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Six weight loss myths – busted!

27.08.19 Eat, Learn Blog SumoSalad
Weigh loss myths salad

As we head towards summer, diets are often a hot topic. However, there are a slew of misconceptions about how to lose weight and keep it off. With fad diets aplenty, there’s understandably a lot of confusion about what it means to eat well.

Dr Nick Fuller is the author of Interval Weight Loss for Life. He takes a simple and sustainable weight loss approach that will rid you of those yo-yo diets for good! We asked Dr Fuller to bust a few of the persistent and unhelpful myths around weight loss and dieting.

Myth one: the only way to lose weight is to count calories

Calorie counting is a complete waste of time, we know people can succeed without counting calories and weighing out food to an exact amount of grams.

Part of the reason counting calories is a waste is because not all calories are equal. Some foods may have a certain amount of calories on the label, but then when we digest the food we don’t absorb all those calories. Nuts and vegetables are very good examples. Nuts may have, say, 100 calories on the packet, but only a percentage of those calories are absorbed in the body. You can succeed in losing weight without logging calories on an app or diary, it’s much easier than that.

Myth two: all you have to do to lose weight is eat less and move more

There’s no truth to the eat less, move more weight loss campaign, it’s far more complicated than that. We’ve been brainwashed to believe that it’s as simple as decreasing the amount of food you have and increasing your movement. That might work initially, but if people keep to very strict routines they’ve got in place, the body starts to prevent that weight loss and will work back to its starting point. This is not a failure of willpower, it’s biology.

Myth three: it doesn’t matter what I do, I can’t shift the weight

Often this occurs because of the misconception that you should be restricting your food intake. You should be increasing it when you’re trying to lose weight – restriction is the worst thing you can do.

Most of our patients say that they always restrict their food intake. But, if you keep restricting and go on multiple diets, your body becomes very clever at shutting down. When you do restrict, it gets to a point where you don’t lose weight regardless of what you do because your body learns to eliminate that stress.

Myth four: Using meal replacements is the easiest way to lose weight

Changing a couple of meals into shakes, bars or whatever it might be is not addressing the real issue at hand. You can’t stay on meal replacements forever, eventually people go back to their old ways and they haven’t addressed the real problem at hand. It is far more healthy and economic to learn to cook a few simple, healthy dishes, rather than rely on meal replacements.

Myth five: The quicker you get the weight off, the better

There are two issues here. Regardless of how much weight people are losing in a certain period of time, they all get to the point where the weight starts to come back. So, if they lose a greater amount, say 20 kilos, that 20 kilos may just come back a little slower. It really depends on the time period they’ve lost it and what they’ve done to achieve that weight loss.

Secondly, what happens after you lose weight is that your body goes into shutdown mode. That often happens after just a few kilos. That’s why I encourage people to lose a few kilos, reset and then go back on their weight loss journey the next month as described in the Interval Weight Loss program.

Myth six: I can use metabolism-boosting foods to help me lose weight

A product or food might say it speeds up your metabolism, but these are short term transient effects, they don’t actually have an effect on a person’s weight. Caffeine speeds up your metabolism, but it doesn’t have an overall effect on weight. A particular food or food product isn’t going to speed it up, but what you’re eating and your lifestyle in general can have an impact. So, if something’s being marketed to you as speeding up your metabolism, there’s no truth to it.

Dr Nick Fuller’s tips for getting started

Now we’ve busted these common weight loss myths, what does work? Dr Fuller’s book Interval Weight Loss for Life is a great place to start. However, here are his quick tips to think about first.

  1. Stop calorie counting and weighing foods. It’s actually about eating more healthy foods, not less. People need to move away from that restriction mentality.
  2. Weigh yourself once a week, but not more often than that. Day-to-day fluctuations mean nothing and a person’s bodyweight can fluctuate 1-3 kilos in a day. Instead, weigh yourself once a week at the same time and same day. Look at the trends over time.
  3. Eat mindfully. Particularly in Australia, many people get home after a stressful day and reach for snacks and alcohol. Instead, I encourage people to replace that habit with another good habit, like going for a walk or doing something in the garden. That way, you won’t find yourself in the common scenario of emotional and comfort eating, which we tend to do without realising. Same goes for after dinner – if you know that time is a trigger, find a hobby or a task to do. In the Interval Weight Loss program, it teaches a person how to overcome emotional and comfort eating.

Nick Fuller

Dr Nick Fuller is a leading obesity expert at the University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, and the founder of Interval Weight Loss. Interval Weight Loss is a scientifically proven way of redefining the weight your body wants to be, to prevent that ever so common weight regain after following a weight loss program. For more information, refer to Interval Weight Loss For Life.

POSTED BY: Anthea England
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