13 Weight Loss Rules It’s OK to Skip
Health & Wellness
Even the experts don’t follow the golden rules of weight loss. In fact, breaking these rules can actually help tip the scale in your favor.
Pay attention while you eat
When you eat mindfully, you have no distractions; you focus on the food—its textures, colors, and tastes—so you’ll know when you’re full. But it’s OK to sometimes eat a meal in front of the TV, if that’s what you need to unwind and decompress. Or maybe you’re a multi-tasker, eating and answering emails at the same time. Yes, you’ll pay attention more to your body and have a better eating experience if you eat mindfully, but even the pros break that rule once in a while. “I’m running a group private practice, consulting for major corporations and a major league baseball team,” says Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RDN of Essence Nutrition. “Of course I’m eating in front of my laptop. But I’ve portioned out my food on a real plate.” Don’t miss the 50 things your doctor wishes you knew about weight loss.
Bread is enemy number one to many when it comes to weight gain. However, not all carbs are created equal. “I’ve found that eating enough carbs helps me with satisfaction and also with my weight,” says Isabel Smith, MS, RDN, CDN, founder of Isabel Smith Nutrition. Legumes, quinoa, oats, whole-wheat pasta, whole-grain bread, brown rice, apples, and other filling complex carbs aren’t the problem. You need to watch out for refined or simple carbs. Those are the ones that digest quickly and raise blood sugar, increasing hunger. Think crackers, pastries, white bread, and rice. They don’t fill you up, so you get hungry quickly and consume more calories. Complex carbs digest slowly, stabilizing blood sugar levels, and more importantly, they decrease the reliance on insulin, which in turn may promote weight loss. Of course, you’ll gain weight if you eat too many calories—regardless of whether they’re carbs, fat, or protein. But you don’t have to ditch all carbs when you’re trying to lose weight.
Don’t eat late
“Personally, I eat when I’m hungry and I stop when I’m full—it’s as simple as that,” says Auslander Moreno. “But folks feel as though they need some kind of ‘plan’ to grasp on to.” Studies have found that your metabolism burns calories at a consistent rate at all hours of the day. A study from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel was inspired by Muslims practicing Ramadan (where they fast during the day and eat high-carb meals at night). In the study, a group of police officers was divided into two groups. One followed a Ramadan-style diet and the other had their carbs consumption spread over three meals. The Ramadan-style group had healthier appetites as well as smaller waistlines compared to those who ate their carbs and calories earlier in the day. Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator of BetterThanDieting.com and author of Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You from Label to Table, says she is guilty of eating late, often starting to cook dinner around 8:30 p.m. “What counts more than your dinner time is the quality and size of your dinner,” she says.
Sleep in your gym attire
Yes, sleeping in what you’ll wear to work out will likely inspire you to hit the gym or the pavement in the morning. While it does save time, few really want to sleep in a sports bra and spandex. “Gym clothing can sometimes be tight and expensive,” says Mark Langowski, celebrity personal trainer, CEO of Body By Mark Wellness, and author of Eat This, Not That! for Abs. “No need to wrinkle those $50 pants and be uncomfortable.” Set out your workout clothes for the next morning and sleep in some cozy pajamas. Read about the worst pieces of health advice on the Internet.