Crash diets promise quick and easy results, but the results usually don’t last.

If you have packed on a few pounds recently, you may be considering a diet. But registered dietitian Ashley Hinds says the first rule of dieting is: don’t do it!

Registered dietitian Ashley Hinds says, “Our body is always trying to reach homeostasis and it is anticipating, oh, you put me through a famine, a diet, a few times now, I need to anticipate for the next famine, and that’s actually what leads to weight cycling, and typically that’s why dieting actually causes weight gain over time.”

One large review found at least one-third to two-thirds of people who dieted regained more weight than they lost within four to five years. Hinds says instead of dieting, focus on three daily meals, with two to three snacks, but don’t exclude your favorite foods completely!

Because what ends up happening is that if we think too much let’s say about a bad food or a societal bad food, then that’s all we can think about.

Even if you don’t diet, you can be conscious of your calorie intake. One way to figure out how many daily calories you need is the 12 calories per pound rule. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, your body uses roughly 1,800 calories a day.

And when it comes to losing fat, there’s really only one surefire formula: to shed one pound, you have to burn off 3,500 calories. Cleveland Clinic says intuitive eating is a great way to make peace with food without actually counting calories.

The approach involves listening to your body’s clues: eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. There are better alternatives to crash dieting.