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*(* see BMI chart in the end) . 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

Gradual process of weight gain

    1. Logically weight reduction should be 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.
    2. Pick up physical activities that you enjoy, in your journey towards a healthy living !
    3. Sudden weight loss, is like crash landing a heavy aircraft , with repercussions on your long term health!

  1. That “Doing exercises” is futile option for achieving weight loss.
    1. It is true that doing exercises does not reduce weight as quickly as strict dieting.
    2. An ideal exercise plan will  have three dimensions; 3S-Strength/Stamina/Stretching
      1. Strengthening of muscles/bones  (For example  weight training, using body as weight for traditional exercises )
      2. Endurance Stamina for heart/lungs (For example activities like sports, jogging, swimming, cycling, etc)
      3.  Stretching for well toned body(For example Yoga, aerobics, dancing) etc
    3.   A well planned , regularly executed exercise plan  will strengthen body’s  frame, internal organs and slowly bring down weight without causing harm
    4.  Even though weight loss may not immediately result  due exercises,  the body would have started to shed  fat, and begun to  strengthen muscles, bones , slowly raising BMR(Basal Metabolic rate ) , the rate at which body consumes calories . Stronger muscles in legs, hands, back, stomach will raise BMR as you continue exercises

  1. That Strict dieting ( for example severe fasting, skipping one/two meals, or skipping breakfast) is necessary to reduce weight in short time
    1. Strict dieting will result in weight loss but then a bout of flue can also do that with similar after effects. ie weak body.
    2. Reducing weight in such a unhealthy way is not desirable , as it will certainly cause long term damage and pose serious health issues in future
    3. Dieting generally means denial of food when you are hungry. Such repeated denials will have adverse effects on your mood, ability to perform normal work , mental alertness , ability to sleep normally.
    4. Eat sensible , eat right, to ensure you get all nutrition preferably in their natural form
    5. Avoid calorie intense” foods( like fried, oily snacks, sweets made from milk fat, alcohol)
    6. Avoid foods with high GI values (made from refined carbs), choosing lazy carbohydrates
    7. Avoid severe fasting that can lead to weak lever, mood swings, depression, weak bones, and more infections
    8. Eat with awareness ; Take time to eat, Chew food for longer , which will limit its intake

  1. That you can shed fat selectively from certain body parts (like waist, stomach, biceps, thighs)  by wearing tight belts or by doing special exercises.
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Like accounting method LIFO(Last in, first out) , the stored fat will be first taken from lever, and then from other parts of body. It is likely that fat from face, will be shed before the  fat from abdomen, waist and  hips  may be the last one  to be shed.
    4. Focus more on exercises for bigger muscles like  legs (for example  kick boxing, outdoor cycling, running, fast walking , climbing up stairs) for faster results
  1. That Diet fads like Vegetarian only, no to all milk products) , No oil, no meat, no poultry, etc are necessary  for achieving  weight loss
    1. Obsessive diet fads cannot last long as they are difficult to maintain in life
    2. Your body is accustomed to your dietary habits since a long time . we need different types of food for getting proper nutrition. Sudden changes in diet are like a shock to body.
    3. Vegetarian diet lacks certain vitamins (like B12) and is usually deficient in proteins as well
    4. Say no to any extreme diet fads to achieve weight loss. Eat sensible instead.
  1. That Weight loss clinics, massage with Sauna , steam bath help in reducing weight.
    1. The weight loss achieved by weight loss clinics that massage or use steam/sauna baths is purely due to loss of water, causing dehydration.
    2. Weight loss due to loss of water from body is deceptive. Body will quickly gain weight as loss of water is compensated
  1. That Doing only Pranayamas, (Kapal Bhati like heavy breathing )or HathaYoga can result in weight loss
    1. Doing Pranayama would not be possible without strong lungs, heart. Pranayama is possible only after  physical Yoga Asanas.
    2. Traditional HathYoga will address mainly “Stretching” part, unless more intense Yogic practices are consciously adopted, like quicker and more number of rounds of
    3. The 3S trinity, Strength, Stamina and Stretching should never be forgotten
    4. Practicing Hatha Yoga will slowly bring down weight . On a positive side, Yoga will first restore balance of mind , improve quality of sleep,  reduce cravings, thus addressing the psychological cause of weight gain
  1. That Taking pills/powders/juices that suppress hunger, and  taking protein/vitamin  supplements in artificial form will provide all necessary nutrition, for achieving weight loss quickly.
    1. Body absorbs nutrients along with food fibre/roughage thru food’s journey in small intestine in a gradual way
    2. Sans fiber, the vitamin/protein pills will not be properly assimilated and most likely to be excreted by body.
    3. Food supplements can only perhaps compliment a good diet plan ; the supplements can never be  thought as replacement for normal food
  2.    That You must join a Gym if you want to reduce weight
    1. 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
    2. In addition, gym users get bored while doing monotonous activities indoor in
    3. It is also observed that over training with Gym machines leads to injuries like muscle tear, muscle pull, stress fractures, and cramps , etc  due to over strain in one particular part of body.
    4. 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.
  1. MBBS doctors are the best guides for seeking advice on diet, nutrition,
    1. If you want good advice on diet, nutrition, please consult a Ph. D (dietician)  instead of a MBBS /allopathic doctor.