These days it seams like everyone is an expert. Maybe it’s your next door neighbor trying to sell you some new cure all or maybe it’s your sister-n-law giving you advice on how to lose 10 lbs in 2 days with some secret diet used by natives in the Amazon jungle.
We are bombarded with these wild and exaggerated claims on a daily basis. Discarding some of these common misconceptions will help you drop those unwanted pounds.
So let’s break down some of these weight loss claims and see what’s real and what’s myth.
- Carbs are Bad
There has been an explosion of low carb diets over the last several years. What many people don’t understand is that not all carbs are bad. Carbohydrates are an essential source of fuel for your body. The types of carbs you eat are what’s important. You want to stay away from products high in refined sugar and most starchy foods. For more information on which carbs to eat read my article Glycemic Index: Which foods are best?
- Cut Out the Fat
Again a distinction needs to be made about good and bad fats. You should be trying to eat lean meats to help keep the amount of saturated fats and cholesterol down in your diet. With that said, fatty fish like salmon and mackerel are excellent sources of omega 3 fatty acids which play a very important role in your diet.
- Cut Those Calories
While it is true that cutting calories is very important to losing weight it is only one aspect of a good weight loss program. When you start a diet you need to be careful not to cut too many calories. Your body, if deprived of too many calories, will slow down its metabolism and go into a conservation mode and will start storing more fat. That’s why it is never a good idea to starve yourself.
- Hardcore Dieting
We live in a drive thru world and everyone expects immediate gratification with very little effort. Doing extreme diets will cause you to lose weight fairly quickly but most people will just gain it right back once they stop. Dieting should not be about losing weight but about making changes to your eating habits that can be maintained for the long term.
- No More Deserts
You don’t have to give up all of your favorite foods while trying to lose weight. In fact it becomes counterproductive psychologically and will likely cause you to fail. The key is moderation. Use your favorite foods and deserts as a motivation for eating well for the week. Have a day where you can eat the foods that you love but remember to eat it in moderation and not gorge yourself with it.
- Put Down Those Snacks
Yes do put down those brownies and ho-ho’s and instead pick up some fruit or veggies. What many people don’t understand is that eating the right snacks can actually speed up your metabolism. The longer you go between meals the more likely you will slow down your metabolism and cause your body to retain more fat. It falls into the same category as cutting too many calories. If your body knows that it will have a steady stream of fuel it won’t be worried about storing up fuel in the way of fat to use at a later time. This is genetically hard wired into us from hundreds of thousands of years of evolution.
- I Overeat Because I am Hungry
Unless you have a genetic problem with the hormone that tells you that you are full then chances are it’s not because you are hungry. People overeat because of emotional problems and stress. Think about it when you are depressed or stressed out which foods to you go for? You go for the comfort foods like chocolate, cookies, pizza, fill in the blank. Then what happens is you eat a lot of high density caloric foods quickly before your body has time to tell you that you are full. Simple solution is to find something that will keep you busy during those times.
- You Have to Do Cardio
This is a common misunderstanding for people. Yes it is true that doing cardio will help you burn calories but you have to be exercising at a certain rate for an extended period of time before you even go into fat burning mode.
Remember though that once you stop so does the calorie burning. Weight lifting on the other hand will help you to burn calories over the long haul. The higher your muscle density the more calories your body requires to burn to sustain itself.
In effect you have raised your BMR (basal metabolic rate). It’s like cutting calories out of your diet without reducing the amount of food you eat. At any rate doing any exercise will help you drop those unwanted pounds.
The key to losing weight is not about which fad diet or miracle supplement you are on, it’s about having the perseverance to follow through and make the necessary life changes. You need to find ways to stay motivated and stay on track.