The most common myths about weight loss

It is worth noting at the beginning that many of the popular myths and methods of losing weight are not only ineffective, but can sometimes be harmful. In turn, too rapid weight loss due to too high a caloric deficit may, in the long run, cause the famous “yo-yo” effect. Why is this happening? Because the body begins to store “reserves” in case of another large calorie deficit. Therefore, the most reasonable reductions are those with a low deficit. This is a healthier method, but spread over time, so for those who are patient and determined to achieve the expected results.

Here is a list of popular myths related to weight loss:

1. If I exercise, I will lose weight

It has long been known that physical activity is very important for the proper functioning of the body. However, in itself it will not help a person who wants to “lose” excess weight to achieve their goals. The key here is the caloric deficit. Physical activity will certainly make this task easier, and will additionally influence the possibility of increasing the supply of calories supplied with the diet. However, this topic should not be approached in such a way that if you are physically active, you can eat anything you can get your hands on, or rather into your digestive tract, with impunity ;-). Without changes in eating habits and without reducing calories, you will not lose weight. Therefore, the best solution will be to combine any activity with a reducing diet, which will contribute to both weight loss and improved figure appearance.

2. The last meal (usually dinner) should be eaten by 6 p.m

In my dietary practice, I come across this statement very often. I also often receive questions about this issue from my patients. It is also worth mentioning here that when the last meal is quite early (5 p.m.-6 p.m.), we often have to snack at night. Given the current lifestyle and the bad habit of sitting late in front of the TV or computer, hardly anyone can survive without snacking, even if they eat a fairly early dinner. So now you should ask yourself whether it would be better to eat a late dinner at e.g. 8-9 p.m., but with the option of not snacking.

The key issue is the time between the last meal and the time we go to bed. It would be best to leave about 2-3 hours between eating your last meal and going to bed.

It is also worth considering what we eat for dinner/last meal. It would be rather unwise to eat hard-to-digest and fatty foods (e.g. pork knuckle or fried dumplings with cabbage and mushrooms 😉 ).

The situation is different when it comes to people training late in the evening. I sometimes discuss this topic with people who don’t know how to behave in such situations. They often make mistakes in this case, because when they finish their training at 9 p.m., they completely skip eating any meal.

Why is it worth taking care of a post-workout meal?

After training, our glycogen stores may be depleted and our muscles may have micro-injuries. Therefore, you should ensure proper nutritional regeneration, which over time will contribute to improved well-being, training performance, and progress in results. It would be enough to use simple meals, i.e. Skyr yogurt with fruit, bread with cottage cheese or slices of lean ham, or a carbohydrate-protein supplement (gainer), a protein with the addition of fruit, e.g. banana + a small amount of cocoa. There are many combinations, you can adapt them to your dietary preferences. It is important to replenish any losses of macro- and micronutrients resulting from physical activity. Mainly because of the sports form. And speaking of us “long-timers”, it is crucial to increase muscle glycogen reserves. However, without an appropriate approach to nutritional strategies, this may not necessarily be successful.

3. Potatoes are fattening

This is another popular myth. This statement is especially common among older people. They are associated with Sunday dinners, where potatoes are often accompanied by sauces thickened with flour, fat remaining after frying, and fried meats. And it is often these additives that give potatoes a bad reputation. Potatoes have many valuable ingredients (including vitamin C, beta-carotene, and potassium) and it is not worth giving them up. They are one of the least caloric products and, in turn, the most filling. Just consume them with healthy products.

Potatoes are wrongly perceived as fattening.
Potatoes are wrongly perceived as fattening.

4. Only long training will ensure weight loss

Of course, all physical activity helps reduce body weight (with an appropriate caloric deficit), but you don’t always have to focus only on long-term aerobic training (cardio). In recent years, HIIT (High-intensity interval training) training has become increasingly popular. This is a training that may especially appeal to people who do not have a lot of time. This training, in short, involves performing intense exercises in a short period of time, interspersed with a short break. This break can be active, but of very low intensity, or passive, but not for complete rest.

It must also be clearly stated that reducing body weight is a matter of caloric deficit, but the addition of physical activity will promote faster reduction of fat tissue, as well as affect the appearance of the body and the recomposition of the figure (reduction of fat tissue while building muscle mass – here a stimulus is necessary in form of strength training and a properly balanced protein supply).

5. Fruit can be eaten without restrictions

Fruits are an important component of many diets and healthy eating. They are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and compounds that significantly influence the proper functioning of the body.

However, you should pay attention to the fact that they contain large amounts of fructose, i.e. simple sugar. In excess, it may contribute to weight gain. Therefore, fruit must be eaten with caution. You can also think about including low-GI fruit in your daily menu. They are especially recommended for people suffering from diabetes. Such fruits include berries, i.e. raspberries, strawberries, wild strawberries, blueberries, blueberries, blackberries, and currants. Other fruits worth including in your diet are apples and avocados (one of the best sources of healthy fat).

Berries have a low glycemic index.
Berries have a low glycemic index.

6. Crunches will help you burn the so-called tire

This is another myth worth debunking. It is impossible to reduce fat from a specific body part. Just because someone wants to lose excess belly fat doesn’t mean it will happen. First of all, the goal should be to reduce overall body fat. If we add appropriate exercises, including the popular “crunches”, we can increase muscle mass and shape these muscles appropriately. However, as mentioned above, the key is to reduce the fat tissue, which hides the muscles ;-).

To sum up: caloric deficit + physical activity + body-shaping training = lower body fat content and a chance to see the abdominal muscles and the “six-pack” so desired by most people.

7. “Light” products can be eaten without restrictions

These products should have a reduced energy value compared to their normal counterparts (approximately 25-30%). Such products may contain lower amounts of sugar or fat. In addition, they may contain a large amount of various types of additives that are not necessarily beneficial to health. It also happens that products are not always as “light” as the consumer would expect, and their caloric content is not much different from traditional products.

Another issue worth noting is a certain psychological trap in which people who buy “light” products consume them in excess, thinking that because they have lower calorie content, they can eat more of them. And on a daily basis, it may be deceptive and the effect will be opposite to the intended one (more kcal).

It is also worth reading the composition of such products before purchasing. This will certainly make it easier to make the right nutritional decisions.

8. Hair loss while losing weight – it happens…

And it shouldn’t. This may indicate significant deficiencies and an unbalanced diet. What could be the problem? We may be dealing with a deficiency of protein, amino acids, vitamin A or B vitamins. Hair is also affected by zinc, iron and magnesium. Hair loss can also be the result of stress.

9. Low-calorie, restrictive diets and fasting are best for weight loss

Very popular, but on the other hand, it can be the most harmful. First of all, attention should be paid to the probable occurrence of significant nutritional deficiencies. This will apply to both macronutrients, i.e. carbohydrates, proteins and fats, as well as vitamins and minerals. Another issue is lower metabolism (which determines the rate of calorie burning). We eat less, have less desire and energy for everyday activities, and move less. All this leads to a vicious circle.

In my dietary practice, I encounter cases of patients who have already been on diets, and often these diets were set at a level below their basal metabolic rate (PPM). Which is a big mistake, because the caloric demand determined by PPM is necessary for the proper functioning of the body. If we add to this people who train and are on such restrictive or low-calorie diets, we can only shake our heads. In the long run, sticking to such diets will ruin your health. It is worth adding that the thyroid gland is very sensitive to any such diets.

Here’s my humble advice – if someone suggests being on a diet below the PPM, I advise you to take your chances and run away if someone cares about their health.

Of course, there are cases or even the need to use restrictive, low-calorie diets or starvation, but this is usually done in a short time and is usually related to disease entities.

10. Dietary supplements for weight loss and burners are absolutely enough to lose weight

Such products are very popular, despite the fact that their effect is negligible or even non-existent. Even more so if these supplements and “burners” are used without the support of diet or physical activity. You need to realize that the basis and starting point should be diet (calorie deficit) and physical activity. Only the next step in supporting these two components could be any supplements supporting weight loss, provided their action is justified and, most importantly, effective.

Are dietary supplements for weight loss and fat burners enough to lose weight?
Are dietary supplements for weight loss and fat burners enough to lose weight?

11. Fats and carbohydrates make you gain weight

A very popular myth. Once again, a key point can be mentioned: it is the caloric surplus that causes weight gain, and not specific products or macronutrients, such as carbohydrates or fats.

These two macronutrients are necessary for the proper functioning of the body (especially if we take into account the combination of carbohydrates and runners 😉 ). Therefore, it is worth including complex carbohydrates and healthy fats from products such as fish, linseed oil, olive oil, avocado, and nuts in your diet.

If we want to reduce a few unnecessary kilograms, we should ensure a properly balanced diet that takes into account the calorie deficit and contains all the necessary ingredients responsible for the proper functioning of the body.

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