When it comes to losing weight, it is actually a relatively simple science. If you are doing all the right things to lose weight and have no underlying hormonal imbalances or medical conditions, then your body will respond and you will drop the kilos. The majority of people trying to lose weight however, fall prey to diet myths and weight loss fairy tales getting stuck in a never ending cycle of diets and yo-yo dieting.
The diet industry would love you to believe these myths as it keeps you fat. Why do you think it is always those who are overweight that are always on diets, eating the diet foods and drinking the skinny lattes? Dieting doesn’t work. Healthy eating does. If you cut out the processed foods and fizzy drinks and eat fresh produce as close to nature intended you will reach a healthy body weight. The problem is that we are always looking for a quick fix or miracle cure to weight loss.
Common weight loss myths
♥ Exercise is the biggest key to weight loss
Exercise is important for a healthy lifestyle, however many people believe that if they exercise excessively, they will lose weight. I can’t tell you how many times clients say to me I am exercising every day and I am not losing weight. It is not that simple. Unless you are a marathon runner or athlete, simply going for a twenty minute daily walk or jog will not shift the extra kilos if you are eating the same food.
Exercise is of course crucial to maintaining our health and mental wellbeing, and the more muscle mass we have the higher our metabolic rate but the reality is that the most important thing to focus on when we need to lose weight is our diet. You may be surprised at how much exercise it takes to work off excess energy. That extra glass of wine, handful of chips or piece of birthday cake soon all adds up.
40 minutes of intense weight lifting = 2 beers
20 minutes brisk walk = 1 glass of champagne
45 minutes brisk walk = 1 doughnut
Weight loss comes down to 80% what we eat and 20% how much we exercise. If we change what we eat we will lose weight, it is that simple.
♥ Weigh yourself daily
Our weight fluctuates daily due to hormones, fluid retention and what we eat (some foods cause us to retain more water than others).
If you weigh yourself every day you become a slave to the bathroom scales. Your weight can easily fluctuate by a good couple of kilos but if you constantly weigh yourself this can send you spiralling out of control and heading for the nearest cookie jar. The scales can give false readings which you can interpret as your healthy eating plan not working. The emotions that can be tied up with what you weigh can lead you into obsessing over weight instead of focussing on healthy eating.
Throw the scales away, focus on eating for nutritional gain and the weight will come off. Tune in to your body, you will know when you are losing or gaining weight simply by the way you feel and the way your clothes fit.
♥ Eat low fat diet foods
So many diet plans advocate low fat foods for weight loss and even diet food companies promote calorie counting and reduced fat foods as the secret to losing weight. This simply is not true. Diet foods are full of artificial chemicals which play havoc with our hormones and liver (which will also hinder fat loss) plus by removing the fat content from food, sugar is often used to replace the taste we lose from the fat.
By eating low fat food, our body misses out on important fat soluble vitamins, leaving us malnourished. Fat helps us to feel full so if we eat low fat foods we feel less satiated and always wanting more. This leads to food cravings, hunger hormone imbalance and binge eating because your body is starving for nutrients. Ditch the processed diet foods and start eating real fresh foods. Fat is not the enemy to weight loss.
♥ Go gluten free
We read so much in the media about weight loss success simply by removing wheat and gluten from the diet. The best way to lose weight is to remove highly processed and refined carbohydrates from the diet. As wheat and gluten are mainly refined carbohydrates this is why many people lose weight by cutting them out of their diet. Where you can go wrong is by simply swapping regular pasta, bread, biscuits and cakes for gluten free alternatives. Gluten free processed foods are often higher in refined carbohydrates and starches than their gluten counterparts so this can be counterproductive for weight loss. Tapioca starch and cornflour for example are highly refined carbohydrates that quickly turn to sugar in the body, a big no no for weight loss.
♥ Eat as much low fat food as you like
Piling up your plate with healthy low fat foods such as brown rice, quinoa or sweet potatoes can do damage when it comes to weight loss. ‘I am eating all the right foods and doing the right thing but I am still not losing weight’ is often a common concern for those watching their weight. The reason for this is that most of us have got our portion sizes all wrong. We live in a society where big is better and we pile our plates high, having no concept of recommended daily serving sizes.
A standard serving of potato for instance is one small potato yet many of us have way more than this in one serving. If we are eating too large a portion size, our bodies will simply store the excess energy as fat. Check out my portion control guidelines at fionatuck.com to be sure that you are not eating too much.
Fiona Tuck is a Skincare Expert, accredited Nutritional Medicine Practitioner and a member of the Australian Society of Traditional Medicine. Fiona’s holistic approach to nutritional health is driven by her mantra – ‘Nutrition is the grass roots of good health’. For more information, check out Fiona Tuck Nutritional Medicine – www.fionatuck.com