Learning to lose weight is a tricky business. On the face of it, it’s fairly simple; just burn more calories than you consume and you’ll more than likely lose weight.
Unfortunately, however, weight loss often isn’t that easy. Certain diets can help you lose weight initially, but are so difficult to stick to that you’ll fall off the wagon immediately and could even lead to a net weight gain over time. The same can be said for suddenly taking up an exercise regime that you’re not ready for.
As a result, a number of myths about losing weight have emerged over the years that, despite sounding plausible and even, in some cases, logical, actually have a negative impact on your weight loss journey. Keep reading to learn more about these myths and how they won’t help you lose weight.
10 Myths About how to Lose Weight
There are loads of weight loss myths out there, ranging from the barely plausible to the apparently logical, so it’s important you sort the truth from fiction before you begin, otherwise you could be heading down the wrong path altogether. Here, we’ve brought together 10 of the most common weight loss myths to help keep you on the right track.
A Crash Diet is the Best way to Lose Weight
Drastically cutting the amount of food you eat is, in fact one of the worst things you can do as starving yourself like this can actually lead to longer-term weight gain.
This is because diets such as these are so difficult to maintain that you’re more likely to fall off the wagon – and do so dramatically. This is largely because, due to the limited variety of food you may be consuming, you might be missing out on certain nutrients and so your body will be low on energy.
As a result, you’ll be craving foods that are high in sugars and fats, making it more likely you’ll be eating more calories than you really need, meaning you can actually put on weight. In order to lose weight, you really need to follow a balanced, healthy diet that ensures you get all the nutrition you need, none that you don’t and keeping you feeling full in the meantime.
‘Low fat’ or Reduced fat’-labelled foods are Always the Healthiest Choice
This isn’t always the case and for a number of reasons. For starters, ‘low fat’ foods only have to meet certain legal levels to be classified as such and ‘reduced fat’ foods only have to contain less fat than their full fat counterparts, so the difference may be fairly small.
Another thing to be wary of is that, often the fat that has been taken out of the product has been replaced by something else that isn’t great for you, but is required to make it taste nice – sugar.
An Extreme Exercise Regime is the Only way to Lose Weight
Much like a crash diet, a crash exercise regimen is not necessarily an effective, long-term way to lose weight – and keep it off. Again, like a crash diet, this is because it will eventually prove almost impossible to stick to.
Instead, the key to successful, long-term weight loss is making small changes to your exercise routine – but making them permanent and, significantly, achievable. Ideally, you should be getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity, five times a week and maybe more, depending on how much weight you want to lose.
The simple fact is that to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume, which generally requires either eating less, moving more or, ideally, a combination of both.
Skipping Meals is a Good way to Lose Weight
This is absolutely not a good idea. In order to lose weight – and make sure it stays off – you do have to reduce the number of calories you’re consuming, but skipping meals isn’t the right way to go about it. It can make you feel tired and you may miss out on essential nutrients too, while skipping meals also makes it more likely you’ll snap and go for some high fat or high sugar snacks to fill yourself up with, thus negating much of the hard work you’ve already put in.
Eating Carbohydrates Make you put on Weight
Carbohydrates are a vital part of a healthy, balanced diet and, eaten in the right quantities and ways, can actually help with weight loss, by helping keep you full and avoid high fat and sugar snacks.
If you’re trying to lose weight, then it’s always best to try and have more wholegrain carbohydrates, like wholemeal bread, pasta and rice, as well as cereals, while it’s best to keep skins on any potatoes you eat. This will help increase the amount of fibre in your diet – a vital nutrient for a healthy, balanced diet.
It’s also important you try and avoid frying your starchy foods (like chips, for example) and steer clear of serving pasta or rice, for example with butter or creamy sauces. Try and stick to tomato-based sauces for best results.
Drinking Water Helps You Lose Weight
There’s no truth in this. Drinking loads of water won’t help you lose weight in as of itself, but it will keep you from getting thirsty. Often, we confuse hunger for thirst and so will snack instead of drink, so if you feel hungry, it may be better to see if a glass of water sates your craving instead.
Cutting out Snacks Will Help you Lose Weight
It’s not snacking that’s the issue, more the type of snack. We all get peckish between meals.
If you stick to fruits or vegetables and lead a moderately active lifestyle, rather than crisps, chocolate or other fatty, sugary snacks and a sedentary way of life, then you’re much more likely to successfully lose weight.
Healthy Foods are Expensive
Sometimes it appears that healthier foods are pricier than less healthy foods but this isn’t necessarily the case. If you try replacing ingredients with healthier alternatives, it’ll often work out cheaper in the long run.
For example, cheaper cuts of meat can easily be made nice and lean, while mixing it with frozen vegetables beans and other pulses (which tend to be very cheap) is a great way to bulk out dishes like stir fries and stews, making them healthy, filling and great value for money.
All Slimming Pills are Safe to use for Weight Loss
You need to be very careful with slimming pills and tablets as they’re not all safe for everyone to use to help them lose weight. It’s vital you talk to your doctor before taking sort of pills to help with any weight loss.
There are a number of prescription products available that your doctor will give you if they feel it’s suitable, but there are plenty of non-prescription, unlicensed products out there that could contain harmful ingredients.
Some Foods Speed up Your Metabolism
Your metabolism is the chemical process that basically keeps you alive. It keeps you breathing, keeps your organs working, repairs your cells and digests your food. All these processes require energy – which we get from food – and the amount of energy required depends on a number of factors, such as age, body size and gender.
There are claims that some foods and drinks increase the speed of your metabolism by helping the body burn more calories and aid weight loss. There is little evidence for this and some of those foods often contain high levels of sugar or caffeine, both of which need to be consumed in only moderate amounts for a healthy, balanced diet.