Dietitian Explained; Debunking Common Weight Loss Myths

DEBUNKING COMMON WEIGHT LOSS MYTHS

With countless of informations that’s accessible nowadays, you might have come across some weight loss myths along the way. As a hasty internet search might have led you to believing in unhealthy diet fads and quick fixes. 

In today’s socials, media’s that depicts unrealistic expectations are often based on one person’s testimony which is not generalisable to everyone. 

Ever come across Youtube videos promising instant results in a few weeks or even days? 

These weight loss myths will deter you from losing weight in a healthy and happy way, leaving you feeling more discouraged when you don’t see the results as promised. 

Fresher is here to debunk some common weight-loss myths to help you clear the doubts on how to take good care of your body in the right way. 

MYTH 1: I’LL DEFINITELY BECOME OBESE BECAUSE IT RUNS IN MY FAMILY

Obesity is a highly complex condition that is related to a mix of factors beyond just your genetics. Although genetics do play a role, genetics alone will not determine your physique, health, and behaviour.

It’s the combination of your lifestyle, environment, culture, mental health, and medical conditions which regulates your body weight. Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors.

1. GENETICS

Family studies found that children with obese parents are more likely to be obese compared with children whose parents are not obese.

The studies that involves twins found that hereditary factors do play a part in their BMI (Body mass index), their tendency to gain fat, and where in the body they store fat. They found that identical twins, who share similar genes has more similarities in these factors compared with fraternal twins or other pair of twins. 

Did you know?
Research has found some genes which are associated with obesity, such as those which control your appetite and metabolism.

 

However, it’s likely not due to a single gene that causes the obesity to run in the family. A single-gene that causes obesity to fun in the family is very rare and would usually cause severe obesity. 

To date, the extend to which obesity is determined by genetics is not yet fully known. It is also highly variable between and within different ethnicities. 

For the most part, obesity is the result of complicated interactions between numerous genes and environmental factors. It may seem that obesity ‘runs’ in your family, however, not only do you share similar genetics but also a similar living environment and potentially values surrounding food and physical activities which would make it more likely for you to be overweight. This shared environment is where you could make changes too, to reduce you and your family’s risk of developing obesity. 

2. AGE

As you age, it is normal to gain fat and lose muscle mass. This is due to changes in hormonal levels and being less active.

In order to preserve your muscle mass, adding and consumption of sufficient proteins in your meals is important. For instance, Fresher’s ‘Peking Duck Burrito’ in Egg Wrap contains 35g of proteins that are for muscle maintenance. 

3. LIFESTYLE

Compared to past centuries, the rapid rise of obesity you see in recent years can be explained by lifestyle changes in today’s modern way of living.

  1. Diet – if you’re consistently consuming an excess amount of calories, you’ll experience weight gain regardless of your genetics.
  2. Physical activity – moving less means that you are burning fewer calories throughout the day.
  3. Lack of sleep and stress – leads to changes in hormonal levels can lead to an increase in cravings, stress-eating, and tiredness so that you’ll be less motivated to be active.

4. ENVIRONMENT

Both the environment and people around you play a prominent role in shaping both your eating habits and lifestyle. Studies have shown that an ‘obesogenic’ environment encouraging excessive calorie intake and less physical activity promotes obesity. 

This includes:

  • Easy access to process and convenient food and drinks, which are heavily advertised by the media
  • Eating habits and culture of your family and friends
  • Increase in portion sizes
  • Technological advances leading to less physical activity
  • Increases in sedentary behaviours such as sitting for long periods

5. MENTAL HEALTH

Providing your body with good nutrition is key as it can have a positive impact on your mental health.

Poor mental health would translate to poorer physical health, with constantly feeling stressed out and obtaining eating disorders such as binge eating which could lead to weight gain and obesity.

6. MEDICAL CONDITIONS

Obesity is sometimes related to certain medical factors, such as:
1. Side-effects of certain medicines which may increase appetite
2. Medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes, Prader-Willi Syndrome

To conclude, there is more than one reason that could have caused obesity. Although you can’t change your genetics, you can definitely make changes in other areas such as your environment, diet, and physical activities which will help you with weight loss and weight management.

If weight loss is your goal, you can find out more about how you can use nutrition to kickstart your weight loss journey in our upcoming weight loss article here.

MYTH 2: MY FRIENDS EAT WHATEVER THEY WANT AND DON’T GAIN WEIGHT.
I DON’T EAT MUCH BUT I GAIN WEIGHT EASILY

Weight gain is caused by a surplus in calorie intake so when it comes to weight control, everyone have a different dietary requirements based on factors such as genetics, age, lifestyle and health conditions.

Your friend might have seem to have consumed a large amount(volume) of food compared to you but it may not be necessarily be high in calories. And on the flip, a small amount of food can be packed with a lot of calories. 

Food volume examples:

Based on the image above, unprocessed foods such as vegetables and fruits have a higher volume compared to processed food such as chocolate bar. Unprocessed foods are much more filling and satisfying compared to processed due to their high fibre and water content. 

Tip:

Some food that is deemed as ‘healthy’ may actually be high in calories, consume them in moderation and be mindful of your portion sizes.

Guidelines when purchasing foods that are deemed as ‘healthy’.

  • Fruit smoothies – commercial blends are often loaded with sugars rivaling or even trumping the sugar content of typical soft drinks
  • Granola and energy bars – check the nutrition label before purchasing, as they’re often loaded with sugars and fats
  • Nut butter – they are a great source of nutrients, but don’t overdo them – 1 tablespoon of peanut butter contains nearly 100 calories
  • Salad dressings – creamy dressings can pack lots of calories and fat – 1 tablespoon of Caesar salad dressing contains 78 calories and 8.5 grams of fat

If you are looking to reduce your caloric intake, it’s not necessary to have to eat a tiny amount of food. You can still fill up on your nutritious, high-volume foods to feel satisfied while being mindful about what kind of food you are consuming.

MYTH 3: I CAN JUST DO A WORKOUT CHALLENGE AND GET SLIM IN 2 WEEKS

This myth carries a lot of misleading and unhealthy assumptions.

Firstly, a short-term workout challenge cannot magically eliminate your body fat instantly. In order to lose body fat, you’ll need to be in a caloric deficit – whereby your output is more than your input.

If you’re still consuming more calories than you burn, it’ll be harder to lose body fat.

Secondly, losing weight too quickly without ample amount of nutrition would do you body harm as you’ll mostly be losing muscle mass and water weight which would result in weakening of strength and might be at risk of dehydration and nutrient deficiencies.

If you are following an intense workout challenge, ensure to keep your body nourished with the right amount of nutrients for muscle growth and recovery, otherwise, your body will break down your muscles for fuel. As proteins and carbs are being used as energy during your workout, it is especially important to have your Pre-workout meals for optimum performance and Post-workout meals for muscle recovery after the workout.

To conclude, it is healthier in the long run to have a gradual weight loss through overall lifestyle changes compared to a short-term weight loss.

Changing your lifestyle and habits will increase your chances. of keeping the weight off long term. You can start off with one workout challenge which is a good start to up your activity levels but unless you’re consistent, it wouldn’t produce long-lasting results. 

MYTH 4: I DON’T NEED A DIET. I CAN EAT WHATEVER I WANT AS LONG AS I WORK OUT

It is impossible to out-train a bad diet. With poor eating habits, you can easily gain them back after a workout as it takes more effort to burn off calories by exercising compared to having to eat fewer calories. 

For example, you’ll need to do a 30-minute run or an hour’s worth of long walk to burn off a chocolate mars bar. 

Exercising is important for your overall health but so is the consumption of foods with proper nutrition, these two work hand in hand for both your health and weight loss.

The absence of proper nutrition and over-exercising can lead to inflammation and injury, affecting your muscle growth and recovery. However, you don’t have to be afraid to cut out some calories as small changes could make a big difference.

Eating healthily can be enjoyable and it would also improve your mood. Fresher Performance Meals are designed to be enjoyable, hassle-free, and effective for you. 

TO CONCLUDE, IS DIET OR EXERCISE MORE EFFECTIVE?

A study comparing diet to exercise to diet-plus-exercise programs for weight loss in obese subjects found that diet-plus-exercise resulted in the greatest weight and fat loss. Comparing diet-only to exercise-only, diet produced a significantly greater weight loss. Researchers found that diet-plus-exercise programs were better maintained in the long-term compared to diet-alone.

So, combining a healthy diet with regular exercise is the best approach to long-term weight loss, and will bring you the most health benefits.

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Tailored Meal Plan

5 · Day
1500 kcal for Weight Loss

Tailored Meal Plan

5 · Day
2400 kcal for Muscle Building

Bundles

10 x Essential Low-Carb

10 x Essential Workout

Mix & Match

Low Carb

High Carb

Keto-Friendly

Just Proteins

Breakfast