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Habits and Lifestyle

What Not to Do When Trying to Lose Weight

6 min read

Trying to lose weight is challenging, and having the right information can make that challenge a little more surmountable. Other than the things you should do when trying to lose weight, here are some things not to do when trying to lose weight.

Don’t … Rush the Process

It’s disheartening to hear this, but the reality of the situation is that losing weight takes time. We hear this all the time from friends, experts, and the like, but despite how frequently we’re told that it takes time, a lot of us still get suckered into spending money on “fast result” schemes (be it products, programs, diets, etc.). Listen, you didn’t gain weight overnight; it took time to put it on, and you’re not gonna suddenly lose it overnight, either – it’ll take time, too.

This means, when you’re trying to lose weight, don’t opt for quick fixes or anything that claims to produce quick results. By a rule of thumb, if it sounds too good to be true it’s likely a scam. Sorry to be the bearer of sobering news.

Sometimes, we need to take a critical and objective look at the situation and understand some of the hard truths associated with weight loss.

Don’t … Rely Solely (or Mostly) on Just Exercising

Exercising helps. This is indisputable, but exercising is not a silver bullet solution. The real solution to regulating your weight starts and ends with managing your eating habit – everything else is secondary.

Whether that means cleaning your diet of junk, eating less, or altering your diet to accommodate things, you need to take a personal look at your eating behavior and objectively analyze what needs to change in order for you to achieve success in losing weight and maintaining whatever weight range you desire.

Don’t … Ignore Other Forms of Exercising

As we’ve established, although your nutrition and how you eat is the most important aspect of weight loss, exercising does help. With this in mind, it’s important to discern and select exercises that help with your weight loss journey.

A lot of times people default to cardio-based exercises to lose weight. This is a no-brainer because such exercises burn quite a fair number of calories. But did you know, that’s not your only option? Don’t pigeonhole yourself in only doing one type of training for weight loss. It’s good to branch out because other forms of exercising, like resistance training, provide their own unique advantages to fat loss that can’t be reproduced by cardio-based exercising. Compound exercises, in particular, are great for building muscles and tackling fat, and with our legs possessing quite a number of muscles (such as the glutes, which are considered to be the biggest muscles in our bodies and could do with some TLC as we age), they’re a prime area to exercise and tone up when tackling body fat through resistance training.

Also, what if everyone is telling you that running is the best way to lose weight but you absolutely hate running? Does that mean you just have to take the bullet for the sake of your goal(s) and run? Hell no. Pick another exercise.

The problem with doing an exercise you hate is that you can end up giving up, whereas if you pick an exercise you glean satisfaction from, chances are you’ll maintain the exercise. So don’t just run, cycle, or do HIIT because people are telling you that that is how you’ll lose weight. Experiment and try different things to find what you, personally, like and stick to what works for you.

Don’t … Excessively Cut Down on Calories

Calories in vs calories out, that’s the basis of gaining or losing weight. Or put simply, consume more calories than you burn and you’ll gain weight, whereas if you burn more calories than you consume and you’ll lose weight.

This concept is deceptively simple, but because of its simplicity, we risk oversimplifying it. A lot of people decide to excessively cut down the amount of food they eat in order to reduce their caloric intake, but this has a lot of negative health ramifications.

Without getting bogged down in the details, understand that food is an energy source that helps your body operate and remain alive, and each of our bodies require a different amount of energy (calories) to stay alive (hence why we all come in different shapes and sizes and eat differently). So, if you dramatically slash down the amount of energy (calories) your body normally uses it will struggle to function properly.

So then, does this mean you can’t eat less to lose weight? No, you can and should eat less, it just means you need to slowly reduce the number of calories you eat so that you give your body enough time to adjust and get used to having less. This slow adjustment is also one of the reasons why losing weight, in a healthy fashion, takes time.

Other than just thinking in terms of “quantity” and only reducing calories to achieve your goals (like cutting out meals, reducing portions, or even setting eating windows), it’s also important to think in terms of “quality” and consider the nutrients in your diet – what macro- and micronutrients is your current diet offering you and missing out on? Fix the quality of your diet before you tackle the quantity aspect.

Don’t … Fixate over the Weight Loss Process

For a variety of reasons (stress, mental and physical wellbeing, quality of life, etc.) it’s important not to get bogged down in the process of losing weight. The task is already difficult without you adding your own dreams, expectations, and anxieties, too, so don’t make it worse.

We all fixate in different ways. Whether that’s always stepping on the scale, checking how our clothes fit, asking those close to us if they see any differences in our appearances, or constantly looking in the mirror, we all have little habits that manifest themselves when we start getting obsessive. Be on the lookout for signs that you might be getting fixated over your goal(s), and try to set up measures that will allow you to go for your goal in a healthy mental space. This might mean getting rid of the scale, or covering mirrors, or even asking friends to fine you if you mention your weight goals around them or strangers. Whatever solution you come up with, think of ways you can ensure that your weight loss journey is done in a healthy mental space.

Don’t … Think You’re On Your Own

Lastly, it’s important to understand that you’re not on this weight loss journey alone. A lot of other people have been where you’re at and a lot of people are actually rooting for you to achieve your goals, whether you know it or not, whether you know them or not.

With this in mind, there are plenty of resources and platforms you can turn to for free information before you actually have to spend money (social media, websites, apps, etc.). There are even sites that bring together and create expert roundups on topics such as lifestyle changes to adopt for weight loss that bring together numerous views from doctors, nutritionists, personal trainers, and the like in one place.

The only cost is your time; you have to put in the time to learn and vet out who are the ones providing actionable and helpful solutions, and who are the ones out for a quick buck. So, I urge you to put in that time and better yourself.


A writer, gamer, geek, and gym rat all packaged into one. I'm a certified personal trainer who writes about the things he loves and I enjoy sharing them with others all on MXFitness.