Ever since the 80s, when fashion began to favour skinny runway models, weight loss has had both positive and negative connotations. Until then, weight loss was probably only recommended as a measure of health preservation (and that’s how we are going to be addressing it here in this article). But today, weight loss is a thriving, multi billion dollar industry, even a lifestyle for many who feel societal pressure to look a certain way for their pictures on a certain social app.
Because of all of this glamour and social pressure around slimness, the subject is shrouded in weight loss myths. Some of these weight loss myths are created by marketing tactics, others by celebrities looking to cover up surgical body contouring and still others are just wishful thinking.
If you are looking for the best way to lose weight in order to control diabetes, heart disease or any other serious health issue, you cannot afford to be misled. In fact, some of these myths could prompt you to make dangerous mistakes as far as your health goes. Even if you are relatively healthy, but want to shed a few pounds to maintain your health as you age, it is imperative that you do not fall for some of the big scams or even less nefarious myths out there.
Myth 1: excessive sweating makes you lose weight faster
If that were true, there would be no weight loss challenges where there are no air-conditioners, in our very warm country.
This myth was perhaps propagated by businesses that manufactured gear that wanted to sell the idea of spot weight-loss by making one sweat. Alternatively its roots may be traced to some gimmicky workouts, whose marketers needed to display an edge over other workouts so that their gimmicky workout would take off.
If the scale says you have lost weight after you sweat excessively, it is possible that you have simply dehydrated yourself. Physical activity helps you lose weight and yes, you sweat while you exercise because that’s how your body keeps itself cool. However, sitting in a hot room and sweating it out isn’t going to make you lose weight.
Instead, consider physical activity that is right for your health conditions, age, weight and (healthy) weight loss goals.
Myth 2: Working out gives you the licence to eat what you want
Most people begin working out in order to shed a few extra pounds. However if you add a workout to your day and simultaneously also gorge on unhealthy foodstuffs, it is the equivalent of getting a second job to save for your retirement, but spending all the money you earn from the second job anyway. It does not make much sense.
You need to generate sustained calorie deficits for your body to actually lose weight because that is when your body will start burning fat for the calories it requires (as fuel) when you exercise.
You will be hungrier when you go to the gym, but consider healthier options. Eating a burger or a bag of chips after the gym is counterproductive. Exercise combined with a weight loss diet will help you lose weight fast.
Myth 3: Muscle “created” while exercising will turn to fat when you stop working out
Muscle and fat are made up of different cells. Just like a silk pyjama will not turn to cotton if you leave it unused in the cupboard, unused muscle does not turn to fat.
When you exercise, your muscles grow. When you stop exercising the said muscles, they shrink again. They cannot however change their cell structure to turn into fat.
What happens when people stop exercising is that they probably continue to eat the same amount as they did when they did workout – this might be one reason why they regain lost weight, in addition to the lack of exercise.
Weight loss – like maintaining a home or maintaining personal hygiene – is an ongoing practice. Surely you do not expect to remain fresh forever because you showered everyday last week? Think of weight loss the same way.
Myth 4: You can lose weight on your waist while also grow your butt
This one is – for most part – targeted at all the ladies reading this, possibly trying to keep up with a certain celebrity family of curvy ladies.
Metabolism works like this: if you lose weight quickly in one area, you will lose it everywhere else just as quickly. Science tells us that you cannot choose to retain fat in some body parts while losing weight in other body parts. Your genetics choose where body fat will be stored.
The abdomen (or belly or waist) is an unhealthy place to retain fat because it puts you at risk for heart disease. Focus on losing belly fat for this good reason and go about it the healthy way. You could additionally achieve toned hips and thighs by squats, walking and running.
Myth 5: Calories are criminal and so are fats; fructose is the devil itself
There are good calories and bad calories; good fats and bad fats.
For example, protein calories are good calories whereas fat or carb calories are the ones that overweight individuals should be looking to reduce.
Fruits have calories too! But these are good calories. As for the fructose argument, the fibre in fruits substantially slows down the glucose release. It’s fruit juice that could potentially cause blood sugar spikes. Whole fruit, complete with all its skin and fibre, is good for you.
A collection of healthy fats might actually be beneficial in small (less than 10% of total nutritional intake) quantities. Avocados are accepted as a source of healthy fat.
Myth 6: Vegetarian food keeps you slim
Deep fried potatoes are bad for weight loss and oven roasted lean chicken is not.
Cereal is packed with sugar; eggs are all protein.
These are just two cases in point. And we’re not making a case for non-vegetarianism either. All we’re saying is that obesity would not be a problem in vegetarian communities if vegetarian food kept you slim.
The specific food items that you choose to eat, the quantity of food consumed, how food is prepared and served up is what matters.
For example, spinach is an excellent source of iron and protein. But those spinach crisps served alongside spicy chicken or paneer in a Chinese restaurant are not the same thing as a spinach broth flavoured with just garlic and chilli.
Get more information on specific foodstuffs in your diet rather than going for mindless blanket rules. Simply switching over to a vegetarian diet will not automatically ensure weight loss. Look to have a balanced diet. Lentils, leafy greens, whole grain products are examples of healthy vegetarian food.