Busting The Common Weight Loss Myths- By Jane Sandwood
Obesity has been touted Africa’s new crisis, and a landmark report by the Overseas Development Institute indicates that the number of obese/overweight people has grown from 250 million to almost one billion in less than 30 years on a global scale. Part of the problem is the growing availability of fast food and the rise in people becoming sedentary. Yet the diet industry itself is also to blame. The media has played an important role in propagating many myths that recent research has thankfully proven to be false. It is important to bust each and every one of them, to achieve lasting weight loss and health.
Getting Skinny with Fats like Coconut Oil
Not all fats are the same; for many decades, we have been sold the idea that golden oils such as sunflower, soybean, and safflower are healthy, yet analysis of the fat in clogged arteries shows that only 26% comprises saturated fat. The rest is made up of polyunsaturates such as those contained in golden oils. Fats can form part of a healthy balanced diet, yet consuming the right fats in moderation is key. The essential fatty acids, Omega-6 and Omega-3 fats, should be consumed in a ratio of 2:1 to achieve a healthy weight and stave off heart disease. These fats boost the metabolic rate and metabolism of fat. Omega-6 fats can be sourced from avocados, nuts and flax seeds, while Omega-3s can be sourced from salmon, extra virgin olive oil and walnuts. Coconut oil is another excellent choice for rapid weight loss, since it contains medium chain fatty acids that aid with fat burning and are easily converted into energy.
Another myth states that if you wish to shed a few pounds, you have to pick between two types of diet: low calorie, or low carbohydrate. While recent research certainly seems to back lower-carb diet plans (because high sugar/carbohydrate diets are tied in to heart disease, Type II diabetes and greater fat storage), long-term success can only be guaranteed by a balanced approach to weight loss. Starvation diets do not provide the nutrients we need, and do not work in the long run, but diets which limit the carbohydrate intake to zero or close, are doomed to fail as well, since we need carbohydrates for various bodily functions. The most important consideration is the source of carbohydrates; rather than consuming bread, pasta and refined foods, we should stock up on healthy, organic seasonal fruits and vegetables, selecting those which are low on the glycemic index scale.
Sweating the Pounds Away
A third myth states that to lose weight, you should take part in cardiovascular exercises exclusively. While aerobics, walking, running, body combat and other cardio-based classes are very important for losing weight, strength training with weights is equally important, to ensure muscle mass is not lost. Some women are afraid of doing weights because they fear it will make them look bulky – this is another myth, since building muscle takes extremely tough workouts and a very special diet. Lifting weights will ensure you stay firm, and help you burn calories even after you have completed your workout. It is a crucial part of a sound weight loss regime.
There are as many diet myths around as there are diets (more and more of which seem to be cropping up on bookshelves and online). Lasting weight loss, however, involves a realistic approach which sees us making better choices instead of setting impossible goals and starving, exercising excessively or depriving ourselves of the great joy that food can bring.