Many dieter's fall prey to some or all of these common weight-loss myths. These myths could be the very thing standing between you and weight-loss success. Let's take a look at these weight loss myths and reveal the truth behind them.
Myth 1: Eating fat-free or low-fat foods is a guaranteed way to loose weight. Well, not exactly. Now, more than ever, Americans have a wider choice of low-fat foods. Everything from fat-free cookies to "lite" mayonnaise, reduced fat dairy products and low-fat microwave meals line the supermarket shelves. So why are we, as a nation, getting fatter & fatter? The reason is two fold. Firstly many dieter's have interpreted a low-fat label as a license to eat as much as they want to. And secondly low-fat doesn't always mean that the product is low in calories. Food manufacturers often add in sugar (or high fructose corn syrup) to replace the fat taken out and to keep the taste. But this just adds the calories back into the product. That's why it's so important to read the labels and to control portion sizes.
Myth 2: Skipping meals is a good way to loose weight. Studies have shown that those who skip meals, particularly breakfast, tend to be more overweight than those who don't. Why? Firstly, not eating (particularly breakfast) slows down your metabolism. And a slower metabolism means that your body isn't burning calories as efficiently as it could. And secondly skipping meals means that you become so hungry that you loose control and over eat or eat highly processed and fattening convenience foods because that's all that's available when the hunger strikes.
A better strategy would be to reduce portion sizes and substitute low-calorie alternatives for some of the fattening foods you consume regularly.
Myth 3: Avoid fat if you want to get thin. Excessive consumption of saturated and trans fats has been linked to an increase in heart disease, cancer and other life threatening conditions. Unsaturated fat, on the other hand, found in fish, nuts & olive oil, forms part of a healthy and balanced diet.
Myth 4: Yo-Yo Dieting is OK & not harmful.
Yo-Yo dieting (repeatedly losing, then gaining back weight) is never a good idea. The damage done to your body is irreparable. Kidney and gallbladder damage, osteoporosis , and depression are common in yo-yo dieters.
Slow and steady weigh-loss that occurs when you make permanent, healthy changes to your diet and an increase in physical activity leads to permanent weigh-loss.
Myth 5: Genetics determine your body weight and there's nothing you can really do about it. Obese/overweight people often blame their weight problem on genetics. Having a family history of obesity does make you more prone to being overweight than someone who has slim relatives. But have you ever considered that it could have more to do with a similar lifestyle and eating habits than simple genetics. Face it, we often enjoy the foods we grew up with the most and many of us have continued to eat that we ate as children and we often maintain a lifestyle similar to those of our parents and close relatives. Physically active parents normally have physically active kids. The same goes for couch potato parents.
So before you throw up your hands in despair over the gene's you have and resign yourself to a lifetime of being overweight, examine your family food habits and lifestyle. Make healthy changes and win the battle of obesity once and for all.
Myth 6: Drastically reducing carbs is the best way to loose weight. With the current trend of high protein, low carb diets this myth is a particularly prevalent one. Eating this way does lead to rapid weight loss at first, but it's just not sustainable. Whilst it is always a good weight loss strategy to avoid refined carbs, such as white bread, refined cereals, cakes, biscuits etc. cutting all types of healthy carbs out of your diet is never a good idea. Complex carbohydrates form a vital part of a healthy weight loss strategy. As I said earlier, the best way to lose weight is to eat fewer calories, not cut out entire food groups.
Myth 7: Following a highly restricted diet boosts your metabolism. Actually, the opposite is true. Severely restricting calories puts the body into starvation mode, which slows metabolism to a crawl. Starving yourself will never result in permanent weight-loss. Eating enough healthy, low-calorie foods and exercise is the answer.