Can a ship reach its destination without a GPS? Can a business grow without knowing if in the financial balance sheet the net earnings are going up or down? Yet, some people believe that you can effectively reach your weight loss goal without knowing how much you are weighing along the way.Fact: The scale is necessary. When you are on a diet to lose weight, your body weight does not follow a straight downward line. It fluctuates up and down exhibiting an overall downward trend. If you step on the scales every single day, you become aware of these periodic “ups”, and this may discourage you or even sabotage your initial enthusiasm. Therefore, weighing yourself every day may sabotage your weight loss efforts. Weighing yourself in longer intervals (i.e once a week) is absolutely necessary to lose weight effectively.
Myth: Starving Yourself is a Great Way to Lose Weight
How often do we hear somebody say: “I will not eat because I want to lose weight”. Obviously, they think that by cutting calories drastically they will lose weight. You can playfully tell them: “Lock yourself in a room, have a friend throw you stale bread once a day, and in time you will come out thinner”.Fact: Starvation is never good for weight loss. Restricting your calories is necessary for weight loss. However, you need to be aware of two things. First, there is a limit to calorie restriction. Usually, going lower than 1,000 calories a day for an extended period of time becomes unhealthy. Starvation lowers your metabolism—the rate you burn energy. You will surely lose weight following a crash diet but when you start eating again you will gain weight much easier because you are not burning calories as fast as you used to prior to starting the crash diet. Secondly, severe calorie restriction sets the stage for nutritional imbalance. It’s almost impossible to follow a crash diet and ensure that you are taking the necessary nutrients at the same time. Calorie restriction must be moderate and carefully planned to safeguard nutritional balance.
Myth: Use Slimming Pills for Sustainable Weight Loss
Weight loss pills work by either reducing your hunger, increasing your metabolism or blocking fat absorption. Either way, you may end up losing some weight. What about long term though?Fact: You cannot use slimming pills indefinitely. Drugs have side effects, and herbal supplements are just an aid that cannot rescue you from poor food choices and physical inactivity. Ultimately, you have to learn how to eat properly and exercise.
Healthy Foods Cost More
The misconception goes like this: “it’s healthy so it must be expensive”. Not necessarily.
Fact: Organic foods cost more than regular food. Healthy food need not be organic, though, and therefore it can be pretty cheap. You can buy cookies that are full of trans fat and sugar or buy healthy ingredients (oats, brown sugar and eggs) to make healthy cookies yourself cheaper.
Myth: You Need to Cut Out Snacks Between Meals
I once asked a friend how he gained so much weight. He reasoned: “I snack a lot”. Is it true that snacking makes you gain weight?Fact: Snacking is good. The question is, what do you snack on? It’s 4pm and the vending machine is whispering your name. Instead of reaching out for the 440 calories Drake’s Apple Fruit Pie, get the 180 calories Nature Valley Granola Bar with Oats & Honey, or reach out in your bag for the Protein & Greens smoothie you have brought from home.
Myth: Drinking Water Helps You Lose Weight
“Water melts the fat”, some people assert. Many would wish this statement were true.Fact: Drinking water does not accelerate your metabolism. It does, though, make you feel full especially when taken before a meal. Some times thirst can be confused with hunger. You feel you want to snack but once you gulp down a glass of water or fruit juice, hunger has disappeared, and you have just saved your body from storing in its fat reserves this 200-calorie cookie.
Myth: You Will Never Gain Weight if You Keep a Stable Eating and Exercise Plan
You have managed to keep your weight healthy for two years now by working out 1 hour a day and by eating 1,600 calories, and you mistakenly think that you will not gain any weight if you just keep following this eating and exercise pattern.Fact: As you age your metabolism goes down. This is because your composition changes. A 70-year old man has typically less muscle and more fat than a 20-year old man of the same weight. Therefore, with a metabolism facing downward year after year, you need to decrease your daily caloric intake and/or increase your physical activity in order to maintain your weight.
Myth: Your Diet Will Not Work If You Cheat
“You need to follow the plan to a T in order for it to work” is the mantra we often hear in the dieting world, which makes people think that cheating is a bad thing. But is that true?Fact: Cheating from time to time is a good thing. In fact, many weight loss programs are now adopting a “weekends off” approach. Cheating is for many the key to successful weight loss. This is because when you take a day or two off you get a mental break enjoying the foods you like. Moreover, by eating more calories during the non-diet days you apply the principle of “calorie shifting” which helps speed up your metabolism.
Myth: Yo-Yo Dieting Permanently Wrecks Your Metabolism
Low calorie diets abound. Yet, none of them works in the long term. In a desperate effort to lose weight, some people adhere to a very low calorie diet. They lose some weight and they get excited. Sadly, they lose muscle, too. As a result, their metabolism decreases and weight loss reaches a screeching halt. They soon realize that it is impossible to stay longer on that low calorie diet and they quit. They return to their normal eating habits until they decide to try another low-calorie diet. This pattern is typical to Yo-Yo dieters and it is haunted by the myth that it lowers your metabolism permanently.
Fact: The change in the metabolism brought about by Yo-Yo dieting is reversible. What you need to do to bring your metabolism back to the desired rate is to exercise and eat a healthy diet that promotes muscle gain. Muscle building is the remedy to a wrecked metabolism.
Myth: Aerobics is Better than Weight Lifting for Fat Burning
The most common physical exercise prescribed to overweight people is walking or jogging. This is because aerobic exercises (cardio) are easier to perform than anaerobic strength training (weight lifting). Most people can walk an hour a day but they find it tiresome to do resistance exercises day in and day out. Besides, there is this misconception that cardio is more effective for weight loss than strength training. Is that true?Fact: In the long run, strength training burns more calories than aerobic activities. There are two reasons that explain this: First, aerobic activities burn energy only during the time they are performed. Once you step off the treadmill you stop burning fat. In contrast, strength training keeps your metabolism high even 24-48 hours after the activity has been performed. You can lift weights for 30 minutes today, but you will keep burning fat even in your sleep or when you watch TV a day later. Second, strength training results in muscle gain. Muscle tissue is metabolically active and burns calories even when you sleep.
Matthew Denos is the editor of a Medifast coupon code blog where he reviews some of the best weight loss programs available today. He has a PhD in biology and a great interest in diets, nutrition, and fitness.