While it is important to have lesser calories when you are on a weight loss plan, it is equally vital to know where the calories are coming from, says Neha Dhulla.
Losing weight is something that most of us have tried at some point in our lives.
Whether you agree or not, everyone has their own theory about what contributes to weight loss.
And anyone who has little success with losing weight tends to give free advice to one and all.
This also creates a lot of wrong information or myths that people blindly tend to believe.
Following are some of the most popular myths about weight loss:
This is the most common myth that people carry regarding weight loss. Because a certain diet worked for someone, everyone tries to copy the same pattern for themselves.
One must understand that each individual is different and each body responds differently.
Your age, lifestyle, medical history, body type, activity level and other factors as well play a role in determining what pattern will suit you.
Randomly following any diet advice not only is futile but can sometimes also affect the body negatively. Therefore, one must always consult a certified nutritionist for any scientific advice.
2. Weight loss as a temporary goal
What most of us fail to understand is that one can never go 'off' a diet if we want to maintain a healthy weight.
Getting fitter is a lifestyle change and one cannot 'diet' for 2 to 3 months and then go back to the old habits.
You might lose weight temporarily with any plan, however, in the long run, if it isn't a lifestyle change then the weight is bound to come back.
3. Adding 'healthy' foods isn't enough
There is always something trending on the health charts that people want to add in their diet to 'lose' weight. For example, green tea, apple cider vinegar, lime and honey in the morning, oats etc.
Whilst all of these foods do have health benefits, just by adding them in your diet will not make you lose weight.
They have to be incorporated along with a set of other dietary changes and exercise pattern.
4. The omission of certain food groups
Very often we hear people say, 'I am off carbs' or 'I have quit dairy products' or more recently 'the gluten-free diet.'
The omission of a food group with the purpose of losing weight usually is not recommended since the benefits last only as long as you follow the plan.
As soon as you start incorporating the food group, the weight tends to pile back.
5. Calorie Counting
While it is important to have lesser calories when you are on a weight loss plan, it is equally vital to know where the calories are coming from.
A bar of chocolate can give equal calories when compared to 2 serves of fruits, however, the ones coming from fruits are healthy.
The difference here is that although calories are the same, the composition of food is different, the nutrients that each of them contributes to your body is different and hence the outcome of both is different.
Many of us today blindly pick up foods that are labelled as 'low calorie', 'low fat' or 'diet food' whereas some of these foods might be high in sugar, fats or both -- hence reading food labels carefully is important when striving to become healthy.
6. Not eating helps weight loss
Skipping your meals in order to lose weight might give initial water loss but is not advised to achieve healthy weight loss.
In fact, fasting can have a reverse impact on your health, leading you to nutritional deficiencies and weakness, fatigue, lethargy etc.
7. Eating less and exercising more
Whilst the general formula for weight loss might be caloric input vs output, it doesn't hold true for everyone.
Many obese individuals eat very little food and still are unable to shed the extra weight.
The reasons for obesity could be varied from individual to individual -- hormonal, genetic, lifestyle, dietary habits etc.
Hence the root cause of weight gain should be identified and the treatment should be planned accordingly.
8. Supplements are good to lose weight
Any supplement -- in the form of powder, tablet, or liquid contains a lot of artificial ingredients.
While these products may provide initial weight loss, they are not a long-term solution for weight loss.
Most of them, when stopped, make you put on the weight again contributing to the Yo-Yo cycle.
9. Only exercise is enough
Many people believe that because they are exercising or rather 'burning off' the calories, they can eat what they please.
We often hear them saying that I can eat desserts or fried stuff because I work out.
However, fact is that healthy weight loss is always a combination of both diet and exercise.
10. I can't lose weight because it's hereditary
Blaming the weight entirely on genetics is the biggest excuse used by people who do not wish to make any lifestyle change themselves.
It is noted, however, that even adapting small changes to a healthier lifestyle can go a long way in making oneself fit and lose weight to some extent.
Neha Dhulla is manager-clinical practices and nutrition at Digestive Health Institute by Dr Muffi in Mumbai.