There are so many misconceptions out in the fitness and nutrition industry about weight loss, no wonder it is difficult to have a true understanding about the steps one must take in order to succeed. Here are 6 myths about weight loss I would like to share with you followed by the facts I would like to explain.
Myth #1.) I have to limit and count calories if I want to lose weight.
Fact: Restricting calories will indeed lead to a weight loss but as soon as you get off the diet and eventually go back to your old way of eating, you will gain all the weight back and in many cases you will actually put on extra weight. Counting calories is a daunting task and it is very difficult to determine the exact amount calories you are consuming.
Instead of following a low-calorie diet and counting calories, focus on feeding your body foods that are healthy and nutritious. You probably already know what those healthy foods are but please don’t hesitate to reach out for help from a qualified professional to learn more about designing a balanced diet. Remember to have three balanced meals per day and exercise portion control. A balanced meal should include micronutrients such vitamins and minerals and macronutrients such as protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrate. In a single meal, the biggest portion of your plate should include vegetables (especially green, leafy ones, these are your micronutrients), second largest should be your complex carbohydrates such as grains (brown rice, quinoa, millet or oats) or “filling veggies” such as sweet potato or squash and the smallest portion your meat or alternatives that provide your body with protein and healthy fats. Eat your food slowly and mindfully, never eat in front of TV or while working, savour every bite and stop when you feel satisfied.
Myth #2.) I am on a diet, so I need to deprive myself of all my favourite foods.
Fact: You can eat your favourite foods but in a healthier, made-over version.
When we see a word diet, we often associate it with some kind of deprivation. Therefore firstly, we need to change that word into a healthy or clean eating or whatever other name you want to give it. Secondly, we need to focus on all the foods we can eat instead of lamenting over the foods we cannot eat. Thirdly, you need to get creative with your food and find satisfying substitutions for all the unhealthy favourites. If you crave sweets, eat dark chocolate, fruit or carrots. If you crave salty foods, eat rice crackers with spreads such as hummus or avocado slices. Lastly, if every attempt of staying on a healthy path fails and your cravings are very strong, go ahead and it that food you are craving so badly. Eat it, enjoy every bit of it and get right back on the healthy wagon as if nothing happened. After all, it’s 80% of what you consume that produces results.
Myth #3.) Fat is bad for my diet, so I need to eat low-fat foods.
Fact: There is no need to fear fat, especially the healthy one. Fat is a fuel for our bodies and brain and we need to consume it with every meal. You should actually fear foods that contain a label “low fat” and never buy them. These foods are full of sugar, artificial fillings and chemicals to cover up the lack of fat and to make them taste better.
Healthy fats include avocados, nuts such as almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts and walnuts, olive oil (especially extra virgin olive oil), flax-seed and coconut oil.
Eat one avocado every day; you can slice it and add it to your salad, make guacamole, spread it on a rice cracker with some sea salt or add it to a smoothie.
Nuts make a great, portable snack. Just remember, they calorie dense which means even a small amount has a lot of calories. A small handful of nuts is a satisfying portion.
Extra virgin olive oil or flax-seed oil are awesome for making a salad dressing or cooking a stir fry. However, they are not suitable for frying food at high temperatures.
On the other hand, coconut oil is great for frying or baking as it has high smoke point level which means it does not change its chemical properties when heated up to high temperatures. Coconut oil has many health benefits. In many parts of the world people drink up to three tablespoons of coconut oil daily and claim it helps them lose weight, keep their mind sharp and balance their thyroid function. No wonder coconut is considered a super food.
Myth #4.) Carbs? OMG, no way!!!
Fact: There are occasions where you need to avoid carbs for example when following a cleanse. However, you don’t need to avoid all carbs if you wish to lose weight. You just need to know which carbs are evil and which carbs you can consume without guilt.
Sugar and carbs is a huge topic and I will not get into details here; I will write about it in another post. Generally speaking, avoid all the white stuff: sugar, white rice and flour and any products made with corn. So the obvious offenders are: cookies, cakes, cereals, candy, chocolate bars, pizza, pasta, bread, tortillas . The less obvious are the foods that contain hidden sugars such as condiments (ketchup and BBQ sauce have a very high amount of high fructose corn syrup), dried fruit, fruit juice, wine, commercially prepared spaghetti sauce, canned soups and store-bought granola bars.
As I mentioned in myth #1, you may eat brown rice, quinoa, millet and oats (just not the instant ones as they are processed and stripped of all the beneficial fibre). As far as sweetener, stevia, brown rice syrup and small amounts of raw honey are all fine.
So go ahead, treat yourself to a brown rice pasta, a yummy stir fry served over bed of brown rice or beautiful dessert made with fruit and coconut milk or Greek yogurt topped with raw honey.
Myth #5.) I need to spend hours at the gym, how will I fit that into my busy schedule?
Fact: Long workouts are counterproductive to your weight loss; they rob you of your precious time and energy. They may seem to burn more fat than short, high intensity workouts but in the big scheme of things, the short high intensity interval workouts burn more calories.
Your bread and butter of weight loss lies in accumulating at least 150 of moderately intense physical activity in one week. That translates into only five thirty minute workouts in duration will be sufficient for you to achieve weight loss goals. But let me emphasise again, they should be quite intense in order to have the right effect. Additionally, you should make your body move as much as possible to ensure steady calorie burn. Sitting in front of TV after dinner will not achieve that. So instead, get out and walk around your neighbourhood or play actively with your kids. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car the farthest possible to the entrance of the mall or grocery store, bike to work, get up and move during your work hours, fidget or dance.
Myth #6.) I am on a diet, so I must exercise total will power.
Fact: I cannot emphasise enough that there is no need to strive for perfection when it come to achieving weight loss goals.
You are actually bound for failure rather than success if you follow your weight loss program at one hundred percent of your efforts. You are allowed to have a set back once in a while and have a treat or “cheat meal”. Also, is you skip a workout here and then; it’s not the end of the world. You just have to make sure to immediately get back on the right track and follow your goals. Following a healthy diet with at least eighty percent accuracy and accumulating at least 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity per week is sufficient to achieve your weight loss goals.
Whenever you are trying to lose weight, there is no need to restrict or count calories, you should not feel like you are depriving yourself, you don’t need to fear fat or carbs, you don’t need to spend hours at the gym and above all, you should not strive for perfection or exercise total will power. If you are looking for long-lasting results, strive for persistence, consistency and patience. Be kind to yourself, trust in your abilities and whatever you do, do not give up!