‘Weight – loss’ – People are obsessed with this word these days. It is not unusual to come across a person eating a humungous hamburger and promising to start dieting or working out the next day. It is the new fad. Losing weight is important, no doubt; but to what lengths should we go to do this? Our desperate attempts lead to many companies taking advantage of us and giving out crazy diet and workout schedules. But what is too much? More importantly, do we need to lose so much weight that we almost end up starving ourselves? Let us ask ourselves first – do I really need to lose weight?
Heard of BMI (Body Mass Index)? Well, just divide your height in square meters from your weight in kilos. So if your 170 cm and your weight is 60 kg, it will be (1.70)2/60. If the answer is above 25 than you are overweight, above 30 then you are obese (then normal weight loss regimes won’t suit you), if it is below 18.5 then you are underweight and need to increase immediately. Being underweight is as bad as being overweight. If it is in the normal range that is between 18.5 and 24.9 and you are flabby, then you need to tone yourself with a regular diet and not lose weight. There is a difference in losing kilos and toning your muscles. Once that is decided then comes the main decision. If I have to lose weight then how should I go about it? Right diet and exercise is always the perfect way but that does not sound very convincing, does it? Before you start shedding those extra kilos however, a few tips of advice. People always seem to shout out what not to eat, what kind of work or we should do etc. But many of them don’t work the same for all of us. Here are just a few myths and some facts –
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Myth: Fad diets help you lose weight quickly, follow them for a while.
Truth: If you want permanent weight loss, fad diets are not an option. In fact, fad diets are not an option at all. As soon as you stop following them, you gain back all the weight and you obviously cannot follow that diet forever.
Myth: High protein diets and low carbohydrate diets work.
Truth: No one knows the long-term effects of a high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet on one’s health. Getting most of your daily calories from high-protein foods like meat, eggs, cheese or pulses is not a balanced eating plan. You may end up eating too much fat and cholesterol, which may increase the chances of a heart disease. Following a high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet may also make you feel nauseous, tired, or weak. When you eat fewer than 130 grams of carbohydrate per day, it can lead to the buildup of ketones which are partially broken-down fats in your blood. A buildup of ketones in your blood – known as ketosis, can cause your body to produce high levels of uric acid, which is a risk factor for gout – a painful swelling in the joints and kidney stones. Ketosis is risky for those who are pregnant and those with diabetes or any kidney related disease.
Myth: If I am above 45 – 50, I cannot lose weight.
Truth: Losing weight does not always mean going to the gym every day and following diets. Increasing the amount of physical activity every day or taking a walk for about 30 minutes about five days a week is ideal for losing weight when you combine it with a reduced consumption of fatty foods.
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Myth: Do not munch on snacks or fast food.
Truth: It always depends on how much weight you have to lose. Healthy snacking especially eating fruits between meals are a great option. You do not have to starve yourself. Fast food consumption once or twice a week is okay if you are not extremely overweight.
Myth: Eat foods with the label ‘low – fat’ and ‘no – fat/fat – free’.
Truth: Foods which claim to be low fat or without fat are often lower in calories than the same size portion of the full-fat product. However, these processed foods have just as many calories as the full-fat version of the same food or at times even more calories. They may contain added sugar, flour, or starch thickeners to improve flavor and texture after fat is removed. These ingredients add calories. Go through the ingredients on the cover. They give you a better idea.
Myth: Skipping one or two meals is a good way to lose weight.
Truth: Skipping a meal increases the amount of time your body goes without food and makes you hungrier. You then end up eating more than usual and that is not good. Also, when your body stays hungry for a long time, it falls back on the stored fat in your body for energy. This reduces the metabolism and slows down the process of losing weight.
There are many such myths that people tend to spread. But everybody has a different body type and different metabolic rates. Some people can get on without eating a meal or some can go on eating without increasing weight because of high metabolism. See what works for your body and don’t rush to reach your ideal weight. If you lose it slowly, it will be easier for you to maintain.