Do not let it sabotage your weight loss journey
After years of practicing Obesity Medicine, it surprises me the amount of misconceptions people still have about weight loss. If your goal is to lose weight, keep it off and achieve a healthier life, forget what the media tells you and begin to put into practice significant lifestyle changes that will help you stay on track and help you reach your goal.
I have grouped the Top 5 Weight Loss Myths I usually discuss with my patients.
Myth # 1: Skipping meals or eating less food will help you lose weight faster
Eating fewer amounts of high caloric foods and beverages will initially help you to lose weight very quickly. However, after a while you will notice that you are stuck and you are not losing anymore weight. Skipping meals or not eating enough calories slows down your metabolic rate and your body will find itself holding the fat.
It is just like running your car without gas. Our bodies were created to store fat, which was later used during periods of famine or illnesses. Nowadays, that hardly occurs in first world countries; we hardly burn the excess fat we have stored in our bodies.
Another common situation is that most of the people that eat fewer calories during the day, later on, find themselves eating more at night, especially foods that are high in fat and refined sugars.
Tip: Eat at least three meals and two snacks a day. Believe it or not, you need to eat the right type of food to lose the excess weight, and if you are exercising, you will need to increase your caloric intake.
Myth #2: Eating too much fat makes you fat
It is not as simple as it sounds. Fat is required for many bodily functions such as absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, absorption of phytonutrients mostly found in fruits and vegetables and regulation of certain hormones. In babies and toddlers, the fat is necessary for the development of the brain and the central nervous system. Fat also helps delay digestion, making us feel fuller longer and avoid hunger.
Eating an excess of calories that are not being utilized by the body will be stored as fat. Unfortunately, the excess of food being consumed, foods high in refined sugars and saturated fats, and the decrease in physical activity have all contributed to the raise in incidence of obesity.
Tip: Definitely cutting calories from fat will help you lose weight. However, we must select the right type of fat to remain healthy. Eat healthy fats (monounsaturated & polyunsaturated fats plus additional omega-3 fatty acids) and avoid dangerous fat such as saturated & trans fats. Eating healthy fats can actually help your body burn fat since it will use the stored fat as fuel instead of storing additional amounts.
Be careful in selecting low-fat or fat-free foods. Check the nutrition label for the amount of sugars in it. Food manufacturers usually add sugar, flour or starch to compensate for the lack of flavor and texture. The food ends up with more calories than the original product.
Myth #3: Carbohydrates are dangerous for your health
Carbohydrates are necessary to your health because every cell in your body uses them for energy. In fact, the brain can only use carbohydrates for energy. It is important to distinguish between the properties of simple carbohydrates and the healthy properties of complex carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates are high in fiber which improves digestion. Simple carbohydrates are more refined and usually found in food with fewer nutrients; it tends to be less satisfying more fattening.
Tip: Any excess of calories consumed can make you gain weight. Decrease the amount of simple and refined carbohydrates that are low in fiber and nutrients. The selection of a balanced diet rich in plant-complex based carbohydrates will help you lose weight and get healthier. Be aware of the amount of sugar that is added to food and beverages. Eating complex carbohydrates will delay the digestion, and stabilize blood sugar levels making you feel more satiated.
Myth #4: As long as you exercise, you do not have to watch what you eat
Exercise makes our cardiovascular and musculoskeletal system stronger and healthier. It also helps us tone our body, making us feel more energetic. The combination of a regular exercise program and healthy eating habits will help you with your effort of losing weight.
However, I have seen hundreds of patients that have been exercising for a while and not losing any weight.
Why is that?
Unfortunately, the equation of calories in and calories out are not necessarily the same. We probably would have to exercise at least four to six hours a daily to burn some of the calories we consumed during the day.
Tip: The most efficient way of losing weight is to cut calories by selecting good quality foods and exercising regularly. Start with a type of exercise you enjoy doing and increase it gradually.
Myth #5: Muscle weighs more than fat
Many people have the wrong idea that muscle weighs more than fat. This is completely wrong. A pound of fat weighs the same as one pound of muscle. Let us analyze the facts. Muscle has a higher density and will occupy a smaller volume than the fat. Once you start losing weight and increase the frequency of exercise, your muscle mass may increase, making you think you are gaining weight.
Tip: Remember–you are redefining your body; you are burning the excess fat mass while toning your muscle mass. This transformation will make your muscles stronger, reducing body fat and inches around your waist and hips. When this process occurs, think about the health benefits of exercising and having more muscle in your body.
Keep your workout. You are moving in the right direction.
Keep in mind–obesity is a disease where the individual has an excess of body fat. The excess fat does not come from just eating fat. Any excess calories consumed will be stored as fat. Select nutrient-dense food and increase your exercise program. Bottom line, if you are making the right lifestyle changes you will continue to lose weight and maintain it for a long time.
Follow these instructions, you won’t be disappointed.