What’s harder, losing the first ten pounds or the last? What’s more important, diet or exercise? Hear it from the experts.
Eat this, not that. Shop here, not there. Try this pill, read that book. With obesity on the rise in America, it’s no wonder we seek advice from all avenues to get ourselves into better shape. We try to our best to stay healthy, to stay updated on what’s good for our bodies. But weight loss is a billion dollar industry–what can we really believe anymore?
Sometimes all we really need is to keep things simple, to revert back to good old diet and exercise. Put down the diet pills, return those popular diet books, and start listening to your body first. What do the experts have to say? Here are five popular weight loss myths that we can finally put to rest.
If I exercise, I can eat whatever I want.
Sometimes we reward ourselves a little too graciously for a particularly long session at the gym, or for running 5 miles at the park instead of 4. A popular belief is that exercise is more important than diet, when really, it’s much easier to diet, says Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD, a registered dietitian with Appetite for Health.
“Exercise doesn’t burn that many calories in comparision to the calories that are in our foods and beverages. It’s so much easier to cut 500-800 calories form your diet than it is to run 5-8 miles every day. Plus, exercise stimulates appetite so that makes it hard to control what you eat when you’re working out really hard.”
Losing the first 5-10 pounds is the hardest. After that it’s all downhill.
Not necessarily. Sometimes losing the first few pounds can be easy, but the real tough part is maintaining your weight loss, and learning how to overcome plateaus, which is what happens when you can’t lose any more weight.
Upton maintains that sometimes it is more difficult psychologically to lose the first few pounds, because “they require you to commit to new eating and exercise behaviors in order to get the scale to budge. Often, we get discouraged with no movement on the scale so we give up before seeing any measurable differences in weight.”
Losing weight takes time and money, two things I don’t have.
Many people feel that dieting or making the effort to eat healthy is just an extra hurdle they have to go through on top of everything else in their lives. Where our health is concerned though, it’s worth it. Dr. Jaime Schehr an expert in diet and weight loss in NYC identifies with how difficult it can be to fit diet and exercise into their routines. “Weight is very much like money in the sense that it is more difficult to save money and easy to spend it, while with weight loss it’s difficult to lose.
The reward of weight loss is not immediate. All of the emotions and thoughts individuals experience when trying to lose weight are accurate, however none of them are unmanageable.” As a registered dietician and naturopathic doctor, she spends significant time with her clients discussing ways in which they can fit health and nutrition into their lives.
Skipping meals will help me cut calories, and lose weight faster.
Sure, cutting calories will help you lose weight. But skipping entire meals for weeks at a time can cause your health to quickly deteriorate, giving you the opposite result.
Melody Allameh, a Certified Personal Trainer with a degree in Kinesiology, says “If you want to lose weight faster, you’ll need to eat less and exercise more. But be careful. You don’t want to be eating so much less that you aren’t consuming enough calories to support your own body weight.
In fact, if you skip meals, you most likely will gain weight as your metabolism starts to slow down. When in doubt, I always believe in listening to your body. When you’re hungry, eat, when you’re thirsty, drink, when you’re tired, sleep. It truly communicates to you, all you have to do is listen.”
While this may sound like a rule of thumb, depriving yourself of occasional sweets will only discourage you. And when you’re feeling deprived and discouraged, you are ten times more likely to toss your diet out the window and splurge. “Exercising will keep the fat off,” says Allameh, “especially if you are sticking to a clean nutrition plan. Indulging a little every now and then is something I highly recommend.”
When you get right down to it, losing weight should be simple–diet and exercise. Doctors have been saying it for years. The only thing holding us back is the effort, dedication and time. Don’t be fooled by the myths–weight loss shouldn’t be easy or fast. Our health is certainly not a fad.