Many people want to lose weight, but they find it hard to figure out which weight loss tips are true and which are false.
Here are 5 of the most common weight loss myths debunked:
Weight Loss Myth #1. Losing Weight is the Hard Part.
Many of us think that once we lose our excess weight, it will be easy to keep it off. We’re attracted to fad diets that promise quick weight loss, thinking that if we can just find an easy way to lose a few pounds we can surely keep it off this time. But the truth is that maintaining weight loss is the harder part for most people.
While the lure of gimmicks like “Lose 30 Pounds in 30 days!” can be powerful, fad diets or pills that promise quick results aren’t your best option for healthy and permanent weight loss. The problem isn’t that fad diets won’t help you lose weight, it’s that they do it in a way that’s hard and sometimes even unhealthy to maintain.
To lose weight and keep it off requires a lifestyle change—adopting healthy eating habits and regular physical activity. In addition to making it easier to maintain your weight loss, these changes can reduce your risk for diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.
Weight Loss Myth #2. Skipping Meals Will Help You Lose Weight.
Skipping meals to lose weight may seem logical, but it actually doesn’t work. In fact, missing meals can make it more difficult to shed unwanted pounds. For example, research studies have shown that people who skip breakfast tend to weight significantly more than those who regularly eat a morning meal.
Eating fewer times over the course of the day is also associated with increased weight. This is probably because going for long periods of time without food affects your blood sugar levels and the levels of the hormones that control hunger. Not eating when your body says you should, may makes you feel even hungrier later on, causing you to eat more than you otherwise would.
In addition, fluctuating glucose levels and eating too little can wreak havoc on your metabolism, slowing it down and making it harder to lose weight. Instead of skipping meals, try eating four or five small meals throughout the day. This will help prevent your blood sugar from spiking and dipping as well as keep you from feeling ravenous and overeating later.
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Weight Loss Myth #3: Fat Free Means You Will Not Store Fat
To understand this myth, have a look at the weight gain equation:
If you eat foods that have zero fat, this doesn’t mean you will not gain any weight. Why? Because what determines your body weight is the amount rather than the type of calories you eat. Simply put, if you eat more calories than your body expends, your will gain weight regardless of the amount of fat and the macronutrient ratios (proteins:fat:carbs).
The mechanism by which our body stores fat is known as lipogenesis. Therefore, whether you eat food that has zero fat or full fat, if in any day you ingest more calories than your body can burn in a day, then what is left unburned at the end of the day will be deposited as fat in your body.
Now that you are equipped with this knowledge, you understand why people actually can gain weight even when they eat fat-free foods! Fat-free foods are often loaded with a ton of sugar and carbs. Sugar increases your blood glucose concentration. Sugar spikes in your blood promote fat deposition in the belly. This type of fat, known as visceral fat, is the precursor of metabolic syndrome.
Many fat-free foods contain a lot of calories. So, fat-free doesn’t mean you will not gain weight. Look for the total calories. If the food item has many calories, make sure you eat it in moderation.
Weight Loss Myth #4. Carbohydrates Make You Fat.
In the last few years, the popularity of low-carb and no-carb diets have perpetuated the myth that all carbohydrates are fattening and bad for you. In reality, carbohydrates are a necessary part of a healthy diet—as long as you choose the right carbs and, as with all foods, eat them in moderation.
While you should avoid processed carbohydrates like sugar and white flour, complex carbohydrates are a good choice for weight loss. Complex carbs, like beans and brown rice, are actually low in calories but high in fiber—an excellent combination for weight loss. Vegetables and whole grains may be high in starches and carbs, but they provide important vitamins, aid digestion, and can even lower your risk of some diseases. Moreover, studies have found that a breakfast high in carbs is actually associated with a lower body weight.
Weight Loss Myth #5. Fat-Free Equals Calorie-Free.
Grabbing the fat-free or low-fat version of a food may seem like the best choice, but sometimes the full-fat product is actually the better option for weight loss. Check the nutrition information before you buy to make sure the fat-free food is actually lower in calories.
To make fat-free products taste as good as the original version, companies often add additional sugar, flour, or other ingredients that can add calories. In other instances, the serving size of a low-fat food is smaller than you would expect. The words “low fat” can lead you to eat many more calories of a food than you would if you purchased the full-fat version.
Weight Loss Myth #6. Lifting Weights Will Make You “Bulk Up” Instead of Slim Down.
Most people don’t have to worry about “bulking up” by accident—it takes a lot of work and heavy weights to build large, bulky muscles. Lifting weights or doing exercises that use your own body’s resistance—like pushups and situps—can actually help you lose weight.
Because muscle burns more calories than fat, strength training exercises that build muscle will increase the number of calories your body burns even when you aren’t exercising. Aerobic exercise is important to losing weight and staying healthy, but you’ll have even more success if you also incorporate strength training.
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