I read the craziest things online, and laugh when I hear people tell me their “secrets” for losing weight. It’s amazing the lengths people will go to when trying to get rid of those last few pounds, and I know I’ve done some pretty silly things to lose weight.
There are so many diet myths floating around in cyberspace. It’s hilarious to read dieting myths like “cut bread from your diet and your belly fat will vanish” or “stay away from milk and dairy products to lose 10 lbs in a week”.
Following these so-called tips will only end in disappointment. There’s no excuse for not doing your research and remaining ignorant about real, healthy weight loss these days. Today I’m going to present the solid facts about dieting and take a look at a few of the biggest diet myths out there:
Diet Myth: Cutting Carbs Will Lead to Weight Loss
Fact: Cutting carbs is one good way to reduce your calorie intake, but it doesn’t magically promote weight loss on its own. In fact, some carbohydrates can be beneficial while dieting. Complex carbohydrates in particular can contain a lot of fiber, which helps keep you full and curb your appetite.
Cutting simple carbohydrates is a better idea than eliminating all carbs from your diet. Simple carbohydrates are usually highly processed and lacking in nutrients. They’ll do nothing more than raise your blood sugar and leave you feeling hungry. Complex carbs like whole grains, beans and bread are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Consuming them in moderation will not hinder your fitness goals.
Cutting carbs completely is unnecessary and can lead to nutrient deficiencies if you’re not careful. Stick with complex carbs, and you’ll lose weight so much more easily.
Diet Myth: Just Take Sugar Out of Your Diet to Lose Weight
Fact: Sugar is definitely something to avoid if you’re trying to lose weight, especially in the form of sweets, candies, chocolates, and other treats. These foods are usually high in calories, and you’ll end up consuming more than you had intended thanks to the addictiveness of sugar.
However, just cutting sugar isn’t going to do the trick. You may starve yourself of sugar, but gorge yourself on fatty foods, fried foods, snacks, artificial junk food, and eve healthy food. Overeating is bad for you, no matter what kind of food it is.
A healthy weight loss diet involves simply reducing calorie consumption, not necessarily eliminating sugar or fat. Your body needs both sugars and fats to keep working properly, and sweets and treats can still be a part – albeit a very limited part – of your weight loss diet.
As long as you keep your calorie intake limited, weight loss is all but guaranteed.
Diet Myth: Let’s Go Crazy With Fiber!
Fact: We’ve all heard that eating lots of fruits and veggies is good for weight loss, as it fills our bodies with fiber. Not only can fiber reduce appetite by physically filling our digestive system, it soaks up cholesterol and keeps us regular which can prevent diseases like colon cancer in the long term.
Again, moderation is key here. A healthy intake of fiber is less than 40 grams of fiber, which isn’t as much as you might think.
Going all out on the whole grains, flax seed, fruits, and veggies will help you lose weight, but only temporarily. It will flush out your intestines and cause you to spend hours on the toilet.
By all means, do increase your fiber intake if you’re falling short of the recommended amount, but consuming more than that will add unnecessary calories and lead to stomach upset. A better way to increase satiety is to put down the fork and pause during meals to allow your food time to digest.
Increase your fiber intake until you’re getting the daily recommended amount – and no more!
Diet Myth: Eating Before and After Working Out Will Speed up Weight Loss
Fact: Whoever told you this was on some kind of crazy pills! Eating before a workout is usually only necessary if you’re going to do a workout that lasts for more than 90 minutes, and which pushes your body to its limits.
For the average gymgoer that putters around on the treadmill and the weight machines, eating before a workout will usually just slow you down and make it harder to work out.
Eating after a workout isn’t entirely a bad idea, as putting a little something into your body will help to replenish the electrolytes that you lost during the workout.
For those who do pretty intense workouts that last up to an hour, it’s recommended that you eat no more than 500 calories’ worth of food. This is because your muscles use up the glycogen they have stored, as well as the glycogen that your liver has available for them.
Your post-workout meal should contain lots of complex carbs, along with a good dose of complete proteins. Eating 100 calories of simple sugar will give you an immediate energy boost right after working out.
Diet Myth: Eating 5 or 6 Times a Day Makes Weight Loss Easier
Fact: This is true and false at the same time. Eating smaller meals throughout the day will force your body to keep burning calories all day long, so it will promote fat burning. However, if you eat more calories during the day than your body can handle, you’ll end up gaining weight.
As with anything else, it’s all about eating the right amount of calories. Your goal is to eat fewer calories than your body needs, and then burn more by doing exercise.
You should have a 500 calorie deficit by the end of the day, as that will lead to 1 pound of excess weight lost per week. If you can divide those calories up into 5 or 6 meals, great! If not, eating more times per day won’t lead to weight loss.
Diet Myth: Let’s Eat a Salad!
Fact: Take a look at your salad. What’s in it? Is it pure vegetables, or is it sprinkled with cheese, bacon bits, croutons, and topped with a generous portion of cream-based dressing? While the “salad” is healthy, it’s probably higher in calories than your average meal would be. This isn’t going to help you to lose weight, and you’re not doing your body any favors.
If you’re going to eat salads, make them real salads that don’t contain high-fat, high-calorie additions.
A veggie salad sprinkled with a few nuts, beans, and sprouts will be low in fat but high in nutrients, and using a vinegar-based dressing made with olive oil will be the perfect low-calorie dressing for your low-calorie salad. That’s what salads are all about!