It is important for anyone trying to lose weight that they see some progress early on in order to stay motivated. Common sense combined with a desire to be swimwear-ready as quick as possible makes us google “quickest way to lose weight” or “best tips to lose weight”.
In under a second, we are greeted with millions of web pages all promising great wisdom that will help us succeed. The problem is though that one page tells us to stay away from all carbs yet another tells us to fill up on them. A million pages say all fat is bad and yet another million tell us the opposite.
Before you search for “how to lose weight and not feel like an idiot who should have concentrated more in home economics class”, here is a complete list of seven weight loss myths and the real truth behind them.
Metabolism Boosting Foods Don't Exist
Myth: Metabolism (metabolic rate) is how fast your body breaks down food into energy. The higher it is the faster you burn calories and in turn lose weight. The myth was that were no foods that could boost your metabolism and that this theory only worked in studies on mice.
Reality: Eating food increases the ‘Thermic Effect of Food' (TEF) which is the calories needed to absorb, digest and break down food. Protein-rich foods have the highest TEF on average 20%.
Drinking more water has also been shown to increase resting metabolism while doing fast intensive workouts too can help you burn fat by increasing your metabolic rate.
Quick Fix Crash Diets Help You Shed the Pounds
Myth: The thinking was that only eating foods low in calories combined with excessive workouts would help you shed all that weight and keep you looking slim.
Reality: If you lose weight too quickly your body's metabolism will slow down and you will actually put back on that weight. This was proven when scientists followed the stories of those who participated in “The Biggest Loser”. All the contestants who lost weight actually ended up putting back on weight after the show because their metabolism had slowed.
All Fat Is Bad For You
Myth: Stay away from fat as it will stay in your body and make you, well, fat!
Reality: If you are in the habit of staying alive then you NEED fat. Not all fats contribute to weight gain. Your body uses fat to build tissues, stay warm, absorb nutrients, create hormones and so on. There is however good fats and bad fats. Researchers from Barcelona showed that people with a Mediterranean diet with a high-fat content from olive oil and nuts did not gain weight.
Run More and Lose More Weight
Myth: The idea was that runners who ran a greater distance would lose more weight.
Reality: Researchers in Denmark did an experiment where 30 men did 30 minutes exercise a day and 30 men did 60 minutes a day. After 3 months the men who did 30 minutes exercise a day had lost on average 3. Kilo but the men who exercised for 60 minutes lost on average 2.7 kilos. The reason for this is believed to be the fact that those who did longer sessions required more energy and thus ate more. Bottom line is to exercise but watch your diet as you do.
All Carbohydrates Are Bad for You
Myth: The Atkins diet led many to believe that all forms of carbs were bad for you.
Reality: Carbs are essential as they give the body glucose which is the energy source we need. If the body does not get carbs it will turn to protein and break it down into energy which is bad for those looking to build and repair muscle. Carbs such as vegetables, beans, lentils and whole grains are nutrient-rich carbs whereas simple carbs such as fructose may provide a quick boost in energy but lack nutrients and may contribute to weight gain.
Low Fat or Reduced Fat Is Not Always the Best
Myth: On the outside, it makes sense to eat foods labelled as low fat or reduced fat but this is not always the case and it might actually be worse for you.
Reality: When a company advertises as low fat or reduced fat they may have reduced the aforementioned content but in reality, they more often replace the fat with sugars to compensate for the loss of taste. This excess in sugar contains calories that are void of nutrients and excess in calories will be stored as fat in the body! Tip: Always read the label.
Removing All Snacks Will Help Reduce Weight
Myth: The notion that by removing all our snacks we will, in turn, reduce our weight by simply not eating as much.
Reality: Snacks may be needed throughout the day to keep us going and can be a good way of rewarding ourselves after exercise but ONLY if we choose the correct snacks. Examples of healthy snacks include seeds, nuts, Hemp Bars, dark chocolate, fruit, and veg.
A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down but sometimes you just need cold hard facts, a desire to change, and a friend or partner who supports you when you get fed up with trying to lose weight. Eat well, exercise, and slowly but surely your desired outcome will appear.