This time of the year, many of us wonder how to lose weight quickly. Is there one diet that is more effective than others? Is there an exercise that specifically targets belly fat? We take a look at five misconceptions about losing weight.
Fact or fiction? To lose weight you need to:
Cut down on carbs (bread, pasta, potatoes): Fiction
But keep in mind that it’s never a good idea to eliminate a whole food group from your diet. In fact, a variety of foods provides you with the nutrients you need to stay healthy and happy and will make eating an enjoyable activity. That said, carbs such as bread, pasta and potatoes (among others) are not all created equal. On the one hand, whole-grain cereals and tubers with the skin still on, cooked with only a small amount of fat, can be filling and provide your body with the energy it needs because they contain both carbohydrates and fibre. On the other hand, processed baked goods (e.g., white bread, white pasta, ready-made muffins, etc.) will increase your blood-sugar level and won’t make you feel full for long – which isn’t great for your waistline.
What should you do then? Eat meals that contain lots of legumes, a source of protein (the size of your palm) and a small amount (1/4 of your plate at the most) of whole grains or unprocessed tubers, such as oven-baked sweet potatoes.
Focus on cardio, not strength: Fiction
In theory, to lose weight you need to burn more calories than you consume. To this end, cardio workouts are a good choice because running on a treadmill does require a lot of energy. The reality is that exercising is a bit more complex. Even if you include cardio in your workout, you might be surprised to learn that strength-training exercises are a great way to lose weight. In fact, the bigger your muscles, the higher your basal metabolic rate. Obviously, no matter what exercise you do, moving is ALWAYS beneficial for your health. Also, if you’re looking to lose a few kilos, remember that exercise stimulates the appetite, but you need to consume fewer calories than you burn. If you don’t, you won’t lose weight. Watching what you eat is the key to success!
Avoid snacking between meals: Fiction
But, when it comes to nutrition, no rule is absolute. Everything always depends on everything else. Even though you shouldn’t snack reflexively (e.g., going through a bag of chips while you binge watch your favourite show), a sensible snack can help you hold out until your next meal or help you get the most out of your workout. Listen to your hunger and reach for snacks that contain protein and complex carbohydrates, two nutrients that will boost your energy level. Here are a few options: Greek yogurt and fruit, hummus and crudités, low-fat cheese and whole-grain crackers, etc.
Starve yourself to jump-start the process: Fiction
Whatever you do, stop thinking of your body as a rusty machine that desperately needs to be “cleansed” with pills or by extreme methods! Have faith in your body’s ability to detox on its own! Not only does your body get rid of toxins naturally, but strict calorie restriction and most extreme diets prevent you from maintaining your weight loss over the long term. To avoid yo-yo dieting, aim for slow yet steady weight loss, approximately one to two pounds a week. Consume unprocessed foods, listen to your hunger and find a physical activity you love!
Only watch what you eat: Fiction
A big “no!” to this one. What you drink can also increase the number of calories you consume every day. And drinks won’t quell your hunger. Liquid calories are not your friend when you’re looking to slim down. Plain or flavoured water, tea or black coffee are better options than soft drinks, alcohol or fruit juice – even if they’re organic or cold-pressed.
That said, the truth is that there is no secret to losing weight quickly. The best way to manage your weight is to keep eating healthy, exercising regularly and, most importantly, applying EFFORT CONSISTENTLY. To stay motivated and follow your progress, create a profile on MonBrunet and try the Health Active Challenge to help you meet your goals!
1. Kraemer WJ, Ratamess NA, French DN. Resistance training for health and performance. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2002 Jun;1(3):165-71. Review. PubMed PMID: 12831709. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12831709
2. Grignoter intelligemment, Extenso, http://www.extenso.org/article/grignoter-intelligemment/ (visited December 20, 2016).
3. 5 bonnes raisons de ne pas suivre une diète amaigrissante, Extenso, http://www.extenso.org/article/5-bonnes-raisons-de-ne-pas-suivre-une-diete-amaigrissante/ (visited December 20, 2016).
4. Les bonbons liquides, Extenso, http://www.extenso.org/article/les-bonbons-liquides/ (visited December 20, 2016).
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