Courier Contributor and AWC Personal Trainer
When it comes to weight loss, you may have heard of many different approaches to it. Everyone’s bodies are different and what works for one individual may or may not work for another. However, the most important thing to keep in mind when you want to lose weight is how to do it healthily. In this article we will talk about some of the most common myths on the topic of weight loss.
MYTH 1 Eating less will lose more weight
Many people have the impression that they have to eat LESS to lose weight. While that may be partially true, you must define what “weight” really is. When people want to “lose weight”, most of the time they are referring to losing body fat. However, weight is not just made up of fat; it also includes muscle, organs, bones, etc. So when you eat less and starve yourself, you actually lose weight from a mixture of all those things. Instead, eat smaller portions more frequently. Your body needs to digest each and every meal, which takes energy. The more energy you use, the more calories you will burn (basal metabolic rate). By doing so, it will increase your metabolism, thus leading to more fat loss and not weight loss.
MYTH 2 Performing 1,000 sit ups will burn belly fat
There is no such thing as spot reduction–losing fat in one area. What 1,000 situps would do is help build muscle around the belly region (abs), and burn a minimal amount of calories. It actually burns calories overall throughout your body and not just the belly alone. Similarly, if you did 1,000 bicep curls, you burn calories throughout your body and not just the arms. It won’t specifically target the fat in the abs, but it builds muscles underneath the fat. Because situps are not a cardiovascular activity, they are considered to be a resistance exercise; it doesn’t burn a lot of calories, but it builds muscle. While situps help build muscles, you should consider taking other measures such as eating a healthier diet to efficiently reach your goal.
MYTH 3 Carbohydrates are evil!
Believe it or not, a healthy diet should consist of at least 60% of carbohydrates. This is because carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy. There are two types of carbs: simple carbs and complex carbs. Simple carbs (candy, cake, white rice, soda, etc.) give you a lot of energy for a short duration, and can lead to fat. They have very little nutritional value and is digested by your body more quickly. On the other hand, complex carbs (vegetables, cereals, whole grains, etc.) give you a slow and steady amount of energy. Compared to simple carbs, they take longer to digest and have much more nutritional value. Carbs can be differentiated by something called a glycaemic index (GI); every gram of carbs yields a different GI. It is basically a number from 1 – 100, indicating how fast the carbs gets absorbed. So continue eating carbs as you need the energy to function, but opt for the healthy carbs if you want to lose the body fat!
MYTH 4 Avoid fats
Similarly to carbohydrates, there are good fats and there are bad fats. Bad fats (trans fat) can be found in fast food restaurants, processed foods and anything that requires preservatives to increase its shelf life. Having a diet rich in these fats could lead to heart disease, hypertension, and possibly stroke. Even though a gram of fat yields 9 calories, every gram of fat is not created the same. Good fats (unsaturated fats) can be found in fish, specific oils, nuts and seeds, and even through supplementation (omega 3, 6 & 9). Recent studies have shown that a diet consisting of these good fats can help in digestive difficulties, reduce cholesterol, decrease blood pressure, and increase energy levels.