dieted/exercised…so saying its easier for men to me, is a cop out (please dont take offense VH1) Nobody has any idea whatsoever the hard work went into my achievements….but I can tell you, it wasnt easy. I stayed determined. still my #1 part of losing weight.
        And people cheat on their diets, then turn around & say the diet doesnt work. That irritates me more than anything. If you cheat on your diet, you’re only cheating yourself….cos not 1 other persin in this world really gives a poop if you lose it or not. I’ts 100% about no one but YOU

        • Avatar He-Man says:

          While it is true that some people have what is called a thrifty metabolism, most people’s metabolisms are pretty on par with everyone else,with only about a 200-300 calorie difference in review on the literature.

  12. Avatar jpatin241 says:

    This is true. I am 44 and was having trouble with testosterone levels and weight. Then I found out about healthy fats. I eat at least one alvacado, one egg (raw), a handful of nuts and a glass of 2% lactose free milk a day. I have lost 13lbs in a little over a month and my energy and sex drive are not only back but in overdrive. I also find like the article points to that if I’m just under my calorie intake goal (1947/day), say 200-300 under is when I lose the most weight consistently. If I’m any lower than that I don’t seem to lose any.

    • Avatar vh1 says:

      That’s great! But I’m a 5′ 4″ woman. I have lost 14 lbs in 2 months with counting calories (about 1200 per day) and exercising some. You’re a man, and can lose more much more quickly. I can’t have nearly 2000 calories per day and lose weight. I would probably gain, actually. I do use the myfitnesspal website, and that helps me to see my calorie count and what effect exercise has on that. If I lose a pound a week, I’m doing well. Our bodies are all different. .

  13. Avatar Tamas Dora says:

    Where is the 12th one? 🙂

  14. Avatar Stacy says:

    Did anybody else notice there are only 11 tips, and the article is titled The 12 Biggest Weight Loss Mistakes?

  15. Avatar VilcaAmazon says:

    The best way to gain weight is to diet. STOP, check out The Moderation Movement.

  16. Avatar delicate_dream says:

    This is a good article, IMO, and it doesn’t just address the reasons people may not be seeing results, but also why they don’t begin to make changes to begin with (ie convincing themselves it’s too “hard” or “miserable” because they use black and white thinking and conclude they would have to “cut out everything”).

    Those criticizing the point on calorie counting, well, miss the point. It doesn’t say calories counting itself is bad, it says that too many people eat TOO little calories and they focus too much on calories and not enough on nutrition. There is the trap of thinking that all calories are equal, whatever their nutritional content, but that suggests that overall health won’t affect weight.
    I agree that calorie counting can be an eye opener for those who don’t realize just how much they are eating, but cutting calories too much can set you up to fail and can be too harsh for your body. Calorie counting is not realistic to do everyday for the rest of your life, but doing it initially can help you understand just how much you eat and become better at so-called “intuitive” eating. IMO, intuitive eating is kind of like “common sense” – a fair amount of it is based on old habits/traditions and biases that are inaccurate. I think we have to train our “intuitions” and inform our reasoning, or else we may fall prey to bad habits and silly myths.

  17. Avatar Greenxblack164 says:

    My problem is I gained all the weight through pregnancy, and I eat when I’m hungry, but the problem is I’m lucky if what I eat even amounts to 1200 calories. I eat about 4 times a day and can’t manage. I’m not underweight either, I’m actually 30lbs overweight. Because of this lack of calories working our is even harder.

  18. Avatar Marisa Cherry says:

    Calorie counting never worked for me, I would lose 2 if any pounds a month while on a calorie deficit (meticulously counted) that said I should be losing 10lbs a month minimim, even without adding in exercise. Keto diet was the only thing that worked for me, lost 24 lbs my first month but I might be slightly different from the average person since I have hashimotos and pcos. My metabolism seems hugher, I can eat more food and remain the same or even weight. Tackle your sugar demon, make sure you’re eating because you are actually hungry and not stressed, dehydrated, sleep deprived, bored, angry, sad, lonely etc. You need to correct your hunger signals no matter what diet you choose and to me ignoring my hunger to stay within calorie guidelines was torturous and ineffective

  19. Avatar Goldie says:

    Myself personally LOVE My fitress tracker what I’ve come to understand is that your body is like a motor it needs fuel to perform that’s why exercise is the big key here
    Exercise exercise exercise it’s a natural high. .burns fat and calories and makes ya fell like you’ve accomplished something
    Indulge if u want never deprive yourself after alll food is one of the biggest pleasures in life and exercising hand in hand they work well together. Wether it be walking. Running.MOVE IT WORKS

  20. Avatar Maria Parenti-Baldey says:

    Thank you, I can relate to water, good fats, fruits and not depriving yourself. Also MFP is a good way to balance your food intake.

  21. Avatar Jimmy NoChit says:

    I dropped 50# and I didn’t follow any of this advice

    • Avatar Justin Lewis says:

      Awesome! I was hoping someone would have that experience. How did you manage to drop 50 pounds of body weight without using any of the pointers leveled in the article?

      • Avatar Jimmy NoChit says:

        I switched to a diet high in fat (70%), moderate amounts of protein (25%) and very low amounts of carbs (5%). My body went into ketosis, where I burn fat for energy. My energy levels are higher and more consistent and I sleep way better too!

  22. Avatar Lauryn Elizabeth says:

    Okay, but.. in the “healthy fats” part, it states dairy as a healthy fat.

    Dairy isn’t healthy at all. Dairy causes cancer.
    Leave baby cows and their momma’s alone and be healthier.

    • Avatar Nick Fergadis Giannakopoulos says:

      sources for this claim?

    • Avatar Lucas Willand says:

      Please show evidence that dairy causes cancer. Dairy has been weakly linked to prostate cancer in high amounts, but even the authors of that study admit that it is highly flawed.

    • Avatar thohan says:

      Now, you know you’re going to get challenged on this claim, right? Please, no more Food, Inc. viewings, people. We need a sane populus.

  23. Avatar Calum Fraser says:

    Counting calories is the most sustainable way to “diet”. You can gain/lose weight whenever you need to by simply manipulating your intake, plus i personally like knowing every single thing that im putting in my body.

  24. Avatar Kaiser says:

    Decent article. Agree with most of, however, in the future, you could give examples of what smoothies would be good to make. What fruits and vegetables you should avoid.

  25. Avatar Caroline says:

    Yup! Calorie counting a a must. That’s why I love “MyFitnessPal” they do it for you. I’m down 10 pounds in 4 weeks thanks to the app 🙂

  26. Avatar Anne says:

    I lost 240 lbs counting calories. Until now I stuck to 1200 a day and an hour either swimming or walking each day. I have increased to 2 hours exercise and uped my calories to 1400 because I was gaining weight at 1200 calories. I am losing weight again at 1400 calories. I would like to lose 30 more pounds but won’t be to upset if I don’t reach that goal.

  27. Avatar Sammie Becker says:

    I lost 106 pounds in 7 months and have kept it off for 7 years. My anniversary date was March 7th. I always food journaled to keep myself honest ( it’s a lot harder to eat that cookie when u have to write it down) and walked. Now I am to a point where I just weigh myself every morning and if I see any gain I watch my intake for a couple days to regain control. I have a mantra that is “If you’re not hungry enough for an apple than your’re not hungry.”

    • Avatar thohan says:

      Congrats, awesome progress! It really is a head game, isn’t it? So true about hunger: If something good for you isn’t appealing, you aren’t hungry, you just want to engage in a little food-based recreation.

  28. Avatar Laura says:

    I like this article as well. However, the weigh yourself Friday and Monday is a questionable tactic. It’s well known among the literature that your weight on Monday is rarely a direct representation of your eating over the past 48 hrs with a few exceptions (e.g. high salt the day before leads to water retention the next day).

    Leading many weight management groups we had to constantly debunk the myth of some women who would come back from a holiday “binge” and have not gained weight or actually were down 1-2 lbs. We often caution them that weight is representative of the past week or more and they may see the scale creep up in a week.

    Or vice versa, folks would cut calories gradually and increase their activity but not see change on the scale and we’d encourage them to stay with it because everyone is different and change on the scale manifests at a different rate based on the individual

  29. Avatar Nancy says:

    I lost 55 pounds on the Atkins diet in 6 weeks. My husband lost more. Our military dr was so impressed, he had us in for for a long discussion about the diet, because he wanted to put other pts on it after seeing our labs change from terrible, when meds hadn’t helped much before but were now excellent. I stayed on the first stage, eating 20 carbs but many days found it hard to eat that many because I was satisfied with it, but my husband increased his by 5 carbs each week or 2 after stage one was over for him. I find the plan very easy to maintain, because it isfood I enjoy. We took an extended vacation to Hawaii and decided to go off it to enjoy some of their foods. But continued to do water therapy while there, and walked all day and evening, so kept the weight off, and didn’t go back on right away. I occasionally take a break, but always go back, because I enjoy that lifestyle of eating, and it’s the only way my labs stay in the right areas.

    • Avatar madmax says:

      You do know Dr. Atkins died obese and had advance heart disease. Please be careful. No study has shown that the Atkins diet is a long term safe diet!!!!

  30. Avatar thohan says:

    Not necessarily apropos of this list, but it can’t be said enough: Restaurants don’t care about your health. Make your own food!

  31. Avatar Sherry Shoemaker Rippin says:

    Myfitnesspal is a great app to track calories and nutrition.

  32. Avatar Becky2eyes says:

    my fitness pal is a good tool, but I’m still in the “calories-in/calories-out” is a little bit of garbage too. I’m currently at a 500-900 PER DAY calorie deficit (according to myfitnesspal and fitbit) and I’m NOT losing weight. I’m drinking 8-10 glasses (64-80 oz) of water per day. seems to me that it should not matter if I’m eating 1200calories of cotton candy or 1200 calories of carrots. I should be losing weight. so what’s next?

  33. Avatar Joanne Lawrence says:

    Just thinking about this, man, if my diet had that much sugar, I could run forever! I find the day after I eat a lot of fruit or have a big family meal with a lot of carbs, my workouts are amazing, whether running or lifting weights, which makes sense considering carbs tend to be our preferred fuel.

    And really, I always wondered what the heck the value was of the glycemic index so long as you’re controlling for calories. I would think that metric is only useful if 1) you’re diabetic or have some other insulin-related issue or 2) if you want a good indicator of how different carbs will affect how soon you feel hungry again after you eat them.

    I had a bowl of steamed broccoli and cauliflower with leftover white rice, two eggs, and salsa for lunch. I felt at first like the white rice was a waste of calories(like I often do. Gotta break that mindset), but in the context of a complete meal, it really was fine.

  34. Avatar Debbie says:

    I think counting calories and keeping tabs on macros and micros are essential for healthy and successful weight loss. And I use MFP to log my water intake and exercise.

    It’s my belief, however, that there should have been a caveat in place re: eating medium or high glycemic load fruits and vegetables, especially if you’re pre-diabetic or diabetic. I discovered I was pre-diabetic in May 2015. I completely reversed it in six months. I cut out all sodas (including diet), potatoes, and bananas immediately. Then I worked on cutting out processed foods, pasta, white rice, desserts, added sugars, carrageenan, etc. I ate low glycemic index fruits and veggies like strawberries and watermelon. I ate protein with every meal and snack. I lost weight.

    My A1C has been normal for 1 1/2 years even though I am still working on losing more weight. (I’ve had two surgeries in one year and my metabolism seems to have slowed dramatically each time. I’d love someone to weigh in on THAT because this standstill is driving me nuts.)

    I eat very little added sugar, and I still eat no bananas or white potatoes. I eat sweet potatoes with nothing on them. Love them! I occasionally eat white rice and whole grain pasta, but only after I was no longer insulin resistant. And I always eat protein with every meal or snack.

  35. Avatar Debbie says:

    I’ve lost 64 lbs. Need to lose more weight but I’m stuck. MFP now tells me to only eat 1200 calories if I want to lose two pounds/week, but that’s not sustainable. I get too hungry. I’m not eating junk though. I have coffee with half n half in the morning only, and I’m finally drinking at least 84 oz of water daily. No sodas. The occasional glass of herbal tea with sugar for dessert. No dessert. Lots of fruit, veggies, black beans, some chicken, etc. Peanut butter, yes. I think I need to eat smaller portion sizes there. I need a food scale for better accuracy.

    Question: does surgery affect metabolism? I think it does.

    I was losing weight easily, starting May 2015. had knee surgery late Jan 2016. Weight loss slowed dramatically even after I could start exercising again. Weight started coming off around November. Then I had shoulder surgery in early Jan 2017. Gained 9 lbs in ten days immediately afterwards. I did not pig out that much! Believe me. Some of that was fluid retention, of course.

    I’ve lost about 5 lbs of that, but that’s it. I’ve been going to the gym but still am not cleared for upper body work. I use the machines for core and lower body and use the stationary bike. My knee is still not working well—I have bone-on-bone arthritis.

    I’m still going to PT. I’m swimming but am not cleared for freestyle or backstroke. I do some water aerobic exercises, kicking, sidestroke, dog paddling (sounds stupid but it’s one way for me to work my triceps), etc. I wouldn’t say my heart rate is madly elevated, but I’m working my core and am continuously moving for over 35 minutes. Plus I have to work against the water’s natural resistance and helps guard against stressing my joints.

    Before the surgeries, I was losing weight. Now it seems practically impossible. Do I have to wait until November to see any weight loss again and just pray I don’t need any more surgeries?

    Also, my ortho wants me to get a cortisone shot for my knee. (It also needs draining, I think… and my ankles too—just love OA.) But I’ve read that a cortisone shot can slow down metabolism. If that’s true, I don’t want the shot.

  36. Avatar Jen Scott says:

    i also focused on a diet that was all about what I could eat and in addition to this I started taking black seed oil for fat burning. It is a natural ingredient with no side effects. Walking has also become easier because the oil has anti-inflammatory properties as well. Clean eating, walking/running and black seed oil – a combination that keeps giving results.

  37. There is a “secret” to losing weight, but the secret is different for everyone My diet was full of junk food when I was 230 pounds that simply changing my diet to “real food” and totally ignoring macronutrient ratios and amounts was enough to help me drop weight, eventually to my current ~150.

  38. Avatar Alexander says:

    I hope or wish for a response from My Fitness Pal. What do you think of fasting? I’m on my third week of fasting, I have six days left to complete my three week fast. I also would like to hear what everyone else thinks.

    I’m a diabetic and I’m trying to undo my diabetes. I’ve lost 20 lbs so far, my sugar is very low, I always carry my meter and emergency candy in case I need to abort. I feel fine only had one day of lightheaded sensation but it passed. I am still able to function normally. I hope I covered everything. Thanks

  39. Avatar Katrina Samuel Garrison says:

    The article talks about transitioning from counting calories to counting macros, but it’s really all the same. Macros equals calories.

  40. Avatar Ian says:

    I think the point of calorie counting is to look at the nutrition component as well. Yes if your goal is 1500 calories, you want to attain that but you could by eating gummy bears and ice cream. You have to look at the type of calories you are eating and see if over say a week are you regularly missing vitamins or good fats, fibre etc. The idea is 1500 good if not great quality calories.

  41. Avatar disqusdis2012 says:

    I tried calorie counting but it gets very boring and very annoying really fast … I found I would start eating the same 5 foods over and over just to make logging easier … I missed eating a lot of other foods liked … finally decided to start the calorie counting in lieu of intermittent fasting … since I have a sitting job I really don’t need to eat anything throughout the day, I’m not very hungry for breakfast either … but when I come home after work I can really enjoy a nice big dinner with my family including a dessert and all is well, I don’t eat till next day, next dinner … throughout the day I may have a tea or coffee on occasion with a little bit of table cream and that’s that, very sustainable for me … if we have a big family breakfast scheduled for Saturday morning I will skip my Friday night dinner and wait for that big breakfast to eat … it’s not as bad as people think, it just takes getting used to it 😉

  42. Avatar Cassie Hamilton says:

    I’m disappointed with #4 – Cutting out an entire food group. I am not saying you should or shouldn’t eat meat because it’s such a controversial topic, but you say it will lead to nutrient deficiency. People that I have spoken to personally, said that when they cut meat out of their diet their iron levels went UP, calcium went UP, fibre went UP and much more. For some people that works so you can’t word it in that way unfortunately, and encourage everyone to steer clear of that choice.

  43. Avatar madmax says:

    The easiest way to lose weight is a whole food, plant based diet. There is no need to count calories. I went on this diet and lost 30 pounds in 5 months without counting a single calorie (and I wasn’t overly heavy when I started … BMI of 27). Not only did I lose weight, but I am feeling fantastic!

  44. Avatar madmax says:

    Where does it show eating a low carb diet increases metabolism? All the research I have read is the exact opposite. Eating a high carb and high fiber diet shows an increase in metabolism (albeit slight)

    • Avatar Beth says:

      I did say “some” evidence, certainly not “proof” :-P, and frankly I’m not entirely convinced myself. I would agree that there is also “some” evidence that a high carb/high fiber diet would increase metabolism as well.. but I don’t know if they have put the two head to head. That said.. I actually don’t really care. I will go back to what I said.. wow, 2 years ago! .. in a comment on this article, and that is: what works is different for everyone, and I do not believe there is ONE DIET TO RULE THEM ALL. I’ve read through your comments and it’s great that you have dropped weight on a strictly whole foods, plant-based diet. I just don’t believe that that would work for everyone, and I think some would feel very deprived on it. I like to read diet books for fun (yep, I’m a weirdo) and I find that every single one of them cherry picks the evidence that works in their favor, everyone from T. Colin Cambpell and Joel Fuhrman to Gary Taubes and Loren Cordain. That’s because there are over 10,000 studies done on weight loss and anyone can select 100 of them to their liking and still appear well-researched.

      That said, I think that EVERYONE can stand to incorporate many more whole-plant-based foods in their life. And cut back on sugar and processed foods. Absolutely. But everyone is different, and whether it’s psychological or physiological, I think many people would struggle with a strict vegan diet. Don’t get me wrong, I think many people would struggle with Atkins as well. Like I said, I just don’t believe there is ONE DIET TO RULE THEM ALL.

  45. Avatar Michael McMahon says:

    To Jennifer O’Donnell-Giles, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., I would suggest your information is outdated. EVERYONE listen up – JARDIANCE 25 mg and Trulicity 1.5ml, a combination of drugs introduced for diabetes Type II, that is now in clinical trials for weight loss. I lost 15% of my body weight without dieting, just trying to watch portions and eating fresh fish five nights a week (it’s easy here in Key West). I still ate moderate desserts and H&H in my coffee, and I went from 300 to 255 with few changes! I had not been this thin in 30 years!!

    I was practically in tears when I called Boehringer-Ingelheim to let them know what a difference they had made in my life. They told me they had to “report the weight loss as an adverse effect to the FDA”!!

    The second 15% I had to calorie count, and it took about months, weight loss is not linear nor is it fast. At 217 I could hardly believe it. I still remember my doctor of 20 years charging in the exam room with my lab results, “you’re no longer diabetic”! My A1C had gone from 8.3 to 5.5 in a year! Technically I am in remission, I don’t think you’re ever cured.

    I have continued the plan and I was 206 at my last visit, “you could actually use to put on a few pounds of muscle” was the verdict this time, A1C 5.5 again. My final goal is 187 as my top weight at which point my BMI will be under 25 for the first time in my adult life.

    Exercise is something I do regularly in that I have to walk the dog every day. But it has not been a critical element in this part of the journey, because as a weight loss tool I have found it to be useless. But it is a critical part of a healthy lifestyle which we all aspire to.

    I am in no way paid or compensated for my post here, nor would I take anything. I just want to be the clarion call that obesity can be conquered without such drastic measures as bariatric surgery. I constantly have to pull up my shirt to demonstrate I have not had the surgery when old friends who have not seen me in two years are in disbelief.

    Please message me on FB if needed. This is my lifetime shot at public service. Good luck on your weight loss journey, mine was magical.

  46. Avatar Cassie Hamilton says:

    Can you guys just F*** off with saying cutting out entire food groups like meat make you deficient.
    I’m probably healthier and fitter than all of your writing these articles.
    I’m unfollowing from you emails right now.
    So some proper research before posting false sh** like this.

  47. Avatar James says:

    I lost 80 lbs and have been keeping it off just counting calories and staying under a limit – along with exercise of course. But I agree with the spirit of what is being said here. It is easy to get obsessed and carried away with counting to the point of it being a detriment. I strongly believe in balance. I’ve never deprived myself from eating something. The only limits are how much. You have to find the number that your body responds to and find the discipline and a plan that keeps you at that number on a consistent basis.

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