The myths surrounding weight loss
Unfortunately, we don’t get much of our information from reliable, impartial sources.
All too often, the way we approach dieting and losing weight is through advice and information that we’ve been told works by companies that are actually selling diet products to us.
Many of the myths around today were created by these companies.
So once and for all, I’d like to tell you the truth about why you haven’t managed to find a workable solution to rapid weight loss and to do this, I’m going to explain the facts about 5 of the biggest weight loss myths there are out there…
Weight Loss Myth #1 – Diet Foods Help You Lose Weight
This one is a real killer. Again it’s a triumph of marketing and hype over truth. Let me give you a couple of examples.
Just because a chocolate dessert or a packet of biscuits is classed as low fat, it doesn’t mean it’s actually any good for you. Yes it probably is lower in fat than its regular alternative, but it’s also full of other ingredients that are actually much worse than the fat that was in it.
Makers of these products, emphasise the lack of fat in their products but hide the fact that to make them taste better, they’ve had to replace the fat with sugars. They’ll do it cleverly, by breaking the sugars down in to various forms… sucrose, fructose, glucose syrup. Glycerine etc, the list goes on.
But the problem with sugar is that every time you eat something that has sugars in it, the body has to produce a hormone called Insulin. Insulin’s job is to remove the sugar from the blood and take it to the cells. Unfortunately when insulin is produced, it doesn’t always remove the exact right amount of sugar from the blood.
It creates a low in blood sugar levels, which then sends a signal to your brain to eat more in order to normalise blood sugar levels again.
Another problem is that we’ve been conditioned to believe that ‘diet’ foods actually help us to lose weight. You’ll have seen it yourself when someone orders a big Mac and fries, but insists on getting a diet Cola to go with it!
Most diet foods are created by huge multi-million dollar companies that want your money. They play around with and process your foods adding all kinds of rubbish just to make it appealing for you to buy, because you think it’s going to help you to lose weight.
Processed foods will never help you to lose weight, there’s too much junk inside for your body to cope with, so stay away from them as much as possible.
Weight Loss Myth #2 – Eat Just 3 Square Meals a Day
This time it’s probably your parents fault and their parents before them… You see there are a few reasons why eating at certain times throughout the day just isn’t right.
Firstly you aren’t necessarily hungry at the times that you have to eat. This means that you may be eating for the sake of it and getting more calories than you need each day.
Secondly if you can only eat at certain times throughout the day, because of your work pattern for example, then you may go for hours without being able to eat anything and this slows down your metabolic rate and encourages your body to store fat.
One of the biggest problems with eating in the traditional way is that your metabolic rate slows right down. You’ll burn calories at a snails pace because there are too long gaps between meals.
Eating smaller amounts regularly throughout the day does two things…
1. It keeps the metabolism revving away and
2. It stops the body from storing as many of the calories you are eating. Over a period of time, your body gets used to the regular supply of calories and realises that it doesn’t need to store as many of them as there isn’t likely to be times when it won’t get food.
Finally, it’s likely that you’re overeating if you depend on eating 3 set meals a day as the gaps between them will lead to hunger pangs and cravings. When you start getting these messages from the brain, you’ll usually eat more than you need to do.
Weight Loss Myth #3 – Reducing the Calories You Eat Makes You Lose Weight and the Fewer Calories You Eat Then the More Weight You’ll Lose
Sounds logical doesn’t it, and up to a point this is actually true BUT if this was completely right then surely the more you reduced the calories you were eating, then the faster you’d lose weight.
But this just doesn’t happen, you’ll know it yourself if you’ve ever tried restricting the amount of food you eat so low. The weight comes off pretty fast to begin with but after a few days, you can’t seem to lose any more, you quickly reach a plateau.
Here’s the real kicker, doing this means you’re actually making things worse for yourself and compounding the problem.
The reason is that your body gets thrown in to what it perceives as starvation and goes in to survival mode. When you’re in survival mode, your body just won’t release fat to burn. It can’t, in fact it does the complete opposite and actually holds on to it, by producing a hormone called Leptin.
But that’s not all, some of the other downsides you’ll notice are…
A slowdown in your metabolic rate. This is the speed at which you burn calories. You see when food intake is strictly limited, your body will always try to protect itself by holding on to its energy stores… your body fat!
Increased cravings. Your body knows it needs calories to survive and as a response your fat cells produce a hormone called Leptin which increases your cravings for guess what? You’ve guessed it… calories. Usually in the form of high sugar or high fat foods, because it’s these types of foods that will give you the biggest surge in quick fix calories.
An increase in the amount of fat you store. If your body isn’t sure when it’s next going to be fed don’t you think it’s natural to store as many calories as possible to keep your body working normally.
Think of yourself like a camel, it’s hump is almost totally pure fat to help it survive the lean times, it’s there to provide a reserve source of energy… well our bodies can be a bit like this too if we cut down on calories too much for too long, only your hump won’t be at the back!
Weight Loss Myth #4 – Think You’ll Get a Flat Stomach By Doing Sit Ups, Crunches or Some Other SECRET Exercise That No Ones Been Telling You About?
Think again, it just doesn’t work that way.
Crunches, sit ups and other tummy toning exercises are great to do, but the benefits they give you have nothing to do with getting a chiselled torso. So why does everyone think that they do?
Simple, you’ve been lied to again. Infomercials and the media, manipulate our understanding of exactly what certain exercises can really do for you.
Let me explain it this way…
Imagine that you have a fine porcelain vase, but it’s been covered in bubble wrap and brown paper. Covered this way means that you’ll never see the real beauty of the vase because it’s been hidden underneath a thick ugly layer of padding.
That’s how it is with your own tummy muscles.
You’ll never see them or flatten your tummy by doing these types of exercises alone. In fact done to extreme, they may actually lead to an increase in the size of your tummy, because the muscles can slightly increase in size, pushing the fat underneath out still further.
I’m not saying don’t do exercises for your stomach and lower back, because they help to improve posture and overall strength, just don’t expect to have a really flat stomach after religiously doing them for weeks… you’ll only be disappointed.
Weight Loss Myth #5 – Hours of Cardio Burns the Most Fat
This makes me really laugh, especially when I see ‘supposed experts’ advising you to exercise at a particular heart beat level called the weight loss zone.
The theory here is that at a certain level of effort, your body will burn more fat than carbohydrates as it’s main fuel source, but it’s only a slight difference and to get the same benefit you’d need to keep going for much longer.
Do you know how many calories you’d have to burn to lose just 1 pound of fat? Wait for it…
Yes that’s right, you’d need to burn off 3500 calories in order to lose just 1 pound of fat.
OK, so how many calories can you expect to burn throughout the course of a typical gym workout for one hour, if you really push yourself?
Well it would depend on what exercises you were doing and how hard you worked, but for a typical average cardio workout, you could expect to burn around 600 calories in an hour.
Now I’m not a mathematician, but that means that to burn off 1 pound of body fat, you’d need to do at least 5 or 6 good hour long cardio workouts a week. Yeah right!… Who has that amount of time and level of commitment to do this each week?
Not me, and I actually enjoy working out.
The secret isn’t in doing endless workouts, wearing yourself out and grinding yourself down, its about gently increasing the amount of activity in your life.