Losing weight. It’s something almost all of us talk about. And if you’re happy with your weight then not only are you lucky, but you’re within the minority!
So few of us are happy with our weight and we either want to shed just a few pounds or make a transformational difference. Yet there is so much conflicting information out there that it is a nightmare knowing where to start, what and who to believe, and how to go about achieving your goals.
With Summer fast approaching, we felt that it was the perfect time to help you on your weight loss mission by sorting fact from fiction. It’s the beginning of May now, and BBQs, outfits and get-togethers are no doubt high on your list of conversation topics. Furthermore, looking great and feeling confident is as much a part of the Summer party preparation as finding the perfect ensemble. So with weight loss in mind, let’s take a closer look at the biggest myths:
1. ‘Starving yourself and skipping meals is the only way to lose weight’
Fiction! In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth. When you eat erratically your body starts to go into starvation mode. This means your metabolism slows down and your body holds on to food resources. So you won’t lose weight, but you will feel pretty miserable thanks to the combination of food deprivation and frighteningly low blood sugar levels. Furthermore, you will be far more likely to snack on sugary or fatty treats as your resolve will weaken sooner or later!
The best way to lose weight is to start reducing your portion sizes, and to eat a little and often. So have a healthy breakfast of a banana, natural yoghurt and porridge. Eat an apple and a small handful of almonds mid-morning. Then a green salad for lunch with some lean protein, such as turkey, tofu, salmon or poached eggs. Mid-afternoon you need another snack, so some hummus with raw carrot and cucumber is ideal. And for dinner, try a big bowl of stir-fried vegetables with a small side portion of brown rice.
2. ‘Cutting calories will make you lose weight’
Fact and fiction! Reducing your daily calorie intake by just 100 calories will help you to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week. However, what you eat is crucial. It’s all about making a sensible and sustainable lifestyle change. So choose fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and nuts. Quit sugary and fatty snacks. Grill food rather than fry it. And be mindful that alcohol contains a high number of empty calories and sugar.
3. ‘Spending hours in the gym is the only way to shed pounds’
Fiction! However, a regular exercise schedule coupled with a healthy and nutritious diet is the key to losing weight – and maintaining your weight loss. It is important to remember that in order to successfully lose weight, you need to make small changes that you can stick to. So rather than going all guns blazing in the gym for a few weeks and then burning yourself out / losing interest, start with a regular gym routine that you enjoy. Join a fitness class, work with a personal trainer and get a tailored programme, go walking on your lunch break or cycle at the weekend with your friends or family. Just make sure you do something active every day, and aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week.
4. ‘Carbohydrates make you put on weight’
Fiction! We can’t stress the importance here of eating a well-balanced and sensible diet. Your body NEEDS carbohydrates as they are the fuel it requires to function. However, the types of carbohydrates, as well as the quantities, that you eat are the key. Refined carbohydrates are out – these include cakes, biscuits, white rice, white bread, white pasta, pizza etc. Unrefined and ‘whole’ carbohydrates, though, are a completely different topic altogether. Brown rice, wholemeal bread, potatoes with the skins on, wholemeal pasta… anything that hasn’t been processed is really good for you. It releases energy slowly so you will feel fuller for longer and your blood sugar levels will remain stable.