15 Weight loss myths

Weight loss is much more than eating less and exercising more. One tends to cheat or adhere to simpler but wrong means to attain weight loss and then abides by the same.

As fitness enthusiasts we need to understand the thin line between weight loss myths and weight loss truths. Weight management consultant, Riddesh Jani, Sketch Clinics busts 15 myths about weight loss.

Myth: Skipping a meal is a good way to diet and lose weight.

Truth: Skipping a meal slows your body’s metabolism. This is to preserve the stored calories through slowing the need for them. If you skip a meal you are likely to eat more at the next one.

Eat three regular meals a day, and if you are working at losing weight, eat smaller portions every 3 hours.

Myth: You don’t need to exercise to lose weight. Only dieting is enough.

Truth: Exercise is an add on with dieting. We cannot stop our cravings, and stop eating all our favourite foods. However we can burn off calories by exercising. By incorporating exercise into our daily regime, we immediately make weight loss more attainable. Simply by walking 30 minutes every day at a pace which raises our heart rate enough can help our weight loss tremendously. Additionally, exercise gives us many other health benefits, like a healthier heart, lower blood pressure, a greater feeling of well-being etc.

Myth: Carbohydrates are bad for you.

Truth: Carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for your body’s engine. Carbohydrates have about half the amount of calories per gram as fats do. The problem with people’s diets today is that they contain a lot of simple carbohydrates like sugar and high fructose corn syrup. When people eat low-carb diets, they eliminate these very high calorie carbohydrates and they lose weight.

This type of weight loss doesn’t last for most people; however, research has shown that eating a diet low in fat and high in complex carbohydrates like whole grain and starches is good.Weight loss

Myth: Low-fat and fat-free (non-fat) foods are low in calories.?

Truth: It is not necessary that Low Fat or No fat means Low calories or No calorie. Lot of foods which say this have low fat but will add other carbs and sugar and will have may be the same or more calories than the full fat version. Apple is low fat but that does not mean it does not have calories. Always check the calories of foods that you are eating.

Myth: You have to work out for 45 minutes at a time to get anything out of exercise.

Truth: Even 30mins of walking helps you to burn calories. Start with a 30min stroll 5 times a day. You will start enjoying it its fun. Then increase the time and start a brisk walk.

Myth: Eating late at night or just before you go to bed makes you gain weight.

Truth: Calories are calories. If you eat too many and don’t exercise enough, you will gain weight. Eating late and going to bed simply doesn’t matter. When you eat too much your body has an amazing ability to store the extra calories as fat. Eating later for most people generally means that they have eaten more calories than they need.

Myth: The reason why I weigh more is my metabolic rate is low.

Truth: As people gain weight they increase not only body fat, but also some muscle to support that fat. Approximately 20-30 percent of excess weight is muscle. Muscle tissue burns calories, so the more muscle someone has, the greater the metabolic rate. So in general, the more someone weighs, the greater their metabolic rate. This doesn’t include calories burned through physical activity.

Myth: Fad diets work best for permanent weight loss.

Truth: Fad diets (South Beach Diet, Blood Group Diet, Atkins Diet, Glycemic Load Diet etc.) are not the best way to lose weight and keep it off. You may lose weight at first on one of these diets. But diets that strictly limit calories or food choices are hard to follow. Most people quickly get tired of them and regain any lost weight. Diets that provide less than 800 calories per day also could result in heart rhythm abnormalities, which can be fatal. ?Research suggests that losing ½ to 2 Kgs a week by making healthy food choices, eating moderate portions, and building physical activity into your daily life is the best way to lose weight and keep it off. By adopting healthy eating and physical activity habits, you may also lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Myth: High-protein are a healthy way to lose weight.

Truth: Getting most of your daily calories from high- protein foods like meat, eggs, and cheese is not a balanced eating plan. You may be eating too much fat and cholesterol, which can cause heart disease. You may be eating too few fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which may lead to constipation due to lack of dietary fiber and cause a lack of essential vitamins and minerals. Following a high-protein diet may also make you feel nauseous, tired, and weak.

Myth: Weight gain is genetic. You inherit it from your parents

Truth: There is no Gene called as FAT Gene that is transferred from parents to their children in the family tree. Chances are that if parents are fat, they are likely to have an unhealthy lifestyle and eating habits which they in turn teach their children. So unhealthy habits are passed down the family tree.

Myth: If you’re trying to lose weight do more and more cardio.

Fact: In order to lose weight you need to shock your body. If you have never exercised before, sure running everyday will definitely shock your body and make you lose a lot of weight initially, but for how long will you be able to sustain it is the question. Over time, you will reach a weight loss plateau and eventually start gaining weight again, because of repetitive workouts. Instead try a variety of workouts like yoga, weight training, and cardio. You can keep upping your weights and fine-tuning your workout, therefore bringing about a change in workout so necessary in sustained weight management.

Myth: I can snack on anything I want, as long as it is not fried, but baked.

Fact: There is a plethora of so-called ‘healthy’ baked snacks out there in the market. And people guiltless in their innocence, munch incessantly on these, happy with the knowledge that at least they are not snacking on something fried. While on the surface this is perfectly good logic, it depends on what the baked snack that you are munching on is. For e.g., if you are munching on baked nuts instead of fried nuts or baked chicken over fried chicken or baked nachni chips over fried, then by all means you are making a healthier choice by avoiding the excess oils. But let’s say on the other hand that you are munching on baked chakris or baked bhakarvadis then you are indeed eating something that is highly processed, with high levels of sodium and maida. I would not call that a healthy snack in anyway, as it all adds up when you are trying to lose weight.

Myth: It is safe to take nutritional supplements if I want to lose weight?

Truth: It is not recommended to take nutritional supplements to lose weight. Firstly most weight loss supplements work through increasing the frequency of our bowel movements which destroys our natural bowel movement and causes dehydration and many nutritional deficiencies as well. Secondly, some supplements work through eliminating all fat in our diet by excreting it in our feces and this is not recommended as we lose many fatty acids which are essential for our good health.

Myth : Warm ups and cool downs are unnecessary.

Truth: Without warming up you are pretty much asking your body to work before the extra oxygen and blood flow reaches the muscles, thus increasing the danger of muscle injury. Spending 5 to 10 minutes on a good warm up helps raise your body temperature from inside out – something your muscles need for adequate performance. Cool downs work in a similar manner, when it comes to taking care to avoid workout injuries. If you skip cool downs, you put your muscles at risk of soreness as you haven’t flushed the lactic acid out of your system. It helps in lowering your heart rate back to normal and keeps you energised all day long.

Myth : Bananas can never be a part of healthy weight loss.

Truth: Bananas are part of a healthy diet, and should also be part of a fat loss diet, however no food by itself helps one to lose weight. To lose weight one has to create a caloric deficit i.e to burn more calories than what they consume in a day. For most cases a caloric deficit of 10-15% works best and ones that create a greater caloric deficit generally causes more muscle loss rather than fat loss.

Myth: A detox diet is the ultimate diet plan for me.

Truth: If you have had repeated night outs week after week or if you are bored of eating too much junk food and artificial additives, and losing weight is on your mind, then a well-balanced ‘detox’ diet might do the trick for you. But keep in mind, that by ‘well-balanced detox diet’ we do not mean the meagre, juice, master cleanse, water etc kind of debilitating detox diets. Here we’re talking about a diet that is balanced in terms of all essential food groups, devoid of processed foods that are high in unnecessary sugar and transfats, and is well portioned and distributed through the day.