With the amount of new research pouring out on obesity, there are as many myths about the same, each claiming to be as authoritative as the next. Most of these, however, are only modern-day superstition and misinformation. Here are a few weight-loss myths and misconceptions debunked, which may help you to lose weight consistently and healthily:
- Weight-loss pills/formulas can make you lose weight, even without exercise or diet-control
You lose weight only when you burn calories and that can be done only with exercise. While some concoctions do raise the metabolic rate, they do so only minimally, and through chemicals that interfere with the body’s hormonal balance, which can have many side-effects.
- Working the abs will get rid of belly fat
It is an erroneous belief that one can lose weight in a particular part of the body by exercising it. One cannot choose where you lose body fat, it comes off uniformly from all over.
- Low-fat food means instant weight loss
Weight gain has more to do with calorie consumption and not the kind of food we get our calories from. High-fat foods, however, are high-calorie and pose additional health risks.
- Skipping breakfast helps lose weight
This only causes your blood-sugar levels to fluctuate wildly, which leads to binge eating. It leaves your body low on energy. While the energy shortage may prompt metabolism of stored fat, it is a slow process that makes you lethargic.
- Crash diets are a good way to lose weight
To be losing more than one kg per week is actually unhealthy for the body, as it cannot metabolize body fat any faster. If you are losing more weight than that, it is mostly water or muscle. Also, it is well-documented that the faster you lose weight, the faster you put it back on.
- Overweight people have a slow metabolism
While some people are overweight due to a slow metabolic rate, it is a rare medical phenomenon. Most overweight people actually have a higher metabolism because more energy is required to move around the excess weight.
- Lifting weights burns fat
Only aerobic activity can burn fat directly. Weightlifting is an anaerobic exercise. High-intensity lifting, however, makes the body burn fat even at rest.
- Snacks are bad
Snacking, as such, need not be harmful to your weight program. In fact, it is actually beneficial to keep eating small snacks through the day. According to experts, small, frequent meals maintain the blood sugar level and keep the body from going into starvation mode. The point is to eat regularly, but to eat healthy.
- Hunger causes overeating
This is a big misconception. Hunger persists only as long as the energy levels are low, and cannot cause one to ‘overeat’. The real reason behind overeating is pure craving, distracted eating (like while watching TV), and for some people, eating as a stress-buster.
- Consistent diet and exercise keeps off weight forever
Over the long-term, the metabolism slows down due to ageing, which means the body burns less. Over the years, one must take care to eat less or exercise more to burn the same amount of calories, and thus maintain their weight.