When you search the internet for weight loss advice, you are likely to come across conflicting information. This can make it difficult to choose the right eating habits for losing weight.
There are many different myths that people follow, when trying to lose weight, that could lead to weight gain. When you try to watch what you eat and follow healthy eating habits, it is important that you find honest advice backed by medical research.
The following eight weight loss habits are actually myths that could backfire and cause you to gain weight. Before starting a new diet or changing your eating habits, look over these common weight loss myths.
1. Counting Calories
Cutting calories is not always the best option for losing weight. Obviously, if you eat a lot of food, you are going to have trouble losing weight, so cutting calories can have some benefits; however, this should not be the focus of your diet.
Just because you are counting calories does not mean that you can eat whatever you want.
Many people run into the problem, when counting calories, of filling their calories with junk food. Energy bars or granola bars sold with “low-calories” most often are not helpful as they are processed foods.
Instead of focusing on the calories, you should focus on the food. Look for healthier options, instead of worrying so much about calories.
Tip: ALL fruits and vegetables have very low calories, and they are healthy too. Eat as much as you want!
2. Eating Low Fat Foods
Don’t be tricked into thinking that a food with “low fat” on its label is better or will help you to lose weight.
Many “low-fat”, “reduced fat”, and “fat-free” foods are really not what they claim to be.
A recent study found that 10% of diet foods contain the same or more calories than the regular stuff, and that 40% had more sugar.
When food companies remove fat from their products, they will have to use more sugar, salt, and artificial additives to make the food taste better. These additives are really more harmful than fat itself.
A research also showed that a “low-fat” nutrition label leads all consumers, especially those who are overweight, to overeat. This certainly will defeat the purpose of your wanting to eat healthy and lose weight.
3. Eating A High-Protein Diet
If you’re eating a high-protein diet that you think will help you to lose weight, eating a meaty meal is not desirable in late evening as your digestive system slows down in the evening.
The wrong foods that you eat at a late hour will not be used up as fuel, thus will be stored away as fats that you will find difficult to lose.
Try avoiding these types of food and realize how light you will feel the next morning.
4. Avoiding Carbohydrates
The low-carb diets have become a popular way to try to lose weight. While some low-carb diets may be useful for dropping a few pounds, studies suggest that they can be bad for your health —in the long run.
A very low carb diet can lead to an imbalanced gut flora. When you avoid carbs, you’re also avoiding important prebiotics (i.e. food for your gut flora) like soluble fiber and resistant starch.
These prebiotics are essential for promoting the growth of beneficial gut flora. Without them, your beneficial flora can’t produce as much gut-healing substances, and your microbiome composition may even shift in an undesirable direction.
You’re only as healthy as your gut is: an unhealthy gut contributes to everything from obesity and diabetes, to digestive illness, to autoimmune disease, to skin disorders and various other diseases. Opt for the healthy carbohydrates that you get from fruits and vegetables.
5. Avoiding Snacks
Avoiding snacks can be good or bad, depending on the snacks that you choose. Actually, many nutritionists recommend that you eat several snacks throughout the day, or even five to six small meals. This will help keep your metabolism active and improve your digestion, so that you can lose weight a bit easier.
6. Salad is Healthy
Salad is not always healthy—IF you add salad dressings full of unhealthy fat and fried or processed meats, then a green salad can quickly become an unhealthy meal.
If you want to eat a healthy salad, skip mayonnaise, thousand islands and the like. Make your own healthy dressing with balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar, with some extra virgin oil and a tinge of honey if you like. Focus on including healthy ingredients—dark, leafy greens and other fresh ingredients, such as fruit.
7. Avoiding Fat
Fat is often thought of as something that you need to avoid. What many people do not realize is that there is healthy fat and unhealthy fat. Actually, fat should comprise at least 20 percent of your daily calories.
Unhealthy fats to avoid are foods
- Vegetable cooking oil
- Hydrogenated fats (read the labels)
- Fried foods (French fries, doughnuts, deep-fried fast foods)
- Margarine (avoid at all cost!)
- Vegetable shortening
- Baked goods (cookies, cakes, pastries)
- Processed snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn)
Healthy fats to include that will actually help with your weight loss:
- Saturated fats (yes!)
- Coconut oil (for cooking)
- Extra virgin olive oil (not for cooking)
- Shea butter
- Whole eggs
- Fatty fish
- Nuts and seeds
8. Working Out While Hungry
Some people believe that skipping a meal before a workout can help them burn more fat. The thought process behind this is that if you deprive your body of fuel before the workout, you will be able to burn more calories. Unfortunately, this is not a good idea. Your body needs fuel, for you to get more out of your workout.
A glass of green juice may also keep you feeling full and provide you the energy you need for your workout that will continue to burn fats even while you’re sleeping.
If you have had trouble losing weight, before you start a new diet, you should make sure that you are not following any of these weight loss myths. There is no shortcut to losing weight. If you want to drop a few pounds, you need to focus on eating healthy foods.
You do not need to completely change your diet to start losing weight. Combine some moderate exercise with a healthy meal plan.