Every so often, we turn to the internet whenever we are looking for a solution to our dieting issues – perks of having such advance technology. However, while internet can provide us with an answer from a reliable source, there are also tons of misconception that were being presented, which may cause more harm than good if we overdo it.
We all know how weight loss and dieting can be so addictive at times; there’s just this indescribable sense of satisfaction whenever you see a drop in the numbers on the weighing scale – even if it’s just 0.5kg.
However, whenever it comes to anything that is related to health, I tend to do extra research on it before coming to a conclusion. As a true Asian, I believe that health is wealth, and any damage done to your body may have a long-term effect.
Adding on to that, while there are hundreds and thousands of advices on how to lose weight such as Dieting Tips 101, How to Lose 10kg in 1 Week, we do need to keep in mind that sometimes, the facts are distorted and these “online tips” are misguided, and even scientifically disproven.
Hence, the purpose of this article is to debunk some of the common myths so that you are able to lose weight correctly and healthily.
Carbohydrates are Bad
Image: American Heart Association
Low-carbs diet or no-carbs diet are really common.
According to Healthline, low-carb diet is a diet that restricts carbohydrates from your diet, which includes bread, pasta and sugary food, focusing mainly on protein, fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, no-carb diet eliminates almost all carbohydrates which includes fruits and most vegetables.
While studies do show that, reducing carbohydrate does promote weight loss, research are mixed as to whether it is for the short-term or not.
On top of that, low-carb or no-carb diet often promote weight loss as such diets often requires one to have more protein in their meals which is more satiating compared to carbs, thus reducing your overall calories intake.
People also tend to have a misconception that carbohydrates are harmful as it raises your blood glucose and prompts your body to release insulin which may cause weight gain as insulin helps with the absorption of sugar. Hence, with tons of insulin being released would mean that more sugar will be absorb to your body, and we all know what happens when sugar isn’t used as energy – they turn into fats!
I wouldn’t lie – I have definitely done low-carb diet a couple of times, and honestly, from personal experience, it’s hell.
I experienced dizziness and fatigue in just the second week of the diet, that made it hard for me to focus on my work, and I definitely had a hard time controlling my temper. Given that there may be many factors that caused the dizziness such as I’m not intaking sufficient calories for the day, but it is proven that the negative effects of such diet include nausea, constipation, dizziness and lethargy.
I am not saying that reducing carbohydrate is bad for you, but what I’m saying is that there’s a reason why carbohydrate is our main source of energy and if you are thinking of reducing its intake, just be sure that you listen to your body – if your body is not reacting well to the lack of carbohydrate, try other form of diet that doesn’t put your health at risk.
Eating Late Causes Weight Gain
Second to “carbohydrates make me fat”, “Eating late makes me fat” comes next whenever I ask my friends out for supper.
There is always this legendary diet rule whereby you shouldn’t eat after 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. because “it makes you fat”, and can I just say THIS IS SUCH A MISLEADING CLAIM!
Contrary to popular beliefs, when you eat does not have much importance as compared to what you eat.
According to Healthline, the theory of “eating late makes you fat” started from an animal study which suggest that eating against your circadian rhythm would mean that your body would use the consumed calories differently.
A circadian rhythm is a natural process of the body that controls the sleep-wake cycle which repeats every 24 hours. Based on this process, night time is meant for resting. Hence, many often have the misconception that your body does not burn as much calories at night as compared to the daytime.
However, eating late does increase the risk of weight gain as you may consume more calories throughout the day due to longer eating window – which may be the reason why most people felt that they’ve lost weight when they implement the “no eating after 7pm” rule as it naturally helps them reduce their calories intake.
This is also further proven by a study whereby late eaters did not experience any weight gain despite eating after 8 p.m., instead a second study have found that late eaters tend to consume more calories which was the cause of excess weight.
At this point of time, you may have this perception that I’m such a basic girl; but I’ve tried this diet before too.
Do not judge.
Personally, this rule did not work as I tend to binge eat before the “fasting period”. Therefore, my calories intake is almost the same as when I eat pass 8pm, which is why it didn’t work on me. And I hope you have come to realize that to lose weight, your calories output must be higher than your calories intake before anything could happen.
Weight Loss is a Linear Process
For the longest time ever, many people had followed the rule of thumb stating that 3,500kcal = 1lbs.
With such beliefs, many assume that weight loss is a linear process and for every 3,500 calories he or she cuts, 1lbs will be lost.
Image: Bourne Fitness & Martial Arts
Sorry to pop the bubble, but weight loss does not work that way, and burning 3,5000 every week doesn’t guarantee you a definite weight drop of 1bs.
Meet your best friend, metabolism, which refers to the amount of energy, also known as calories, that your body requires to keep you going. Energy is crucial even for your basic body function such as transporting of oxygen, removing waste from body and regulating your body temperature. These are not only affected by your body composition, such as fats to muscle ratio, it is also affected by various factor such as age, level of activity, gender and genetics!
Hence, as you are losing weight, your metabolism is likely to adjust according to your body composition. So, there you go, losing weight isn’t a simple mathematics equation whereby 3,500 calories = 1lbs. It’s more than that, your body is an amazing yet complicated thing!
Therefore, a realistic weight loss graph looks like this.
My advice? Keep a food diary.
As mainstream as it may sound, it is crucial to have a clear view as to what your current calories intake is. If you find that tracking calories is too stressful, have a rough gauge as to what your food intake is like daily. I personally do not track calories as I felt that it is too much work, and I tend to get stress out over it, which causes me to give up halfway through.
After having a clearer picture of your daily food intake, reduce it by a little and track your weight constantly. Once you hit plateau, adjust your food intake again!
For example, in a day, my typical food intake would look as such:
- Breakfast: Avocado toast, scrambled eggs and sausage + coffee with milk
- Lunch: Wanton noodle + coffee with milk
- Afternoon snack: Biscuits
- Dinner: Mixed vegetable rice (usually consist of stir-fried bitter gourd, steam egg and sweet & sour pork)
If I am looking to lose weight, I can remove the sausage from my breakfast! For the next few weeks, I would track my weight consistently to check if there is any weight loss, if there is no drop in the numbers, I can either reduce the amount of rice I eat a day, or limit to one cup of coffee per day!
Just take note that, when you hit to a point where your weight stop dropping, also known as plateau, don’t be dishearten! This is your body telling you that it has lost quite a bit of weight and now require lesser energy to keep your body functioning well!
Lastly, as I said, weight loss is not a linear process, there are days whereby you will weigh heavier than the day before. There are tons of explanation to that! Reasons such as you have not cleared your bowels, you weighed at a different timing, or purely just water retention!
Don’t fret too much about it, and keep having faith!
Remember to keep listening to your body. Every body is special and a particular diet may work on others, but may not work well on you. Keep trying, and do not give up! When things get a little too stressful, take a break first! While physical health is important, mental health is too. So, don’t get too obsessed over losing weight and learn to love yourself mor