We've all been there. You've cut out junk food, stopped the snacking and spend every spare minute in the gym, but you still aren't seeing any results on the scales. Sound familiar? We've spoken to Dr. Michelle Braude, doctor and nutritionist and founder of The Food Effect about some of the common dieting myths she encounters regularly in her clinic and on social media, and how these could be preventing individuals from reaching their desired, healthy weight.
1. Myth: Skipping meals will help with weight loss
You might think you're being virtuous by skipping meals or even going from lunch to dinner without snacking at all, but allowing yourself to get too hungry is notconducive to weight loss explains Michelle. Why? Because when you're ravenous two things happen. Firstly, anything and everything looks and tastes delicious. Secondly, it takes much more food to feel satisfied. As a result, you end up eventually eating a lot more, and not necessarily making particularly healthy choices.
2. Myth: Everyone should go gluten-free
Unless you have coeliac disease or an intolerance to gluten, there is no advantage to going gluten-free, explains Michelle. Any weight loss that occurs from going on a gluten-free diet is likely to be because you've cut the cake, bread and biscuits from your diet, and that you're eating fewer calories than usual - not because you've cut out gluten.
Eliminating food groups unnecessarily can lead to nutritional deficiencies, and subsequent health problems. If weight loss is your goal, it's much better to focus on your portion sizes instead.
3. Myth: Healthy food won't make you gain weight
It is essential to understand that just because a particular food is deemed 'healthy', does not mean that it can be eaten in unlimited quantities. Even if you stick to consuming only healthy foods such as nuts, hummus, avocado, olive oil and dark chocolate, it is still important to watch your portion sizes if weight loss is your goal, explains Michelle.
For example, whilst there are many benefits in consuming a little olive oil, if you pour it liberally over your pasta and dip your bread in it, it will lead to excessive calories and eventual weight gain. The same goes for nuts - learn what a normal serving size looks like (it's very easy to eat the whole big bag!) and portion out accordingly.
4. Myth: Carbs make you fat
Cutting out carbs completely from your diet may lead to weight loss at first, but it is not sustainable, nor healthy, and you'll end up very quickly feeling tired, lethargic, cranky and irritable, warns Michelle.
You will also gain back the weight (and sometimes more) the minute you start eating 'normally' again. Rather than vilifying all carbs, eat the right ones. These include wholegrain unrefined carbohydrates such as wholegrain or rye bread, quinoa, wholewheat pasta, brown rice, sweet potatoes and oats. These are all great sources of fibre (a very low carb diet is almost always accompanied by the nasty side effect of constipation), and packed full of a variety of other vitamins and minerals.
5. Myth: Going 'fat-free' will help with weight loss
Your body needs good sources of fat in the diet to burn fat, stresses Michelle. This means ensuring that you eat plenty of healthy, unsaturated fats found in nuts, seeds, peanut butter, avocado and olive oil. These fats have multiple health benefits, and add satiety to food (they fill you up!). They are proven to lower the risk of heart disease, and aid the body in the absorption of vitamins and minerals. Incorporate them daily into your diet in moderate amounts to feel fuller and more satisfied, helping you lose weight and keep it off for good.
6. Myth: Exercise is the key to weight loss
Whilst exercise is fantastic and essential for health, it needs to be accompanied by a good, healthy diet for weight loss to be achieved, explains Michelle. As any personal trainer will tell you; "you can't out-train a bad diet" and "abs are made in the kitchen!" Exercise can also serve to increase your appetite, and so it's important that you're mindful of this, and re-fuel properly after a workout.
From Harper's Bazaar UK