You aren’t eating enough calories
Wait, isn’t the point of a diet that you are supposed to cut calories? Yes, but according to registered dietitian and author of Belly Fat for Dummies Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. “A calorie is not just a calorie,” she says. “Depending on what you consume, calories from nutrients such as protein and unsaturated fat keep you full for an extended period, whereas calories from simple sugars digest rapidly.” If you’re cutting calories but not getting the proper vitamins, protein, and fiber you need, your weight loss plan is not going to work. According to a study from Japan, calorie restriction leads to slower metabolic rate, which means without enough calories, your body goes into survival mode, slowing down your metabolism to conserve energy and prevent weight loss. “Focus on improving the nutritional quality of your diet rather than your calorie intake for improved body weight and health,” Palinski-Wade says. Intrigued? These are the other weight loss tips doctors wish you’d stop following.
You’re skipping meals
As with cutting calories, skipping meals isn’t effective for healthy weight loss. Ignoring hunger cues throws off the signaling in your body, as Laura Moore, RD, director of the dietetic internship program at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health, explains. “Energy intake, or what’s consumed, and expenditure, or what’s burned, is coordinated by signals from several systems, including the endocrine, adipose tissue, neurologic, and gastrointestinal systems,” she says. Chemical signals that increase and decrease appetite are sent to the brain. “This weight regulation system helps maintain a healthy weight for most people by modifying hunger, activity, and metabolism to keep the body weight within a target,” Moore says. “Moving below this target, or set point, by skipping meals can be challenging because the brain’s energy-balance system goes into action, pushing the weight back to its set point or even above.” That means you’re basically fighting with your body over where your weight should be. Instead, Moore recommends listening to your body’s signals, eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full. Here’s what happens to your body when you skip breakfast.