Lose Weight Safely: Diet Do’s and Don’ts | The Emergency Center

Lose Weight Safely: Diet Do’s and Don’ts

Crash diets and fasting can be dangerous. Learn how to lose weight safely so you can fulfill your New Year’s resolution without hurting yourself.

If you are carrying a few extra pounds, losing weight can boost your energy, improve your sleep, strengthen your immune system, and reduce aches and pains.

When you commit to shedding pounds, it can be tempting to choose a fad diet that will help you lose weight quickly. However, losing weight gradually—one to two pounds per week—leads to greater long-term success than losing a lot of weight all at once.

In fact, diet strategies, such as liquid fasting, and herbal remedies or supplements that promote dramatic weight-loss can have dangerous side effects—think gout, abnormal heart rate, dehydration, gallstones, hair loss, and low blood sugar (which can make you hungry and derail your diet).

Do’s and Don’ts for Losing Weight Safely

  • DO eat a variety of foods. A balanced diet includes fruits, vegetables, lean sources of protein, whole grains, low- or nonfat dairy products, and foods rich in fiber.
  • DO drink plenty of water every day. Avoid extra calories and sugar by limiting your intake of alcoholic beverages, juices, and soda.
  • DO limit the amount of sugar you consume. Foods high in sugar tend to be high in calories and low in nutrients.
  • DO watch your portion sizes. Read food labels carefully. This can help you determine serving size and avoid accidental overeating.
  • DON’T believe before-and-after photos. Many diet scams use doctored photographs or pictures from other sources to convince you their plans work.
  • DON’T skip meals. This can cause your blood sugar to drop, leaving you feeling irritable and fatigued—two emotions that can lead you to snack on unhealthy foods. Skipping meals may also slow your metabolism, making it harder for you to lose weight in the long-term.
  • DON’T focus on eliminating whole food groups. Successful dieters eat a variety of foods, while restrictive diets can be hard to maintain over the long term.
  • DON’T trust diet plans that that sound too easy or claim to help you lose weight too quickly. Safe weight loss is one to two pounds per week. That kind of lasting weight loss takes time and commitment.
  • DON’T spend a lot of money on weight-loss plans. Healthy weight loss requires little more than a grocery list of healthy ingredients and time to shop for and cook your own meals.

If you or a loved one experiences dehydration or other side effects from dieting, visit one of The Emergency Center’s convenient 24-hour locations in Arlington, Fort Worth, and San Antonio.

Sources: healthtalk.org, cdc.gov, obesityaction.org, familydoctor.org, piedmont.org, nhlbi.nih.gov, health.gov