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Weight Loss Diets: Fact And Fiction

Aug 17, 2007
The weight loss industry is a booming industry worth billions of dollars annually. It therefore should be no surprise that we are constantly being bombarded with new 'miracle' products and weight loss programs that will shed the pounds quickly and without much effort. Navigating the plethora of dieting information to distinguish between fact and fiction can be difficult, but it is certainly not impossible.

A good starting place to discover the truth is actually to uncover the fiction. Once we know what isn't true, we can concentrate on genuine information that supports weight loss.

Here are four of the most common weight loss myths:

Skipping Meals Will Help You Lose Weight

The idea behind this is that if you eat less food, you will automatically lose weight. While on the surface this sounds like it should work, it doesn't take into account the body's metabolic response to what it sees as starvation. It slows right down to give you the best chance of survival. This means that you burn fewer calories. The truth of the matter is, eating more often but smaller healthy meals raises the metabolic rate and aids weight loss.

You Can Eat What You Want As Long As You Exercise

You have to do an awful lot of exercise to burn off a chocolate bar. The value of exercise is not so much that it burns calories (although that certainly helps), it is that it raises the metabolic rate so that you burn more calories faster all through the day. If you need to lose weight, you cannot eat what you want. You do need to exercise discipline while you shed those extra pounds.

Diet Pills Will Make You Slim

Diet pills do not make you slim. Most diet pills are designed to suppress hunger and it is not eating as much that helps you lose weight. However, diet pills do not control the calories or fat content of the food you do eat, so you might eat less food but still the wrong food. Furthermore, pharmaceutical diet pills have unwanted side effects that can have long term affects on your health. Some natural diet pills such as hoodia gordonii have the advantage of suppressing appetite without side effects, so if you must go down this path, they are the preferred option. Nevertheless, simply eating less will not guarantee weight loss unless the food you are eating is healthy and calorie controlled so that you can lose weight and maintain good health.

Calorie Restriction Is The Best Way To Lose Weight

The Calorie Restriction Diet is a controversial diet founded on the belief that severe calorie restriction slows the aging process. Many people believe that substantial calorie reduction will reduce metabolic stress and in so doing, increase life span. Calorie counting on its own is not good dietary practice. While it is true that counting calories can be very helpful in managing energy intake, the quality of those calories is very important. The nutritional impact of the food eaten is very important and will affect all aspects of health, including weight stabilization.

Now that we have looked at some very common fallacies, let's take a look at some important weight loss facts. These facts can make a huge difference to your ability to achieve your weight loss goals and then maintaining your new weight in a healthy manner.

Weight Loss Takes Time

Genuine, healthy, permanent weight loss takes time. It is a gradual process and it is not going to happen overnight. Extreme weight loss diets that promise quick results do not promote good health and even if the person does lose weight quickly, more often than not, they gain more back than they lost. This manner of dieting actually causes weight gain in the long term.

Weight Loss Requires A Lifestyle Change

The first thing that has to change if you want to lose weight is your diet; not only what you eat, but how much you eat. A lot of people take in more calories every day than they actually use. If this continues over time, a person can gain a lot of weight and yet not appear to be overeating. Effectively, to lose weight you have to burn more calories than you eat. To be healthy in the process, these calories have to have a high nutritional value. Exercise should also be included in this lifestyle change. Exercise will burn calories while you are engaged in it, but more than this, it will raise your metabolic rate so that you burn more calories throughout the day.

You Do Not Necessarily Have To Eat Less

To lose weight, you may not have to eat less food. Many people are overweight, not because they eat too much, but because they eat food high in calories. A person who eats a large heaped plate of salad will consume fewer calories than a person who eats a small bucket of chips. A person who drinks water with their meals will consume fewer calories than someone who drinks a sugary soda. There is also substantial evidence that diet sodas can prevent weight loss and contribute to weight gain, not because of calories but because of the effect of chemicals. This means that calories are not the only consideration in choosing foods. Nutritional value and health benefits need to be primary considerations in order to get the best long term health and weight loss results.

You Should Eat Regularly

It is important to eat regularly for two reasons. Firstly, hunger is the number one enemy of weight loss so it is important to avoid more than mild hunger. If you get too hungry, you can be tempted to just grab anything and totally blow your daily goals. When we fail, it is easy for discouragement to set in which can cause us to give up altogether. Secondly, eating a number of small regular meals throughout the day will increase your metabolic rate so that you burn more calories.

If you avoid the fiction and stick to the facts, then your weight loss journey has every likelihood of success. It is hard to lose weight in our modern world with its fast-paced stressful lifestyle and fast food fixes. That is why we really have to reject this lifestyle to be successful. More than anything, if you want to lose weight you need to change the way you live, not just the amount of food you eat.
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