No matter how you look at it, losing weight isn’t just a battle of the bulge; it’s a battle of the mind. How much do you want to lose your baby weight, or extra pounds of the thigh? How determined are you to finally, once and for all, beat the obesity blues? Whether you have five or fifty pounds to shed, you want to be smart. You want to do it in a healthy way. And most of all, you want to prove to yourself that no matter what your past weight loss has shown you, you can conquer this time and for the last time! As you go through your weight loss journey, here are three things not to do, so that you can eat sensibly, exercise the right way and become your healthiest self – pronto.

Rule #1 – Don’t Crash Diet

Can an all grapefruit diet really speed up your weight loss process? Can a chocolate and lemonade cleanse finally allow you to get back to the body you had at 16? Maybe, but at what cost? And, how long can you realistically keep it up? Whether you are tempted with the latest celebrity endorsed diet pill or an all-natural diet plan, remember this: weight loss isn’t just a destination point. It’s a journey. Crash diet can work for immediate results, but will often deprive your body of necessary sodium, carbs, protein and fats. Instead, work on eating the right amounts of good carbs, proteins and fats and control ‘dieting’, rather than the diet controlling you. And best of all, change your attitude along the way. Realize that your body will change over time, and if it has, great!  Change with it!

Rule #2 – If You Can’t Afford a Celebrity Trainer, Expect Realistic Results

The weight loss paradox is this: A-list celebrities (a curvy Kim Kardashian, a svelte Jennifer Aniston or buff Sylvester Stallone) set the standard for the ideal body, but without the average woman or man being able to afford what it takes to get there.  Take their bodies (and self-proclaimed diet plans) with a grain of salt. Sure, they may eat a strict diet of fruits, vegetables and proteins, combined with two hours at the gym five days a week, but ask yourself: “What can I realistically eat every day, and how much time can I actually devote to a consistent workout regime?” For most men and women out there, two hours at the gym isn’t possible, and the average person doesn’t have a nutritionist on staff, monitoring every meal. Be easy on yourself. Eat balanced meals, and devote a workout plan of three times a week, with at least 30 minutes each. That’s how you’ll fight the battle of the bulge, even if it takes you a bit longer to get there than your favorite movie star.

Rule #3 – Don’t Weigh Yourself Frequently

Weighing yourself during the first few weeks of your weight loss program can make you feel as if you’re not making progress at all. When that happens and you’re not seeing results on a scale, you’re more likely to give up those great eating and exercise habits altogether. What’s the point of sweating in a spin class if you’re not losing weight? The fact about weight loss is this: your weight will fluctuate. Some days you will retain more water which will cause you to gain a pound; another day you’ll skip the processed crackers, which will cause you to drop a pound.  Don’t focus on the scale. Focus on how good it feels to fit differently in your jeans. That’s where your real weight loss success will start, so save the scale weigh in for once a week or once every two weeks.