Things you should not do to lose weight

Emeh Joy
By Emeh Joy

Basic Medical Scientist, Freelance Health Writer, Lifestyle Blogger and Business Enthusiast

Sometimes people do the wrong things in a bid to lose weight. This article provides a guide and warning on things not to do to lose weight.

Wellness and Fitness: Things not to do to lose weight

Obesity does not only affect your physical appearance. Rather, obesity is a risk factor for many chronic diseases that can lead to death.

The good news is that obesity and overweight are preventable. However, in order not to gain weight or to lose weight, people resort to many strategies that might be harmful to their bodies.

If you are on the weight loss track, be careful of the information you consume regarding weight loss. Of course, there are proven helpful things you can do to avoid obesity or excessive weight gain. But there are also things you shouldn't do to lose weight.

Cutting down on body fat entails losing weight naturally by eating right, exercising and choosing a healthy lifestyle. Do you know that fruits can help with your weight loss journey? Also, some scientifically proven herbs for weight loss can help you lose weight faster and naturally.

Things you shouldn't do to lose weight

We will discuss some common mistakes people make when trying to maintain weight. Here are things not to do to lose weight.

1. Cutting out an entire food group

There are different types of diet plans, such as low-carb diets, plant-based diets, keto diet, paleo diet etc., all aimed at helping you lose weight. While some of these diets might be effective and safe, some others might not be safe for your health.

Your body needs the three macronutrients- proteins, fats and carbohydrates and any diet plan that involves totally cutting out any of these macronutrients shouldn't be encouraged. Cutting out macronutrients is one of the things you shouldn't do in a bid to lose weight.

You might want to reduce the intake of one food group but do not cut everything out. For instance, low carb diet encourages a reduced intake of carbohydrates so as to enable the body to utilise more fat for energy.

However, completely slashing it off your diet can cause lethargy, exhaustion and irritability. Instead, eliminate the refined sugars that contain high calories with the rich, energising whole grains.


Eating fatty foods don't make you fat! Rather, eating more fat or more calorie than your body burns will make you fat. Learn more about the good and the bad fats.

2. Going too hard on yourself with exercise

You already know exercising is crucial with your weight loss journey, but you must also know that too much exercise can cause problems. Over exercising is one of the things you shouldn't do to lose weight.

Over-exercising is an unsustainable weight loss strategy and might lead to stress in the long run. Research has also shown that excessive exercise may impair the production of the adrenal hormone, which control your body's response to stress.3,4

When you exercise too much, you are trying to force your body to burn more calories within a short period which might be unrealistic, ineffective and unhealthy.

3. Ditching water for 'diet' drinks

Don't substitute water for anything

Some websites and weight loss brands might have touted diet drinks as effective for weight loss and 'calorie-free'. But are they beneficial for weight loss?

Diet drinks are soft drinks made with artificial sweeteners. They include sports beverages. You might be tempted to use them to replace water.

You might wake up in the morning and take your diet drink instead of drinking water. And then, you do the same after eating or after your workout session. If you have used diet drinks as a replacement for water, you are causing harm to yourself.

Diet drinks do not help solve the global obesity crisis. A review study showed that diet drinks might not benefit weight loss and might even dull your sweet receptors, causing you to consume more sugary foods and ultimately more calories.2

Not drinking enough water can negatively affect your appetite and metabolism. Being hydrated can also help keep you full, which fends off hunger pangs. Read more about the side effects of not drinking enough water.

4. Relying on supplements

Another mistake people make when looking to gain body fitness is to pump in lots of supplements to the detriment of eating real food.

For bodybuilders, studies have shown supplements like protein supplements, creatine, biotin, glutamine, and beta-hydroxy beta-methyl butyrate can help with muscle building. However, it doesn't mean you should depend on supplements.

Healthy people typically do not need supplements. So unless you have a nutritional deficiency, you might want to focus on getting your macro and micronutrients from whole foods. Supplements should only serve as food augmentation and not a food replacement.

5. Being obsessed with your weight loss plan

It is great to have a diet plan and stick to it for the sake of your weight loss journey. However, being committed to your weight loss plan is not the same as being obsessed with it.

Obsession with a diet plan can make you plan your life around it. You will find yourself avoiding social events like friends' birthdays just because you don't want to take a bite from the cake that will be passed around.

Unfortunately, too much obsession with sticking to a diet plan can make it even harder to stick with the diet in the long run. Diet sustainability entails that you leave out some wriggling room. It shouldn't stop you from having fun and enjoying what you eat.

6. Running from weight lifting

One of the things you shouldn't do to lose weight is to run from weight lifting

Some people striving to lose weight, particularly women, run from weight lifting. There is the misconception that weight lifting is mostly for men.

Engaging in resistance training helps significantly during weight loss. Studies have shown that lifting weight is one of the most effective exercises for increasing metabolic rate and gaining muscle mass. It even helps with losing belly fat.1,5

It would help if you tried combining aerobic exercise with weight lifting, as this appears to be the best workout strategy for weight loss.

7. Purging or going on detox programmes

Purging is one of the things you shouldn't do to lose weight. Some weight loss enthusiasts preach purging and cleansing or detox as weight loss strategies. You should avoid such acts. Vomiting or use of laxatives is dangerous as they can cause electrolyte imbalances, dehydration and gastrointestinal problems.

Also, your body doesn't need help with getting rid of waste products, provided you don't have a health condition that is causing impairment to the vital organs responsible for that. Your body already has an efficient natural detox system, so; you might as well do away with the idea of using detox agents to aid weight loss.

8. Setting unrealistic weight loss goals

You must set a fitness goal even as you set out on your weight loss journey. Goals keep you on your toes, motivates you and sets you up for success.

However, it makes no sense to set unrealistic goals. First, know that weight loss takes time. It is a gradual process. Run from weight loss programs that promise you that you will lose '15 pounds' of flesh within one week. That is as good as unrealistic.

Also, if you are choosing a diet plan or workout routine, choose the sustainable ones. Go with options that work for you. A Keto diet might work for someone else but might not work for you.

You should set 'SMART' fitness goals. SMART stand for; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-specific.

Can you lose weight overnight?

Can you lose weight overnight?

Lots of questions have been asked about weight loss. One of such questions is, "is it possible to lose weight overnight?" Yes, you can lose weight overnight, technically.

If you are the type that uses your weight scale regularly, you might have noticed that you weigh a little less in the morning than the previous day. Does this mean you lose some fat while sleeping, and how does that happen?

Some studies have shown that more than 80 per cent of the weight you lose overnight may be as a result of water loss. Remember, your body comprises about 60-70 per cent of water, which makes up a large proportion of your weight.

When you sleep, your body tends to lose water through your sweat and breath. Asides from that, when sleeping, your body still undergoes the normal metabolic processes in order for you to stay alive and healthy.

This means how much weight you will lose overnight will depend on factors such as your body composition and metabolic rate.

There is increasing evidence that sleep might be as important as exercise and diet if you are trying to lose weight. This is because poor sleep quality is a risk factor for obesity and weight gain. It can cause an increase in your appetite and an accompanying increase in calorie intake.

Can you lose weight without exercise?

Can you lose weight without exercise?

Yes, it is possible to lose weight without exercise. If you don't always have the time to exercise or have a condition that makes it difficult for you to exercise, you should not be discouraged. It is still possible to lose weight without exercise.

Asides from exercise, other effective strategies for weight loss include dietary and lifestyle changes. While exercise helps you burn more calories, you can still manage your weight without it.

All you need to do is eat fewer calories than you burn, eat the right foods, and stay active. Staying active could mean something as minor as taking a walk every day. Staying active reduces the risk of chronic health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke.


The rules for weight loss are not complicated. However, often, people find it difficult to follow through with the rules. Weight loss entails discipline, commitment, patience and consistency. Avoid foods that will meddle with your diet, eat the right ones and exercise; then, you are on the path to losing weight.


1. Aristizabal, J C et al. “Effect of resistance training on resting metabolic rate and its estimation by a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry metabolic map.” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition vol. 69,7 (2015): 831-6. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2014.216,

2. Borges, MC, et al. "Artificially Sweetened Beverages and the Response to the Global Obesity Crisis." PLoS Med, vol 14,1 e1002195. 3 Jan. 2017, Doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002195,

3. Brooks, Ka, and Jg Carter. “Overtraining, Exercise, and Adrenal Insufficiency.”Journal of Novel Physiotherapies vol. 3,125 (2013): 11717. doi:10.4172/2165-7025.1000125,

4. Hall, Kevin D. “Diet versus exercise in "the biggest loser" weight loss competition.” Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.) vol. 21,5 (2013): 957-9. doi:10.1002/oby.20065,

5. Schwingshackl, Lukas et al. “Impact of different training modalities on anthropometric and metabolic characteristics in overweight/obese subjects: a systematic review and network meta-analysis.” PloS one vol. 8,12 e82853. 17 Dec. 2013, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082853,

6. WHO. "Obesity." World Health Organization, 1 April 2020,