Have you tried just about everything there is to try to lose weight but nothing seems to work? Maybe you have even fallen victim to one or more of the four most common diet myths. This article tells you what those myths are and why they serve only to sabotage your weight loss efforts.
Nowhere are there more fad diets, weight loss schemes and wild, completely unsubstantiated weight loss advice circulating than in the USA. With so much conflicting “information” out there, it’s no wonder people don’t know where to turn to lose weight properly and in a healthy way. The fact is many people assume they are eating healthy although it’s closer to the truth that many of them don’t even come close to eating a balanced, nutritious diet.
The reason for this is mostly due to the fact that they are guiding themselves with false information propagated by fad diets put out there by weight loss companies. Most of these diets are leading people to believe that cutting out certain nutrients is what it takes to properly loose weight. Nothing can be further from the truth.
I even fell prey to this myself this summer while traveling. I heard about the “Bulletproof” diet and started drinking the Bulletproof coffee. While the coffee mixed with “Brain Octane” (amped up, clarified MCT oil dumped into your morning coffee), made me full and increased my mental clarity, it did nothing to help me lose the extra pounds I’d picked up while partaking in the Standard American Diet (SAD). In fact, it might have contributed to a sustained weight gain and definitely some unexplained teeth grinding at night.
Needless to say I dumped David Asprey and his bulletproof nonsense. Real food is not the enemy and I don’t need to wear kevlar against it. What I need to do is to look more closely at the common misconceptions being peddled about food and diet by its marketing machine. On my road to recovery I’ve looked more carefully at myths about food that might lead dieters astray in the search for weight loss gold. I was on this road myself too so we can reverse course together:
MYTH #1 YOU SHOULD NOT EAT FROM CERTAIN FOOD GROUPS
The Keto Diet, Atkins diet, even the Bulletproof diet to some extent have made a fortune by advising people to cut out one food group or another. The Keto and Atkins diet, emphasizes the near elimination of carbohydrates for example, while the Bulletproof diet hones in on the supposed presence of mold in certain foods. All of these diet plans can lead to hangriness, binge eating and self loathing. While the Ketogenic diet has some use for children with epilepsy and individuals with some auto-immune disorders, doctors are increasingly advising that people should not rely on ketosis in the Keto/Atkins diet to lose weight. This is akin to taking your metabolism on a roller coaster ride —aka yo-yo dieting—which leads to sustained weight gain. The fact is that your body needs a balance of (complex) carbohydrates, protein and fat to function properly and none of them should be completely eliminated from your diet. The key is to try to keep the carbs, proteins and fats in the proper range at approximately 60% for carbs, 25% for proteins and 15% for fats.
MYTH #2 CARBS ARE BAD FOR YOU
Following on from Myth #1 – not all carbs are created equally. Carbs fall into two groups: simple and complex. Simple carbs, such as those found in candies and sweets, and also fruit, are turned into glucose quickly. These are the kind which can add to your weight problem. Glucose not immediately used by you is stored in your muscles as glycogen, but if your body has an excess of glycogen, it is converted into fat. Complex carbs, such as those found in brown rice, veggies, legumes (peas, beans and lentils), and whole grains breads and cereals are digested and thus used at a much slower rate, giving your body time to prime its metabolism. Good high carb veggies are peas, peppers, pumpkin, radishes, spinach, squash, succotash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and turnips. Succotash, sweet potatoes and green cooked peas are the highest in carbs. You need several servings per day of complex carb foods such as these to maintain your energy levels and keep you from feeling sick and tired. Because carbs prime your metabolism, you need them in order to burn fat. This is one of the major reasons you must not starve yourself and eat too few carbs. You must eat a good intake of complex carbs, such as those found in fruits and veggies, banning simple carbs from your diet.
MYTH # YOU HAVE TO STARVE YOURSELF TO LOOSE WEIGHT
This is probably the most commonly heard and longest running myth about weight loss out there. The fact is, if you don’t eat enough, your metabolism will slow down greatly making your body want to store fat, making most of your initial weight loss come from water and muscle. This makes your body-fat percentage go up, meaning you are losing weight, but you are actually getting fatter! The average woman should not eat less than 1000 calories per day and the average man should not eat less than 1200 calories per day unless under the direction of a physician. If you eat 3 full meals per day and drink enough water, you will lose weight while preventing your metabolism from slowing down.
MYTH # 4 EAT NO FAT WHATSOEVER
This is another myth that has been around for a long time. It probably comes from the fact you do need to limit your fat intake to around 15% to 20% of your overall daily calorie intake. “If eating only a little is good, then eating none must be better”, but the fact is, your body needs that 15% to 20% of fat in your diet because fat helps lubricate your joints, keeps your skin smooth and elastic, provides a source of energy, helps your nervous system to function properly and provides insulation from cold weather.
MYTH # 5 TO GET ENOUGH PROTEIN, YOU HAVE TO EAT MEAT
While it is true that meat is a great source of protein, it is certainly not the only one. Meat can also be high in fat and sodium. Dairy products are usually high in fat, but now there are plenty of low-fat and fat-free dairy products to choose from and they do not compromise the protein value. Egg whites are also a prime source of protein. These are all sources of complete proteins. Various vegetables and legumes also contain proteins but these are all incomplete proteins and must be eaten in the right combinations to become complete. One example is combining beans with rice. The best way to be sure you are getting a well balanced, nutrient rich diet is to eat more whole foods and less processed, pre-packaged foods and to avoid eating out as much as possible. Make eating out an occasional treat, but try to prepare most of your meals yourself and you will be on your way to living a healthier, leaner lifestyle. After one week of yoga teacher training — which has been meatless and nearly vegan I have started to see that I can live without eating so much meat. Eating three meals per day — at the same time each day has been immensely helpful to my metabolism. That’s not to mention the 1.5 hours of yoga almost every day. I had only healthy snacks and drinks.
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