If you decide to lose weight you will find a lot of information available. There is advice in magazines and books, online, on TV and radio and most likely from friends with their very own no-fail diets. Knowledge is power, but it can also be total confusion.
How do you tell good from bad, or fact from fiction? Why did you get over weight in the first place and what can you do to avoid it in the future? Not easy, especially as some popular explanations for weight gain are not correct. There are a few which have been around so long they have nearly become folk law.
So what are the five top weight gain myths?
Carbohydrates make you fat and potatoes contain a lot of carbohydrates – so never eat potatoes. That seems quite straightforward, but we now know the body needs carbohydrates and they should not be cut out completely. As long as you eat high carbohydrate foods such as pasta, white rice and potatoes in moderation you will be fine. Do be careful with baked potatoes when served with cheese and a lot of butter, they will make you gain weight. But do not blame the potato.
Eat breakfast and you get fat, cut out breakfast and you cut out a lot of calories. So they say. The problem is you will start the day without much energy, and then mid morning find you really must have a large latté and an almond croissant. Of course a full English breakfast will make you put on weight. There is plenty of proof of that, but we all need a light breakfast before we start the day. There are many things you can eat without building up the calories. Two meals suggested by the British National Health Service are muesli, fresh fruit and low fat yoghurt or alternatively boiled egg with wholemeal toast and low fat spread. This gives an idea of the sort of thing you should be eating. Black coffee is best, but coffee with skimmed or semi skimmed milk will do no harm.
Never eat sausages, they contain saturated fats and preservatives and are really bad for you. That is the received wisdom and it is true that saturated fats are not as good as unsaturated fats. But research shows that saturated fats in moderate quantities can have beneficial effects. Do be careful, cook in vegetable oil and choose quality sausages with high meat content. Cheap sausages cooked in fat really are bad for you.
All fruit is good fruit; we must eat more of it. I would agree we must eat more fruit, but make sure it is the right kind. It is easy to forget the calories in fruit and a surprise when we find out. Dates are not often included in a list of best fruits, which is a good thing as a cup of dates contains a massive 460 calories. A medium banana, which is good for you, still has 105 calories and banana lovers know how easy it is to eat a lot of bananas. Grapes can be dangerous. The 114 calories in a cup of grapes is a consideration, but non-organic grapes are high in pesticides and should be avoided. The best fruit to eat is the good old apple, small, portable and weighing in at just 50 calories, it is hard to beat.
Fast weight loss diets
Lose weight fast and you will only put it back on again. Slow is the way to go. There is some truth in this, but it need not always be the case. If you must lose weight fast, for whatever reason, choose a fast weight loss plan which seems sensible. Keep it up for two or three weeks and then stop. You will probably have lost weight, then as predicted you will start to put weight back on again. This is nothing to do with the fast weight loss diet and everything to do with you going back to the old lifestyle which made you overweight in the first place. What you should do is go from your fast weight loss diet to a healthy diet with plenty of exercise. Your weight loss will slow down, but you will carry on losing weight until you reach your long term goal. Then you can slightly increase what you eat to maintain your weight at the desired level.
Weight loss advice changes as we learn more about how our bodies work. What was thought of as fact a while ago may not seem so certain today. It is apparent from these few popular myths that less healthy food does not do much harm if eaten in moderation. If you live on sausages you will gain weight but enjoying sausages, or one of the other less healthy foods, once a week will not be a disaster. Of course you do need to keep to a healthy diet for the other six days. Do this and not only will you lose weight, you can enjoy occasional treats as well.