This is the first of a multi-part series.
Too often, when it comes to the latest diet craze, it appeals because of the promises to lose weight quickly. This unrealistic approach overlooks so many individual factors you could drive a semi truck through the holes in the logic behind what each diet claims.
We as humans are not logical beings; we’re emotional. That’s why we fall for that shiny new version of a tired old theme – lose weight quickly. That new diet may have worked wonders for the person touting it. What about you? You may lose the weight but do you keep it off?
Just once, I’d like for one of these diet fads to claim – “Lose weight really slowly and keep it off forever”.
Over the years, I can guarantee that you’ve fallen into the trap of “common knowledge” and accepted truths about weight loss that aren’t true at all. It’s time to debunk some of these.
Fewer calories or very low calories guarantees weight loss
You will lose weight on very low calorie diets but they will do more harm than good by putting your body into starvation mode. Your metabolism slows down in order to save as many calories as possible in order to stay alive. Next, it’ll use muscle for energy before it uses its fat store. Your body will only use its own fat after eating away at your muscles first. Even when you quit the diet, your body will continue to maintain a low metabolism and try to hoard calories as fat.
Let’s face it, there’s enough food and therefore no need to put your body into starvation mode. The better approach is to eat slightly fewer calories than you need for day to day activities. Just be sure to make these the good kind that you get from real food.
Exercising more will mean faster weight loss
If you’re not used to exercising a lot, I can guarantee that your best intentions won’t last long. That’s why January and gym memberships are not a good idea. You go every day for one week, then only a few times and then none at all but you’re still paying for the whole year.
Sudden excessive exercise will likely stress your body, or make your body feel more stressed. Do you really intend to put your body into fight or flight mode? Constant stress makes a mess of your adrenal gland so, don’t over exercise.
Instead, move your body more than you are now without going to extremes. The most effective method is to do some resistance training like lifting weights to maintain the all important muscle mass and to do aerobic exercises.
New studies show that 10 minutes per day mixing resistance training and aerobic exercise will accomplish as great a benefit as 30 minutes of high intensity workout a few times a week. I think you can spare 10 minutes.
Low fat diets will guarantee less fat in your body
This is such an oversimplification of what creates fat in your body as to be ridiculous.
Whenever you overeat, your body will take what it needs and store the rest as fat.
Your body does need fat to maintain healthy cells and it can’t produce it on its own. However, it’s important to eat the right kinds of fat without going overboard.
Go ahead. Add butter to your vegetables. Stay away from cheap processed foods. They are high in empty calories, meaning they don’t have useful vitamins and minerals. They tend to be high in fat; most likely filled with trans fats – the bad kind that your body stores but can’t ever use.
Protein, carbohydrate, fat ratio
The recommended daily intakes of fat to protein to carbohydrates are as follows:
Carbohydrates 45% – 65%
Protein 10% – 35%
Fat 10% – 35%
There’s a range for each of these. That’s because we’re all different. Where one person can eat less carbs (45%) and more protein and fat and feel amazing, another on a similar amount would feel miserable.
This was my experience when I tried a seven day low carb challenge. I gave up on the evening of the 5th day. I was grumpy, my thinking was foggy. I felt full but was constantly thinking about food. It was terrible! Very shortly after I ate carbs, and I mean right after finishing my dinner, I felt better. For me, ultra low carbs is not the right mix to keep me feeling healthy and energized.
My point is that you need to find the right balance for what makes you feel your best.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
Sure, eating breakfast does tend to help you lose weight. But what are you eating and when? We all have breakfast. That is, we all break our fast from when we had our last meal before sleeping and our first meal of a new day. It’s just that the timing can be different from one person to the next. You don’t have to eat breakfast as soon as, or shortly after you’ve gotten up. That doesn’t work for everyone. It also doesn’t mean that you have to eat cereal or toast or bacon and eggs.
Eat your first meal of the day when you feel hungry. In my case, I AM one of those people that eat shortly after I’ve gotten up and I do tend to eat my own cereal mix. My daughter eats when she’s hungry, which is sometimes hours after she’s gotten up. She’s not a fan of cereal and will likely eat leftovers from last night’s dinner as her breakfast, to each his or her own.
I would advise you to stay away from pastries as your first meal. They give you a sugar spike but they’re essentially empty calories. You’ll feel hungry again in no time and will be searching for your next meal far too quickly.
So there you have it; five diet myths you can discard. Stay tuned for more diet myths in my next article.