Diet & Exercise
Weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight is a product of regular exercise, an active lifestyle, and a healthy diet. However, there is a lot of misinformation when it comes to achieving weight loss, especially where diet is concerned.
Let’s take a look at three common weight loss myths, and what the facts are.
#1 Myth: You Have to Work Out All the Time for Weight Loss
This is a commonly-held belief which claims that you won’t be able to lose weight without an insane amount of daily exercise.
This myth also ties into false beliefs that only certain types of physical activity will allow you to drop the pounds.
Fact: Regular Physical Activity Helps with Weight Loss
As stated by the NHS, “Successful weight loss involves making small changes that you can stick to for a long time.”
This means that making a daily choice to have an active lifestyle, for example by taking the stairs instead of the lift, can hugely contribute to your overall fitness.
The only way to lose weight is to be in a calorie deficit, meaning you are burning more calories than you are consuming. Ideally, this should be achieved by healthy amounts of regular exercise and a healthy varied diet.
It is important to note that in order to constitute healthy and non-harmful weight loss, a calorie deficit would not involve eating an insufficient amount of calories to supplement your body’s daily needs. This can lead to health complications, so be sure to fuel your body.
Check out the NHS’ 12-week healthy weight loss programme here.
#2 Myth: All Calories Should be Treated the Same
This myth implies that all food contributes the same to the body, which disregards the varied benefits of eating different groups of food.
A calorie is a measurement of energy and not of nutritional value.
For example, there are vastly different health effects of eating 500 calories of McDonald’s and 500 calories of fruit and vegetables every day.
Fact: Different Foods Affect Your Weight Loss Differently
As outlined by Healthline:
“Different foods go through different metabolic pathways and can have vastly different effects on hunger and the hormones that regulate your body weight.”
For example, certain foods naturally make you feel more full, such as protein.
Replacing foods high in carbohydrates and fat with protein has been shown to reduce food cravings and boost metabolisms. A great weight loss tool!
This is also a reason to stay away from refined sugars, as these have a high caloric content but low nutritional value.
#3 Myth: You Have to Restrict the Food You Eat to Lose Weight
Many people avoid dieting because they believe it means they can never have their favourite foods. No sugar, no fat, no carbs…
This is largely based on fad diets. These encourage people to avoid many types of food for a set time to achieve weight loss. These fads become popular as they do work – but this weight loss is temporary, and has a negative affect on your health.
For example, as pointed out by the British Heart Foundation, if you eat only oranges and celery for a week you’ll be guaranteed to lose weight. The thing is, the minute you stop this diet your weight will recover, as you’ll not have made any lasting changes.
What’s more, not providing your body with the healthy energy it needs for an extended period of time can have a negative effect on your health, especially looking at vitamin intake and bone health.
Fact: A Healthy Diet is About Balance, Not Restrictions
As stated above, the only way to lose weight is through a calories deficit, where you burn more calories than you consume.
This is most easily achieved by making small but important lifestyle choices. If you maintain an active lifestyle and exercise 3-4 days a week, you’ll be keeping your body active. Not to mention, “exercising” is a broad term that encompasses everything from a brisk walk to a boxing class, and everything in between!
When it comes to diet, look into making small, healthy swaps. Add protein to your meals where it’s lacking, choose healthy carbohydrates such as whole grain pasta, and find the leaner cuts of meat to cut down on your fat intake.
If you’re craving something sweet or a snack, there’s no need to hold back (in moderation). Check out our blog here on healthy snack ideas, and swap out your refined sugar treats for something homemade with a healthy twist.
And if you have a day where you fancy a pizza, go for it! The key is to create manageable healthy habits. If you restrict yourself, you won’t be able to stick to your diet and will lose out in the long term.