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Whilst some weight loss myths may only affect your diet, there are others which may cause you harm in the long term.
Weight loss is a subject under constant development and with so much new information from doctors, nutritionists and celebrities on a daily basis, it may be difficult to distinguish between facts and harmful myths. Therefore, it is worth reading up on any unusual piece of information you find. Here are the top 10 weight loss myths, which may cause you harm.
It is true that excessive amounts of fat will cause weight gain. However, there are different types of fats and it would not be beneficial for your health to cut out all of them. In order to reduce the risk of heart disease, the intake of “good fats” is necessary.
These can be found in certain nuts, seeds, avocado, fish and olive oil. Furthermore, these fats are necessary to protect our immune system. If the health benefits alone are not enough to persuade you, eating healthy fats in moderation will increase your metabolism and will stop you from feeling hungry in the long term. Eating small portions will make you feel full and will ensure that your brain functions correctly. Try to ensure that your fat intake is 15-20% of your diet and this will promote good health as well as weight loss.
Whilst eating cereal or oatmeal is a good source of carbohydrates, it does not provide the healthy fat and protein, necessary for your body within one hour of waking up. In order to have a complete breakfast, cereal should be eaten with nuts, seeds, fruit and milk.
Furthermore, it is important that your cereal contains plenty of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Some types of cereal are low in nutrients and very high in sugar, which will cause you to be hungry shortly after breakfast. Protein and fiber will ensure that you stay satisfied for a long time.
Exercise is one of the healthiest and effective ways of losing weight. This may lead you to the logical conclusion that excessive exercise will increase weight loss and will be even more beneficial to your health. In reality, it may have the opposite effect. Not only will it tire you out, but it will also affect your immune system and joints, as your muscles do not have time to repair. Incorrect exercise will also cause you to lose fewer calories. In order to lose weight, you must create a calorie deficit by eating less calories than you use on a daily basis. Therefore, a combination of eating less and working out more will be sufficient to help you achieve your goals.
It is advisable to have days off every week in order to allow your muscles to repair. You should start with moderate exercise in order to ensure you continue with it in the long term, and change your workout each session.
Whilst reducing your calorie intake will have a big impact on your weight loss, reducing it drastically will cause your body to enter into starvation mode. This means that your body will receive the message that the food is scarce and as a result it will attempt to store as much as possible as fat. This will, in turn, cause your metabolism to slow down rather than speed up and it will take you longer to lose weight. Furthermore, limited calorie intake makes it harder to stick to the diet in the long term.
It will cause you to feel low on energy and to crave high-sugar snacks. Therefore, you will effectively lose much less weight than if you eat slightly less than your recommended daily allowance. Depending on your BMI, it is advisable to aim to lose 0.5-2 pounds per week over a long period of time. By starving yourself, you may lose weight at first, but it will be muscle weight rather than fat.
Whilst many of us think that snacking is detrimental to our weight loss, it is, in fact, very beneficial. It is more advisable to have three medium meals and two snacks per day, rather than gorge on three large meals. Snacking prevents you from overeating as it stops you from getting too hungry before your main meals, it speeds up your metabolism and it controls your blood sugar.
However, what can be an issue is the type of snack you choose. It is important that you reach for organic snacks, such as fruit or vegetables, rather than foods, which are high in sugar or saturated fat, such as crisps or chocolate.
The value of calories in fat free snacks is often equal to or slightly lower in fat than that of their full fat equivalent. It is important not to consume them mindlessly as dieting is about creating a calorie deficit rather than about consuming foods with less fat content. As mentioned before, some fats are necessary for a balanced diet. Furthermore, it is important to note that, although foods labeled ‘low fat’ have to meet certain legal criteria, this is not true of those labeled ‘reduced fat’.
It is advisable to avoid the latter if you are trying to control your intake of fat as they may be misleading. Finally, it is also worth noting that foods claiming to be low in fat will often have a high content of sugar. It is more advisable to reach for natural snacks, such as fruit or vegetables.
In fact, skipping meals will often cause you to gain weight rather than lose it. This is because your metabolism will slow down and go into starvation mode, making it more difficult to burn calories. Also, eating rarely will cause you to be hungry throughout the day, which will in turn affect your energy levels. This may mean that you will end up reaching for snacks, which are high in calories and in sugar content. As a result, skipping breakfast may cause you to eat more during the day than you normally would.
It will also cause tiredness and poor nutrition, which may harm you in the long term.
This myth was established following the recent popularity of the Atkins diet. Reducing your intake of carbohydrates will help you lose weight in the short term, but you will often end up putting it back on shortly after. It is better to be able to distinguish between complex carbs and high-fiber ones. Avoiding the former and consuming whole grains will be a more effective way of losing weight and it will be beneficial for your health as well as your energy levels.
This is yet another misconception, which will not aid long-term weight loss. In fact, some can be extremely detrimental to your health, as they carry a risk of serious injury and illness. Although many herbal and natural weight loss products are widely available, they are rarely effective and may not be safe. Losing weight often requires commitment from you and if something sounds too easy to be true – it probably is.
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Dairy products contain necessary nutrients, such as protein and calcium. It is important to consume a limited amount of dairy every day in order to have a balanced diet. As dieting is about reductions rather than eliminations, it is more beneficial to limit the amount of dairy you consume rather than to cut it out altogether.