Common Myths Around Weight Loss
In the present era, most of us are health conscious. It’s a good evolution that is taking place in our society—many more people are aiming to get fit and are concerned about their eating and lifestyle habits. Nonetheless, there is also another group of people who are in a hurry to get instant results, and thus choose to follow regimes based on incorrect myths.
Some common myths in relation to weight loss are as follows:
MYTH: STARVING YOURSELF IS THE BEST WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT
FACT: Such myths can be potentially dangerous. Crash diets are not likely to result in long-term weight loss. In fact, they can sometimes lead to long-term weight gain. The main problem is that this type of diet is too hard to maintain. Your body will be low on energy, causing you to crave high-fat and high-sugar foods. When you finally give in and eat those foods, you will often eat more calories than you need, causing weight gain.
MYTH: SKIPPING MEALS HELPS IN WEIGHT LOSS
FACT: Skipping meals is not a good idea. To lose weight and keep it off, you have to reduce the number of calories you consume or increase the calories you burn through exercise.
But skipping meals altogether can result in tiredness and poor nutrition as you would be more likely to consume snacks which are high-fat and high-sugar – which could result in weight gain. This is one of the more common myths people believe.
MYTH: CUTTING OUT ON ALL SNACKS WILL MAKE YOU LOSE WEIGHT
FACT: Snacking is not the problem when trying to lose weight, it’s the type of snacks which must be considered. Many people need a snack in-between meals to maintain energy levels, especially if they have an active lifestyle.
Choose vegetable fingers with curd or yogurt-based dip or hummus, roasted channa, makhana, instead of crisps or other snacks that are high in sugar.
MYTH: YOU SHOULD AVOID ALL FATS IF YOU’RE TRYING TO BE HEALTHY OR LOSE WEIGHT.
FACT: You do not have to avoid all fats if you’re trying to improve your health or lose weight. Fat provides essential nutrients and should be an important part of a healthy eating plan. If you are trying to lose weight, consider eating small amounts of food with healthy fats, such as avocados, olives, or nuts like almonds and walnuts. A keto diet is also one of the more healthier and medically proven ways to lose weight.
MYTH: DAIRY PRODUCTS ARE FATTENING AND UNHEALTHY.
FACT: Dairy products are an important food group especially for vegetarians because they have protein which helps build muscles, helps organs work well, and calcium to strengthen bones. Avoid the low-fat products as fats are usually replaced by carbs and sugar there to compensate for the taste.
MYTH: NUTS ARE FATTENING AND SHOULD BE AVOIDED IF YOU WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT
FACT: Although nuts are high in calories and fat, most contain heart-healthy monounsaturates and have a low glycemic index. This means they help keep blood sugar levels steady and leave you fuller for longer after eating them. Nuts also contain protein, fiber and many other vitamins and minerals contributing to a healthy diet.
MYTH: GOING VEGETARIAN WILL HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT AND BE HEALTHIER.
FACT: Some research shows that consuming plant-based foods may be linked to lower levels of obesity, lower blood pressure, and a reduced risk of heart disease. But becoming a vegetarian will only lead to weight loss if you reduce the total number of calories intake. Some vegetarians may make food choices that could lead to weight gains, such as eating a lot of food high in sugar and calories.
MYTH: WEIGHT LOSS IS IMPOSSIBLE BECAUSE OF FREQUENT TOURS
FACT: If one is eating out most of the time it is essential to know how to make the right choice. One must be able to analyze the ingredients of a dish and ask for modifications in the method of cooking or in the choice of ingredients. E.g. Ordering a salad without the dressing; selecting non-cream based soups; choosing dals over gravy based vegetables; choosing plain wheat rotis over naans.
One can resort to nuts, fruits, liquids, dairy products as snacks when on the go. Wherever you are, it is important to make a conscious effort to eat less and light, balance a heavy meal with a lighter one and be physically active. This will help prevent weight gain and maintain sound digestion too.
MYTH: WEIGHT GAIN IS GENETIC. YOU INHERIT IT FROM YOUR PARENTS
FACT: 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 it is just the unhealthy habits that are passed down the family tree.
MYTH: YOU CAN LOSE WEIGHT ONLY BY EXERCISING
FACT: However, the fact is that you can burn a lot of calories by exercising, but to lose weight you need to have a caloric deficit. For example, in order to lose 1 lb in a week, one would have to burn 500 calories or more every day, which is equivalent to a brisk walk of two hours, a swim for half an hour or cleaning the house for three hours. In the long run, restricting the diet can be much more effective when it comes to weight loss. Such myths are again quite common.
Not all calorie sources have the same effects on health and weight. For example, protein can increase metabolism, reduce appetite and improve the function of weight-regulating hormones. “Changing your weight is a marathon, not a sprint”. It can take a long time, and you need to be consistent if you want to succeed in the long run.
(Bangalore and Chennai Residents)
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- Abhisarika Das