Ten Myths on Weight Loss
Epidemic of obesity : As per WHO, worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980. Today 39% of adults are overweight, defined as having BMI more than 25*. Wealthy countries like USA have more than 1/3rd adults in Obese category , defined as BMI more than 30. See chart below Please refer to chart at end of article to find out your BMI
Higher BMI is the cause of many a life style diseases like cardiovascular diseases (mainly heart disease and stroke), diabetes, and even some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon). Equally worse are the “quick fix solutions” ,marketed by the weight loss industry which promise effortless weight loss, . Understanding the ten myths on weight loss will help in embarking on journey for a healthy weight loss , without causing long term damages.
1. The weight loss goals must be achieved in a short time.
A. Usually weight gain would have happened gradually , steadily over 10-20-25 years period since adolescence
Gradual process of weight gain
- Logically weight reduction should be also gradual Losing 1 to 2 kg per month is a realistic healthy goal , by right combination of “exercises”, “sensible eating ” and making other life style changes, that have contributed to the weight gain.
- Pick up physical activities that you enjoy, such as walking, cycling, running, swimming , dancing, or a sports in your journey towards healthy living !
- Sudden weight loss, is like crash landing a heavy aircraft , with repercussions on your long term health!
- That “Doing exercises” is futile option for achieving weight loss.
- It is true that doing exercises does not reduce weight as quickly as strict dieting.
- An ideal exercise plan will have three dimensions; 3S-Strength/Stamina/Stretching
- Strengthening of muscles/bones (For example weight training, using body as weight for traditional exercises )
- Endurance Stamina for heart/lungs (For example activities like sports, jogging, swimming, cycling, etc)
- Stretching for well toned body(For example Yoga, aerobics, dancing) etc
- A well planned , regularly executed exercise plan will strengthen body’s frame, internal organs and slowly bring down weight without causing harm
- Dieting can result in undesirable side effects like mood swings, feeling of depression On the other hand, aerobic exercises has desirable side effects, “Feel Good”due to release of pheromones.
- Even though weight loss cannot be achieved due exercise alone, the body would have started to slowly shed fat and begun to strengthen muscles, bones , slowing raising BMR (Basal Metabolic rate ) , the rate at which body consumes calories . Stronger muscles in legs, hands, back, stomach, as result of exercise, will certainly raise BMR if you persist with exercise routine, spending more than 2.5 hours per week
- That Strict dieting ( for example severe fasting, skipping one/two meals, or skipping breakfast) is necessary to reduce weight in short time
- Strict dieting does result in quick weight loss but then a bout of flue can also do that with similar after effects. ie weak body. Such weight lost, most likely will gained, as quickly as you give up the diet.
- Reducing weight in an unhealthy way is not desirable, if loss of weight comes at expense of muscle mass . Loss of muscles, will pose serious health issues in future.
- Dieting generally means denial of food even when you are hungry. Such repeated denials can have adverse effects on your mood, ability to perform normal work , mental alertness and ability to sleep normally.
- Eat sensible , eat right, to ensure you get all nutrition preferably in their natural form, along with fiber
- Avoid calorie intense” foods( like fried, oily snacks, sweets made from milk fat, alcohol).Avoid foods with high GI (glycemic index) values , like sugary drinks, those made from refined carbs, choosing lazy carbohydrates, that have roughage , fiber .
- Avoid severe fasting that can lead to a weak lever, mood swings, depression, weak bones and susceptibility to more infections. Strict dieting cannot be practically continued over a long time.
- Eat with awareness ; Take time to eat, Choose food with high fiber , chewing for longer ; All this will limit intake of calories in food.
- That you can shed fat selectively from certain body parts (like waist, stomach, biceps, thighs) by wearing tight belts or by doing special exercises.
- Remember that the main organ by which body reduces weight is through lungs/skin ; when heart pumps blood at faster rate, lungs take in more oxygen and breath out more Carbon Di Oxide (CO2), along with loss of water from skin as perspiration. More than 80 per cent of body fat is breathed out of the body through exhaling, making the lungs the primary organ through which we lose weight, through oxidation.
- There are several types of fats in body like Abdominal fat, Visceral fat, subcutaneous fat, brown fat, and white fat . Body has its own logical order for burning fats from various body parts.
- Like accounting method LIFO(Last in, first out) , the stored fat will be first taken from lever, blood, and then from other parts of body. It is likely that fat from face, may be shed first and the fat from abdomen, waist and hips may be the last one to be shed.
- Focus more on exercises for bigger muscles like legs (for example kick boxing, outdoor cycling, running, fast walking , climbing up stairs) for faster results
- That Diet fads (like Vegan, Vegetarian only, No oil, No eggs, No meat or No poultry, Salads only, Atkin’s diet, Having smoothies for breakfast, having only two meals in a day , etc) can achieve weight loss
- Obsessive diet fads cannot last long as they are difficult to maintain in normal life. As soon as diet plan is given up, body will regain lost weight, making entire exercise futile.
- Human body needs over forty ingredients every day (ten amino acids derived from proteins, fifteen vitamins, fourteen minerals, Carbohydrates and EFA ie Essential Fatty Acids) There is interplay between these ingredients like in an musical orchestra, so that food is assimilated into body. Having only one ingredient in excess, or denial of few essential ingredients does not satisfy body’s complex nutritional needs, resulting in malnutrition.
- Your body, gut microbes, are accustomed to your dietary habits acquired from your ancestors over generations . We need diverse ingredients of food for getting proper nutrition. Sudden changes in diet is like a shock to body.
- Vegetarian diet lacks certain vitamins (like B12) and is usually deficient in complete proteins, iron as well. Increasing protein intake seems difficult in a vegetarian diet. Vegan diets severely impact Calcium(Ca) needs of body as dairy products are the best source for getting calcium.
- Say no to any extreme diet fads to achieve weight loss. Eat sensible instead.
- That Weight loss clinics, massage,Sauna, steam bath help in reducing weight.
- The weight loss achieved by weight loss clinics that massage or use steam/sauna baths is purely due to loss of water, causing dehydration.
- Weight loss due to loss of water from body is deceptive. Body will quickly gain weight as loss of water is compensated
- It is important that weight loss should be accompanied with loss of % fat in body.
- If weight loss happens as a result of loss of muscle mass, then it is hazardous for your long term health.
- That Doing only Yoga, only Pranayamas, Kapal Bhati like heavy breathing can result in weight loss
- Doing Pranayama is not possible without strong lungs, heart. Pranayama is recommended only after strengthening body with physical Yoga Asanas.
- Traditional HathYoga addresses mainly “Stretching” part, unless more intense Yogic practices are consciously adopted For example, quicker and more number of rounds of Surya Namaskars, using body weight for dips.
- The 3S exercise trinity, Strength, Stamina and Stretching should never be forgotten.
- On a positive side, practicing Hatha Yoga will bring down weight very slowly. Yoga particularly Pranayama will also restore balance of mind , improve quality of sleep, reduce cravings, thus addressing the root cause, psychological cause of weight gain
- That Taking pills/powders/juices that suppress hunger and replacing normal food with supplements herb like /herbal powders/protein shakes /vitamin pills /smoothies in artificial form can provide all necessary nutrition, for achieving weight loss quickly.
- Body absorbs nutrients along with food fibre/roughage thru food’s journey in small intestine in a gradual way
- Sans fiber, the vitamin/protein pills, or herbal (like)powders will not be properly assimilated and most likely to be excreted by body.
- Food supplements, vitamin pills can only compliment a good diet plan ; these supplements can not be considered a substitute for normal food
- That You must join a Gym if you want to reduce weight
- Body is an intelligent machine, which quickly discovers the most efficient way to burn calories, conserving its energy , while doing repetitive motions on Gym equipment like on Cardio, or cross trainer or other machines
- In addition, gym users get bored while doing monotonous activities indoor in a gym
- It is also observed that over training with Gym machines often leads to injuries like muscle tear, muscle pull, stress fractures, and cramps , etc due to over strain in one particular part of body.
- Find a exercise buddy or group with whom you can engage in outdoor activities regularly .If weather permits, then choose outdoor exercises( like running, cycling)such “Outdoors Gym” is fun activity for the mind as well . Playing any competitive sport is also an enjoyable way to achieve weight loss.
- MBBS doctors are the best guides for seeking advice on diet, nutrition,
- If you want good advice on diet, nutrition, please consult a Ph. D (dietician/nutritionist ) instead of a MBBS /allopathic doctor.
- MBBS doctors have little or no formal education on healthy diet and nutritional needs of body.
Pankaj Narayan Pandit is founder,trustee of SLK Foundation , a charitable trust for nature friendly wellness solutions www.slkfoundation.in email firstname.lastname@example.org