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Friday, September 23, 2011

10 Common Weight Loss Myths Debunked

Well, I'm sure at some stage that we have all believed or known someone who believes in some weird and wonderful weight loss myth. There are many weight loss myths out there and many, many books could be written about all the do's and don'ts for weight loss and unfortunately some of these myths and tips are just plain wrong or misinformative. Accordingly, I decided to write an article on 10 common and widely believed weight loss myths that need to be debunked and busted.

Myth 1: Eating after 7pm or late evening causes weight gain.

Basically, at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what time of the day food is eaten. The bigger factor to consider is "did more calories get consumed compared to being used/burned over the course of the day and night. It's all about the balance of energy in - energy out.

Myth 2: I should cut out all my favourite unhealthy snacks.

You are allowed to treat yourself from time to time, and will help you to avoid letting cravings build up and turn into all out binges. Remember the old saying "everything in moderation". Focus on not only improving diet, but increasing your activity and exercise levels. Diet change alone just doesn't cut it when it comes to weight loss. Look into some bodyweight exercises that you can do at home if you can't access or afford a gym membership.

Myth 3: I should avoid eating between meals.

Not so. Eating between meals can be beneficial (so long as it's healthy) as it can help prevent you from over-eating later. It can also help as it can increase the thermic effect of food (energy used to digest food) leading to more energy burned over the course of the day.

Myth 4: If I choose a really strict diet, It will be easier to adhere to.

Seriously, most people will quickly tire of going through the hassles and boredom of removing certain food groups or eating only certain foods. You will more likely end up craving all the things you have taken away. This is not a good approach to achieving a well balanced and sensible diet.

Myth 5: Drastically reducing calorie intake will make me lose weight faster.

If your energy intake is drastically reduced your body will be forced into a state of 'starvation mode' and will become really efficient at making the most of all the food that it does get as your metabolism slows down. So by the time you get sick of denying yourself all that food (yes it will happen) and return to a more normal diet, you are more likely to pack those kilos back on and maybe more. Definitely not a long term solution.

Myth 6: I need to remove and avoid any fat in my diet.

Fat is essential in the diet, no ifs or buts about it. Fats play an important role in the body and are crucial for hormone production and other roles. Yes, it's true that some fats are bad for you (limit your saturated and trans fat intake) but polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat get a far worse reputation than they deserve. Some fats are actually really good for you, case in point: omega-3 fatty acids.

Myth 7: I need to remove all dairy products from my diet.

Absolutely not. There is just so much benefit from dairy products such as calcium (especially important for women), and there are lots of low fat dairy options available. Some research has even indicated that people with diets high in dairy products may be more effective at losing weight and avoiding weight gain.

Myth 8: Skipping meals will help me lose weight.

No way. This will lead to overeating later on. If you have to skip some meals, try and avoid skipping breakfast as this is a crucial meal to kick start your metabolism and start your day properly. Find a decent cereal that is high in fibre and not too high in sugar content. Change to a skim milk if you use full cream etc, and limit adding additional sugar.

Myth 9: Drinking tonnes of water will help with weight loss.

Yes and no. Water is not a magic tool to boost your weight loss but can still be helpful as drinking more water may prevent or lessen your intake of high sugar drinks such as coke, red bulls, fruit juices etc which will definitely help with weight loss.

Myth 10: If I'm not losing at least several kilograms a week I should just give up.

Not so. Rapid weight loss (>1.5-2kg per week) can actually be unhealthy and studies have shown that people are more likely to achieve a long-term weight loss goal by losing smaller amounts per week (.5- 1.5kg), allowing the body to adjust to a healthier weight.

Ashley Hamilton - Rush Fitness NZ

NZ Sports, Health & Fitness

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