Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Want to lose weight? Here’s what to avoid

Weight loss advice is like a never ending waterfall, it just keeps flowing. Sometimes gushing with tips that are extremely helpful, other times trickling in with tips that are ineffective or even plain harmful. 

Losing weight can be challenging especially if you feel like you’re doing everything you can but not seeing any results at the speed you want to see them. 

The Human body is moody you know and can get fed up with years of food abuse, grappling day in and day out to heal and protect the body. So once you decide to make the shift to mindful eating, the body takes its time to kick in. If I could read my body’s mind, Iwould definitely hear it saying after ten days of mindful eating, “wow, is this all I have to deal with now? I get more time to rest and rejuvenate? but let me take it slow, who knows how long this will last.” 

When its months of repeated mindful eating, the body then realises the change is long term and kicks up the metabolism, so the initial slow weight loss will then accelerate and plateau weight gain on cheat days. 

This is really how your body would speak to you.


Here are some unhealthy weight loss tips that you should avoid during your weightloss journey —


Unhealthy Myth-1—Always eat breakfast even if you are not hungry

We have all heard of breakfast being the most important meal of the day. Yes, it is important but that does not mean you force yourself to eat in the morning even if you are not hungry. Eating breakfast isn’t a hard and fast rule for losing weight. Eating or skipping breakfast affects your weight so minutely that it is almost negligible. Sometimes skipping breakfast is even part of intermittent fasting which plays a part in your losing weight. However, everyone is different and each person’s body reacts differently.  There’s no need to eat in the morning unless you are hungry. Breakfast like a king or a pauper is fine, just listen to what your body wants.


Unhealthy Myth-2— Weighing yourself everyday

All you weight watchers ….It’s time to shift your focus off the scale. Staring at the scale everyday is just going to lead to disappointment. Weighing yourself everyday is not good for your psychological health especially because day to day weight fluctuates for many reasons like hormonal changes, water retention, bowel movements or even sickness. Constantly focusing on the scale is not going to help you lose weight any faster. Also remember that muscle weighs more than fat. So the weighing scale should not be the only way to measure your progress, feel the fit of your clothing too. 


Unhealthy Myth-3 — Opting for low fat or diet foods

We’ve all fallen prey to diet foods or low fat foods while trying to lose weight. We are blinded by the empty promises of losing weight faster. These foods are highly processed, low in nutritional value and often have artificial flavours and sweeteners to enhance the taste. Low fat products can also make you feel hungrier, so you often end up eating more food than your body needs. Instead of low fat or diet foods, choose nutritious and minimally processed foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables. 


Unhealthy Myth-4 —Doing juice cleanses help you lose weight

Juice cleanses or juice fasts have become increasingly popular. They claim to detox your body and even help you lose weight. While any diet that is low in calories will essentially help you lose weight, it will add a host of new issues due to the lack of nutrition in your body and high sugar content of juices. Juice robs the fruit and vegatables of its fibre, making sugar absorption super fast, which is not good for the body, eat whole fruit, salads and veggies, always a better option. 


Unhealthy Myth-5 — Not exercising enough or exercising too much

In the initial stages of your weightloss journey, it is hard to figure out how much exercise your body needs. If you don’t exercise at all while being in a calorie deficit, you’re more than likely to lose more muscle mass and notice a dip in your metabolism. Exercising helps minimise the amount of lean mass you lose and increase the amount of fat you lose along without affecting your metabolism. The more lean mass you have, the easier it is to lose weight and maintain the weight loss. Be sure not to over exercise as that can cause a few problems of its own as well. Balance is always key. 


Unhealthy Myth-6 — Only focusing on cardio while working out 

Cardio or aerobic exercises are good for your heart and overall health but only doing cardio isn’t the best weight loss strategy. While some people tend to lose weight in response to cardio, others either maintain or gain a slight amount of weight. The best weight loss game plan is a mixture of cardio and strength training. 


Unhealthy Myth-7 — Minimising foods high in natural fat

Not all fats are bad for you. Repeat after me. Not all fats are bad for you. Stop avoiding fat if you are trying to lose weight. In fact, foods that are naturally high in fat like avocados, nuts, fish and coconut, can help you lose weight. Sometimes consuming fat-free or low fat products in an attempt to cut down on your calories can backfire. Yes, fat does have twice as many calories as protein or carbs, it’s also very filling and takes a long time to digest but healthy fats combined with good protein and carbs have a tremendous positive effect on the entire body. 


Unhealthy Myth-8 — Eating too often, even if you’re not hungry

Eating small meals throughout the day to maintain your weight is a myth and its time we bust it.  Eating every two to three hours is not vital, it can add to your calorie count and weight without you realising it as you do not ever feel full. (unless medically recommended, especially for diabetics) 

Eat when you are hungry. Listen to your body. 


Unhealthy Myth-9 — Skipping meals

Skipping meals to accelerate the process of losing weight is not the answer. It slows down your metabolism and can even increase your cravings at your next meal . Eating healthy, balanced and consistent meals is the most sustainable routine for your body. 


Unhealthy Myth-10 — Focusing only on calorie intake- eating too many or too few calories

While people need to create a calorie deficit to lose weight. This means you need to burn more calories than you consume. However, calorie intake is only half the battle. The quality of food you eat plays a huge role in your weightloss journey. Processed food can have the same calories as nutritious food. So it is vital to make sure calories are nutrient dense instead of empty calories. People significantly underestimate and overestimate calories in exercise and food. Eat moderate portion sizes to avoid low calorie intake which is often counterproductive. Be smart about your calorie counting.


Unhealthy Myth-11 — Enjoying cheat meals after workout

After a vigorous workout we often feel like we deserve a treat. That is true once in a while but constantly bingeing on unhealthy snacks defeats the purpose of that gruelling workout in the first place. Load up on nutritious, high quality food and treat yourself once in a while. 


Unhealthy Myth -12 — Having unrealistic expectations

Lastly, do not set yourself up for failure. Having unrealistic weight loss goals will not keep you healthy or motivated. All it will do is work against you and demotivate you. Be practical and realistic to see results. Small, consistent goals are easier to achieve and will fuel you to see your weightloss voyage through. 

To sum it up —

  • Everyone is unique and what works for someone may not necessarily work for you. 
  • Every person’s weight loss journey is distinct and different. 
  • Trial and error is key to figure out what works for you. 
  • Set a goal for yourself and follow through, in a healthy way. 
Vinita Alvares Fernandes
Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

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