By Bunmi Sofola
Most people struggle to lose weight and their efforts are not helped by the numerous myths surrounding losing weight. Here are some of them:
Myth 1: Missing breakfast is a good way to lose weight – you’ll have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day – and it’s true. When you’re asleep you are fasting, and it’s important to break this ‘fast’ by eating when you wake up. If you don’t, you’ll miss out on much-needed vitamins and minerals. You could also end up feeling hungry later in the day and start snacking on bad foods, therefore increasing your calorie consumption.
Myth 2: You always gain weight when you quit smoking: Nicotine can increase your metabolism, but only slightly. The problem occurs when people who give up smoking replace a cigarette with bad food. However, if you chew sugar-free gum or snack on vegetables, this can prevent weight gain. You could also try keeping your hands occupied or having a bath to distract yourself.
Myth 3: Working out on an empty stomach burns more fat: The idea that exercise without eating will make your workout more efficient isn’t true. In fact, research shows that you’re more likely to burn fat throughout the day if you can eat something before you hit the gym. Try having a piece of fruit or yogurt 30 minutes before your workout.
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Myth 4: Low-fat and fat-free foods are better for you: However, tempting it is to opt for reduced-fat items, they are no better for you, and can sometimes be worse. To make for fat being removed from foods, other ingredients are used such as sugar, flour, thickeners, and salt, all of which can add calories. Low-fat and fat-free versions can also be less satisfying, meaning you could end up eating more food in its most natural form is best and portion control is key.
Myth 5: Yo-yo dieting will wreck your metabolism. While low-calorie and a yo-yo dieting can have an effect on your metabolism, it’s not true that these changes are permanent. Your metabolism will naturally go up and down throughout life, but if you stop dieting, it will eventually return to normal. It’s not wise to try out fad diets all the time. They are hard to maintain and once you stop dieting, it’s likely the weight will return.
Myth 6: Cutting carbs will help you lose weight. Stopping eating carbohydrates all-together isn’t good for your health. Carbs are a necessary part of your diet and provide vital energy. In the short term, eliminating them can result in the loss of water weight rather than fat. Furthermore, carb-free diets can lead to bad breath, fatigue, and headache. Eating a small portion of bread, pasta, or potatoes with a meal will not make you put on weight.
Myth 7: Eating before bed causes weight gain: People used to say that having a big meal before going to bed would cause you to pack on the pounds. But timing won’t make a difference. A calorie is a calorie no matter when you eat it. The problem arises when people snack late in the evening to overcome stress or boredom, or to satisfy cravings. After-dinner treats tend not to be controlled and are often unhealthy foods such as chocolate or crisps. Try giving yourself a cut-off time each evening when you tell yourself to stop snacking.
Myth 8: Eating little and often will make you burn more fat. Many dieters think that eating small meals throughout the day is key to shedding pounds. Some claim that it keeps your metabolism going and starves off hunger, but there’s no actual evidence of this. A study found that switching from three daily meals to six didn’t help weight loss. In fact, it made people want to eat more. You are better off cutting down on your number of calories per day, regardless of when and how often you eat.
Myth 10: No pain, no gain. Ever heard the rumour that when exercising you have to feel pain for it to be working/ Experts are adamant that this is untrue as well as harmful. It’s normal to expect some soreness a day or two after exercising, but not to feel pain during your workout. If you do, you’re probably doing it incorrectly or may already have an injury. Stop, rest, and see if the pain disappears. If it doesn’t, consult your doctor.