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The Truth About Weight Loss: The 6 Biggest Myths About Dieting!
All of our behavior results from the thoughts that preceded it, so the thing to work on is not your behavior, but the thing that caused your behavior, your thoughts.
– Dr. Wayne Dyer
Let me preface this article with the notion that I truly, indeed detest the word diet, but for simplicities sake… I’ll use it!
The stark reality is that sometimes eating too little can be a literal roadblock in attaining a lean fit and healthy body.
Eating less in daily calories (food/nutrients), than your minimum metabolic needs causes your body to burn muscle and store fat.
This is what is called the ‘Starvation Metabolism’ response, where the body, when deprived of adequate calories, will adapt to need fewer calories to function. As a result, dieters often regain the weight they lose almost immediately because they have starved their body into becoming a “fat-storing machine.” Sadly the truth!
For most of its history, the human race was subject lock, stock and smoking barrel to the whims and fancies of dear old Mother Nature, especially where our nutritional needs were concerned. When the conditions were right, food was plentiful; when they were not, the populace starved. As a result, evolution shaped our progenerators bodies in such a way that during times of plenty, they were able to pack on layers of fat to provide them with the sustenance they needed to get through the lean times…not the ‘fit’ times, the ‘LEAN’ times!
And as evolution would have it, humans became adept at mastering their environment, nevertheless, famines grew rare, and the built-up fat reserves often went unused; our ability to manipulate the environment had exceeded nature’s slow practice of adaptation.
At present, obesity is pervasive in wealthy nations like the U.S. So what in the heck happened to moderation and balance? Particularly impacted are those of us of European and Eastern African origin, whose forbearers needed bodies that could efficiently manufacture fat reserves to outlast the periodic famines. As a direct result, many of us have become corpulent, mostly because it’s hard for us to fight the natural tendencies of our bodies to accumulate fat. Currently, some 64% of Americans are overweight and more than one third are obese.
With that being said, as contemporary living human beings, we don’t have to allow nature to get the leg up on us (nature nurture then nurture nature). Being overweight and more specifically, over-fat isn’t healthy, especially for those of us who suffer from conditions like hypertension, diabetes, heart conditions and other insufficiencies of adequate, abundant health.
But what’s the best way to lose weight (fat)and to regain a healthy state of body composition?
As you might have guessed, there are to be nearly accurate, thousands of specialized or Doctor/Guru-ized diets, procedures, dieting devices, miracle pills, powders and the like out there, all of which promise you they’ll help you get lean and sleek. Some of them actually work, but how can you tell which ones? How do you thread your way through the plethora of dieting on your way to a healthier, slimmer you, without setting off self-destructive behaviors that can incapacitate your dieting efforts?
The answer to that question is this: Very Vigilantly.
While persuasive and a little facetious, it’s nonetheless true. Some things are palpably false, fraudulent, misleading or simply prey on our innermost desires; for example, there’s no magic pill (never will be), grapefruit or otherwise, that can in an isolated form cause you to shed the pounds. New-fangled fad diets don’t work, and neither do most of the “scientific” ones that are so fervently promoted. Despite this, Americans are willing to spend more than $50 billion a year on fad diets and gimmicks, when in fact the most effective dieting advice comes down to this: Expend more calories than you consume! What I refer to as the two (2) E’s, Exercise and Eat Right! Get it! To Ease!!! To ease all that ails us.
This, we know is true; it’s just difficult to assemble the willpower necessary to… belly-up to such an audaciously unpleasant proclamation.
If you’re adamant about your health and well-being and want to attain ‘real-results’, keep this truth in mind… “You can lose weight and keep it off”. Peranent weight loss can happen. The intention of this article is to help you along the way as you edify and develop the management skills necessary to achieve success by identifying the most common weight-loss myths that can perplex you during your expedition. We’ve left out the miracle claims and preposterous matter in favor of presenting more reasonable-sounding myths that an intelligent person might be beguiled and enticed by. Let’s start with the most omnipresent myth.
THE MYTH: Avoiding meals can assist you in losing weight faster.
THE TRUTH: Erroneous, Incorrect and Blatantly WRONG! This is Taking The Low Road!
It seems logical, just like its consequence (“the fewer calories you eat, the more weight you’ll lose”), but it’s not true. The effect is the opposite of what you expect. Dieting is based on the fact that if you burn more calories in a day than you take in, your body will begin burning fat. While this is true, if you expect to lose weight effectively, you need to maintain eating regular meals, especially breakfast.
Depriving your body of its necessary fuel and nutrients causes it to go into starvation mode; when this happens, your metabolism slows down so that you can get by on little to no food. Once your metabolism slows, it can be quite difficult to bring it back up to momentum, and until it regains its pace, normal eating will just cause you to gain more weight.
It can be a vicious cycle that’s excruciatingly difficult to break. In addition, bypassing meals can make you feel lightheaded and weak, can have venomous effects on your cholesterol levels, and can be extremely perilous for diabetics.
In a nutshell, fasting and crash diets are forms of self-sabotage best avoided. What’s more, eating frequently (and moderately) will leave you less hungry throughout the day and cause a satiated effect, so you’re less likely to have or give in to your food cravings.
THE MYTH: Starches are Fattening.
THE TRUTH: False and Unsafe.
For one thing, it’s difficult to completely avoid starches, since they’re a major component of staples like bread, pasta, grains, fruits, potatoes, corn, and rice. Even if it were possible to cut out all starches, if you did so you’d be starving your body of the fuel it unconditionally needs in order to maintain proper body-system function. Food consists of only three basic substances or macro-nutrients: proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Starches are carbohydrates; and carbohydrates, along with their metabolic products and core nutrients are your body’s basic fuel.
Most of the fuel your body uses comes from a carbohydrate identified as glucose. Some glucose you might consume in the form of candy or sodas; some carbohydrates in substances like alcohol, quickly break down into glucose. Glucose is absorbed by your cells and used to run your bodily processes; any excess is stored in your liver or converted into fat, where it can be called upon at need.
If your body lacks glucose, it’ll eventually start using any fuel source it can find. At first these might be fat cells, but as they shrink, your body may begin attacking the protein reserves in your muscles for the fuel it needs, referred to as catabolisys. This is a “last-resort” move generally saved for famine conditions, so if it happens to you, it’s bad news. The truth is that your metabolism by virtue of your circadian rhythm is better able to digest, to process and to assimilate certain food sources at certain times of the day… Translation: Some foods are more efficiently assimilated at set points of the day because of the composition or complexity of the source and as our metabolism rises and diminishes throughout the day. More complex foods such as starchy carbohydrates become increasingly more difficult to fully take through the digestive process, without a ‘diminished returns’ effect occurring and fat storage beginning.
THE MYTH: Vegetarian or Vegan diets are healthier than omnivorous diets.
THE TRUTH: Not…
A diet (merely a regime of frequent consumption) consisting entirely of rice and french-fries, or of bananas and cheerios, can be considered vegetarian, but neither diet is healthy in the long run. If you’re careful, you can get by just fine on a properly balanced vegan or vegetarian diet, but you’ll have to manage your in-take very carefully. Vegetarian diets do tend to be high in fiber and low in fat, but the fact is that humans evolved as opportunistic omnivores. That is, our ancestors ate anything they could get their hands on: greens, tubers, bugs, and the occasional smidgen of meat and this dictated how our bodies today, still require nutrients for efficacy and fuel for performance, that’s what we do… Perform! Preferably Efficiently! Poor Physical Performance is what we simply call… SICK!!! Emotionally, Physically, Spiritually…what-have-you!
The human body developed and evolved to expect a diverse and varied diet, one that could provide all the nutrients it necessitates in a variety of forms. Meat was an important part of their diet, perhaps the most important part because it was so uncommon. Vegetarians must always be sure that they eat enough protein; protein is easily available in meat, so few omnivores have to worry about getting enough, but it’s scarce in most plant foods.
Fortunately, nuts, beans, and a few other vegetable products are ready sources of protein. If you go vegetarian, you’ll also need to be sure you get daily doses of Vitamin B12 and Zinc, supplements often missing in vegetarian diets.
Most people can continue to exist as vegetarians if they’re extremely careful, but it’s a continuous mêlée, and guess what? You can be just as healthy and out-of-shape on a vegetarian diet as you can on a regular diet, especially if you don’t exercise regularly.
THE MYTH: Sweating facilitates weight loss.
THE TRUTH: Absolutely… If the sweat is exercise induced!
Otherwise, all you’re doing is losing water weight. Sweating is astonishingly effective at doing what it was meant to do: cooling the body by glazing the skin with evaporative fluids.
It was never meant to act as a weight loss system. Lose enough water, and you’re toying with dehydration. Dehydration or progressive dehydration can occur if you fail to rehydrate yourself sufficiently after every workout. If you get sufficiently dehydrated, your electrolyte balance will get out of whack, your cells will be starved of the fluids they need, and you could die. Not a happy prospect, so avoid it.
For this reason, the old sweatbox and sauna are of no use for losing real weight. Neither are their modern “high-tech” equivalents, such as body wraps and plastic sweat suits, no matter how many people swear by them. All they do is dehydrate you. Yes, you lose weight: two pounds per quart sweated away. But that’s weight, not fat. And the moment you drink enough water, you’ll gain all that weight back. Like I have said… “Weight Loss is a LIE!”
THE MYTH: Fat Free is… Calorie Free!
THE TRUTH: YEAH… RIGHT!!!
All “fat-free” means is that a particular food has no detectable fat content. Sadly, however, is that fat and its related compounds that give most foods their flavor. Ice cream, butter, cheese, and a whole host of non-dairy products, including chocolate, are little more than specially prepared, congealed fat. When manufacturers design many fat-free products, such as bread, cookies, ice cream, and the like, they know these products will be mostly dry and flavorless without fat.
Some fat substitutes are available, but they can cause gastrointestinal upset, and most are expensive. This leaves one common ingredient that manufacturers can use to make their products taste better: sugar. And they use it liberally; so many fat-free products are high in calories.
Furthermore, plenty of foods like breads and pasta are low in fat, but rich in carbohydrates and we already know what that means. Carbohydrates break down easily into our friend glucose, which can result in increased fat when consumed in excess.
You always have to consider calorie and portion size; you’re fooling yourself if you do otherwise. Moderation is the key to dieting success… Any …long-term success for that matter.
The Myth: You Either Diet Or Exercise, You Can’t Do Both Simultaneously!
The Truth: Don’t Get Me Started!!!
Yes…you can do both together and you should, it is referred to as Synergy; the coordination of two effective components working concurrently to derive a greater benefit than if isolated.
The dieting myths and misconceptions explored in this article represent just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There are thousands of them out there: some are ridiculous and barely worthy of notice-like the suggestion that eating standing up helps you lose weight, or that you can base a diet on your blood type or color of hair-while others are less obvious, like those discussed here.
Dieting isn’t easy and, while it’s human nature to look for a simple solution to a problem, that strategy just won’t work in this case. So heed these hints, and take it easy. Don’t skip meals, keep your diet properly balanced, and exercise regularly. Avoid all fads, pills, and extravagant claims, because if it sounds too good to be true…well, you know the rest.
It doesn’t take more than losing a few pounds before you’ll notice a difference in the way you look and feel. And, if you lose only a few pounds at first, even if you’ve been at it for a while, so what? Pick up a five or ten pound bag of flour and carry it around for a day, and you’ll see how quickly you’ll get tired of lugging that excess weight around.
Application of sound methodology is always the most effective means to achieve any objective, with that said, if you want to truly shed those extra kilos of fat, then do yourself a favor and draw up a plan, combine all the necessary elements of success and execute that plan…
-Kurt Lee Hurley, Veritas
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