Maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of looking and feeling good. For many people it is a constant battle of yo-yo diets, unfulfilled gym contracts and brand new sneakers that never get used.
To help you wade your way through all the conflicting information out there we’ve selected some of the most common diet and weight loss myths and debunked them for you. If you feel like you’re trying hard and not seeing the results you want, read on.
You Put It On Easily, You Can Take It Off Just As Easily
It is easy to put on weight, but a lot harder to get it off again. Eating and drinking is: you can consume as much as you like, until you feel full but every calorie you do not use up is stored as body fat.
Losing the weight is another matter; it takes sustained and long term commitment. In other words, you need to invest daily effort. Sustainable, healthy weight loss happens over a long period of time. Some people just do not have the patience to see it through. Research indicates that about six months is the average time period that most people last on a weight loss effort. Whether it is because of changes to the metabolism or people losing their discipline to continue is still a mystery, but experts agree that the body likes to hold onto weight.
Burning 3500 Calories A Day Will Lose A Pound Of Weight
Any experienced dieter will be familiar with the theory that losing (or cutting out) 3500 calories per day will lose a pound of weight. Sorry to burst your bubble, but the data that supports this absurd claim was based on the results of a starvation study performed in the 1950s.
Dropping 3500 calories per day might be enough to lose weight for the first 10 or 12 days but when your weight drops and you carry less mass your body compensates for it by burning fewer calories for doing the same things. Once you hit a plateau you will stop losing weight even if you cut back on calories.
When trying to create a calorie deficit you need to look at different factors like your height, age, body fat and sex.
Samuel Klein, MD at Washington University’s School of Medicine says:
Decreasing food intake is much more effective than increasing physical activity to achieve weight loss. If you want to achieve a 300 kcal energy deficit you can run in the park for 3 miles or not eat 2 ounces of potato chips.” It’s as simple as that.
Everyone Loses And Gains Weight In The Same Way
A famous study carried out in the 1990s by a Canadian researcher took a look at 12 sets of identical twins. They were instructed to increase their daily calories by 1000 each and were only allowed 30 minutes of physical exercise. The study was controlled: the participants were confined to a room and their caloric intake was strictly monitored for a 90-day period.
The researcher’s expectation was that each volunteer would amass 24 pounds at the end of it. But surprisingly, the weight gain varied by 10 to 30 pounds per person. The twins within each set gained almost the same weight but the patterns between the sets was vastly different. When it came to weight loss some people dropped pounds quickly while others just couldn’t shake it off.
Exercise Will Not Help You Lose Weight
Yes, you know that but we also know it is exactly what you tell yourself when you don’t feel like doing any exercise. Interestingly, researchers have observed that when people exercise they also overeat to compensate for the extra physical work they are doing. Mayoclinic informs us:
Being active is an important part of any weight-loss or weight-maintenance program. When you’re active, your body uses more energy (calories). And when you burn more calories than you consume, you lose weight.
The experts say that people who haven’t experienced any kind of weight loss from exercise aren’t actually doing enough to warrant results. Not exercising encourages defects in your metabolism, which are generally bad for your health and which certainly make losing weight more difficult.
Take note: a study that followed the habits of thousands of people who lost an average of 60 pounds each and kept it off for two years had exercised for an hour or longer per day.
On the opposite side of the scale, another study has documented how a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to obesity. Researchers at the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health have now found data to support that the last 50 years have seen humans doing a lot less physical activity:
The results suggest that as a nation, we spend more than 15 hours per day sleeping and sitting, and that obese men and women spend less than one minute per day in vigorous activity.
Eliminating One Food Group Is The Secret To Weight Loss
Firstly, there is no “secret” to weight loss. Secondly there is no food that, by cutting it out, can help you to lose weight or lose it faster. Your body needs proteins, carbohydrates and good fats in the right proportions. Cutting out one food group is going to have consequences and, unless you have your meals nutritionally planned by a professional, they are likely to have a negative effect on your health. Also consider that if you cut out a major food group you’ll be likely to replace it with something else.
If you are going to be eliminating anything from your diet, anything that is not “food” should go. Opt for free range, organic, grain-fed meats and whole foods instead of processed meals which are laden with empty calories, and hidden salt and sugar.
Re-learn the way you eat and observe how you feel while you are doing it. If it helps you, start keeping a food journal and see if you can find a pattern of comfort or emotional eating when you are feeling down. If you are a comfort eater and you convert your refrigerator into a wholesome food store, emotional eating won’t be as devastating on your weight loss efforts.
Enjoy what you are eating. Savor every mouthful and take smaller bites. Make sure you chew your food properly and slow the whole process down. It can take up to 20 minutes for the body to realize it is full, so give yourself the chance to stop before you over-eat.