Discover the common errors that stop you losing weight!
Can’t lose weight no matter how hard you try? You’re not alone! Many women find that despite their best efforts and the strictest discipline, they are still unable to shed those extra pounds.
But it turns out that the most common diet misconceptions could be the reason why we struggle to lose weight. The trouble is that we’ve been told certain diet facts’ for so many years, that they have now become part of our daily routine without actually questioning their effectiveness. But the truth is that so much of what dieticians and health experts preached years ago is actually not the best way to lose weight.
Whether that’s avoiding the wrong foods, going gluten or dairy-free to slim down, splurging at the weekend or sipping on ‘healthy’ diet fizzy drinks, it’s not easy knowing how to shed those unwanted pounds. In fact, dieting itself might be to blame! With so much information out there, is it any wonder that so many of us are confused and can’t lose weight?
But, before you give up on fitting in to those favourite jeans for good, read this. We’ve asked the experts and uncovered the most common diet myths and facts to help you cut through all the fuss and fanfare and kick start that weight loss. Armed with the real facts about dieting, you’ll have the tools to look and feel your best, and finally keep those extra pounds off for good! You’ll be amazed at some of these diet facts – number seven is a real shocker…
So if you think you can’t lose weight, think again. There’s no need to struggle to get back in shape, simply click through now to find out which changes you should make and get ready for a whole new you…
Myth: Fibre will make me feel bloated for the rest of the day
Myth: If I eat something unhealthy I should feel bad about it
Fact: Indulging is normal, and sometimes necessary!
Lets face it: it's not hard to be tempted by food when you're on a diet. However, indulging in the odd tasty and unhealthy treat doesn't make you a failure - it's actually normal.
'Forbidden' foods are often the most desirable ones, which of course leads to increased cravings. However, a study has shown that women who felt guilty about eating treats were less successful at losing weight over a three-month period than women who felt happy when splurging.
What really works: Allow yourself the odd treat without feeling guilty, and then get back on track with healthy eating!
Myth: Eating smaller chocolate sizes will help
Fact: Limiting food portions makes you feel hungrier
Whilst it is important to control your portion sizes, be aware that 'fun-size' chocolate bars or sweets can be very decieving. When faced with a bag full of treat-size portions, it can be all too tempting to eat even more than would be in a normal portion.
What really works: Limit yourself to just one small treat, or portion a serving from a larger package (because they can be just as decietful!)
Myth: Chewing gum will help to quell my hunger
Fact: Chewing gum before a meal leads to less healthy eating
Although there has been research finding that chewing gum can help your hunger, according to when you choose to chew, that theory may not always be relevant.
Minty chewing gum can tend to make acidic foods, like fruit, less tasty - resulting in us reaching for more unhealthy food instead.
What really works: Don't chew before a meal! Or if you do, try a fruity flavour instead.
Myth: Paying restaurant prices will mean you eat less
Fact: Dining out can actually cause weight gain
Having someone else prepare your food is always a treat, but restaurant meals typically contain more calories than homemade ones. Women who ate lunch out at least once a week lost an average of five pounds less over the course of a year, according to a recent study.
Scientists believe that not being in control of portion sizes can be a big factor in this weight gain - and of course those hidden ingredients!
What really works: If you do dine out a lot, check the restaurant's menu for nutritional information. Don't be afraid to ask for healthier modifications to your meal, such as a side salad.
Myth: Olive oil is the healthiest of all fats
Fact: Coconut oil is actually far healthier
We've long looked to the Mediterranean for a well-balanced diet based on all-natural ingredients like olive oil, but new research suggests we should be looking to the tropics - and loading up on coconut oil instead.
Scientists say the vitamin-laced saturated fat coconut oil contains is unlike that found in animal or vegetable fats because it protects from serious ailments like heart disease, while speading up the metabolism by removing stress on the pancreas to burn more energy.
What really works: Look for coconut oil in its purest form because many of the health benefits can be lost during heating. Organic Virgin Coconut Oil is cold-pressed so very high in the good fat, lauric acid.
Myth: That chocolate craving is guaranteed to ruin your diet.
Fact: Dark chocolate can actually stop you over-eating.
Could eating dark chocolate 20 minutes before and five minutes after that meal cut your appetite by up to 50 percent? A new book helpfully titled Eat Chocolate, Lose Weight says yes - but only if its a square the size of the end of your thumb. According to neuroscientist Will Clower, feeding that sweet tooth gives the body an antioxidant fix while keeping blood sugar levels steady enough to kickstart weight loss of up to 20lbs in just 8 weeks. Other studies suggest the comforting taste is enough to soothe stress too.
What really works: At least 70% cocoa chocolate - any less and the sugar/fat content is too high.
Myth: Alcohol is fattening
Fact: Studies have proven that drinking a moderate amount of alcohol prevents weight gain.
It's sounds too good to be true, but in an extraordinary new book to be published tomorrow, science writer Tony Edwards has revealed that alcohol doesn't make you fat. He cites a 2009 study of 20,000 women over 13 years. The results showed that those who drank 30 grams (roughly two medium glasses) of wine per day reduced their risk of being overweight by 70%! It's not the first study to prove it - there have been various over the past decade.
What really works: Scientists have yet to prove why alcohol isn't fattening. One theory suggests that our bodies aren't able to assimilate the energy in alcohol, as a result it just passes through our body without spiking our glucose levels - the stuff that makes us gain weight. However, this is only true of certain types of alcohol. On the glycaemic index, wine and spirits score a big fat zero, while beer actually charts off the scale with a whopping 119! Hence the beer belly look.
So if you're partial to a late evening tipple now and then, don't feel too guilty. Just remember to stick to no more than two medium glasses of wine each night.
Myth: Diets are the route to long-term weight loss
Fact: 90% of diets don't work
If you want to lose weight and keep it off, a rigid diet plan is not the best way to start. Although you may lose weight initially, most people can't face such a restricted menu forever - and it's downright unhealthy to cut out food groups altogether.
Yo-yo dieters actually gain weight over time, as your body reacts to deprivation by storing more fat and triggering hormones that actually make you hungrier.
What really works: A long-term switch to a healthy, balanced diet with reasonable portion sizes and five 30-minute exercise sessions a week. You'll be amazed how much more satisfying it is tucking into plenty of healthy food than tiny diet portions!
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Myth: Cutting out gluten will help you lose weight
Fact: Gluten-free products can be expensive and high in fat
If you suffer from diagnosed coeliac disease or a similar illness triggered by gluten, then avoiding gluten is essential for your health. Otherwise, cutting out gluten will do little for your waistline or the way you feel. Many gluten-free products such as bread or pasta are actually higher in calories, sugar, fat and salt than their counterparts. Plus, the nutrients in grain-carbohydrates which contain gluten are important to maintaining a healthy body.
What really works: Think you may be allergic? Don't self-diagnose. See your doctor.
Myth: Dairy products are high in fat so bad for you
Fact: Butter and milk are essential to a healthy diet and strong bones
Just like avoiding gluten, unless you're medically diagnosed as allergic to dairy or lactose, it's not a good idea to cut out this food group completely. Recent research suggests that there's little link between saturated fat (in small amounts) and heart disease. In fact, butter, milk, yoghurt and cheese is packed with nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy such as vitamin K and calcium for strong bones - essential as you age.
What really works: Eating dairy in moderation. Three to four portions is enough.
Myth: Avoiding breakfast forces your body to burn fat
Fact: Slim people eat breakfast; fat people don't
Your metabolism is at its highest first thing and decreases during the day - so breakfast is actually the worst meal to skip. Mid-morning hunger could also lead you to overeat, caving in and choosing fatty, high-calorie snacks before lunch.
What really works: Start the day with protein and healthy fats for a breakfast that will keep you full all morning - try eggs with smoked salmon or yoghurt with nuts and seeds.
Myth: Diet drinks have no calories so you can drink as many as you like
Fact: People who drink them are fatter than those who don't
A study that followed diet drinkers over a ten-year period found their waists grew by 70 per cent more than non-diet drinkers waistlines. Why? Artificial sweeteners are much sweeter than sugar, confusing your body into craving even more sweet food. In addition, processing artificial sweeteners can cause your body to lay down fat, and have a similar effect to real sugar on glucose and insulin levels.
What really works: Try to avoid 'empty' calories in sweet drinks altogether. If you are feeling real cravings drink fruit juice diluted with sparkling water, or sparkling water with fresh lime juice.
Myth: If you're good all week, you can treat yourself at weekends
Fact: Two days of drinking and junk food can undo all that good work
However 'good' you are during the week, any excess calories from weekend treats will sadly be turned into fat. Feeling like you're punishing yourself during the week, and splurging at weekends isn't good psychologically either - and if you feel compelled to overeat, it suggests your regular diet isn't satisfying you.
What really works: To avoid the temptation to binge, enjoy small amounts of what you fancy in the week - from a small glass of wine to a few squares of good quality chocolate. At the weekend, don't punish yourself if you overindulge - just go back to being healthy for your next meal, or schedule in a longer weekend walk.
Myth: I can eat as much healthy food as I like
Fact: It still has calories!
Natural treats packed with vitamins and minerals can be just as full of calories. Hummus, nuts and sweet potatoes are all culprits, along with processed 'healthy' snacks like cereal bars.
What really works: No matter how healthy, don't buy foods you can't resist - or go for snack size packets. Raw almonds and brazil nuts are much less tempting than peanuts.
Myth: The easiest way to get less fat is to eat less of it
Fact: Fat is filling and successful dieters get 30% of their daily calories from it
When dieters avoid fat, they are hungry all the time. As well as containing some vitamins, fat is very satiating - and there's a reason low-fat 'diet' alternatives don't hit the spot. When real fat is removed, something needs to be added to retain taste and texture - and it's usually empty calories by way of sugar and flour.
What really works: Choose full-fat yoghurt (especially Greek, which is higher in protein so keeps you satisfied for longer) and make sure you eat plenty of good fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids (there is evidence they actually help the body burn fat) found in oily fish, coconut oil, walnuts and flax seeds.
Myth: It's important to get your 5-a-day - it doesn't matter what they are
Fact: Fruit is full of vitamins, but calories and sugars too. Aim for three servings of vegetables to two of fruit.
Though undeniably good for you and packed with nutrients - and much better than chocolate for indulging a sweet craving - fruit is also high in calories and sugars.
What really works: Try to get your five a day mostly from vegetables with one or two pieces of fruit.
Myth: It's easier to just avoid food than burn off the calories
Fact: Exercise will make you fitter, healthier and happier
It may feel unfair how much gym time you need to put in to burn off that chocolate bar - but we promise it's worth it. Exercise allows you to up your daily calorie intake, and will also make your heart healthier, newly-slim body more toned and release mood-boosting endorphins. One session of exercise will also boost your metabolism for up to two days, helping you burn more calories long after you leave the gym.
What really works: A daily brisk 30-minute walk will burn up to 150 calories, give your body valuable Vitamin D and boost your mood
Myth: Carbs are the enemy!
Fact: Wholegrains and low GI carbohydrates keep you full for longer
Processed 'white' carbohydrates will set you on a rollercoaster of sugar highs and lows, it's true. But choose wholegrains like brown rice and low GI carbohydrates and they'll keep you feeling full for longer.
What really works: Eating the right carbs, in the right amount. The perfect portion of carbs is easy to remember - it's the size of your clenched fist.
Myth: The best way to kickstart a healthy diet is with a restrictive detox regime
Fact: Your body can 'detox' itself - that's what your liver and kidneys are for
A restrictive, liquid diet is not what your body needs! Not only will you go hungry and fall prey to cravings, it'll stop you having enough energy to exercise.
What really works: Simply switching to a healthy diet is enough - we promise. Your clever body will do the rest.
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