Weight loss is a common goal for a lot of people, but one that is difficult to achieve. There are many trends and misconceptions related to weight loss, that often lead to dead ends. When starting a journey like this, do it how you want too and do whatever you feel works best for you!

There are a lot of myths that you’ll hear when you start a weight loss journey, here are a few to look out for:

1) Carbs are bad for you

Another diet that people tend to do is completely cut out carbs altogether. They are literally deemed the diet devil, and people assume they lead to weight gain. This is false, Jim White a dietitian  says ”cutting out carbs altogether can actually make you gain weight because you’re missing out on filling fibre, which has been proven to help you slim down.” Cutting carbs completely from your diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies, increased risk of health problems, and low energy levels.

Carbs like sweet potatoes, multi-grain bread, fruits, and vegetables are healthier carbs that should be opted for if you’re dieting.

2. Drastically cut calories to loose weight quickly

Just like how juice cleanses will deprive you of valuable calories and macro nutrients, going on a super low-calorie diet will set you up for failure rather than helping you drop the pounds. It can lead to to numerous nutritional deficiency as the body is getting less food overall, but it can also have the opposite effect on weight loss. Instead of cutting calories, which can cause your body to loose muscle mass and decrease the rate of your metabolism, stick to a healthy caloric intake (usually around 1,200-1,800 calories depending on nutritional needs) be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruit, veg, lean protein and complex carbs.

Don’t ever deprive yourself of calories when you need them, just make sure they’re healthy. Don’t go from eating 1,800 to below 1,000 because you want to loose weight quicker, thats not healthy.

3. Fat-free foods are a must

Fat-free and low-fat food options often contain just as many calories as their full-fat counterparts, and generally, contain additives and sugars. Having these types of foods could mean that we’re more likely to overeat the products, because we feel like they’re not bad for us and are labelled as ‘healthy.’ Most likely they’re ‘fat free’ but they can often be filled with sugar, more then the full fat versions, just remember just because they’re classed as ‘diet’ foods they aren’t necessarily good for you.

It goes for a lot of diet drinks too, just because they say they’re ‘zero’ sugar and calories, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re. They most likely will have added in sweeteners and preservatives that are just as unhealthy.

4. Weight loss and fat loss go hand in hand

Fat loss and weight loss are not the same and some people fail to realise this. Just because the scales have gone down does not necessarily mean you’ve lost body fat, it’s most likely water weight. Weight loss can be attributed to water loss, muscle loss, fat loss or sometimes a combination of the three.

A combination of resistance training and cardio is the most effective way to maximise fat loss. As muscle mass increases, there’s a chance to maintain or loose very little weight as muscle is more dense than fat, yet fat mass and overall body fat percentages will likely decrease.

Any weight loss or fat loss is positive, but just don’t feel disheartened with the scales. Sometimes, even though they’re going up, it doesn’t mean that you’re not loosing fat.

5) Diet pills or surgery are your only options

A lot of people turn to dangerous dieting pills and surgery in an attempt for a ‘quick fix.’ But the truth is, these methods can be risky and don’t always do what you expect. Diet pills are at best ineffective and are harmful for your health. Some weight loss pills can disrupt your heart rhythm, raising your blood pressure, and even seizures.

Weight-loss surgery, including gastric bypass, can be incredibly successful. But they can have serious health risks such as infection, blood clots, and lung or breathing problems. Plus, sometimes after the surgery you can regain the weight.

6) You can spot reduce

For many looking at starting a fitness journey hope to loose weight in one area of their body such as stomach, arms or legs. While we can work to tone muscles in a specific area through resistance training, unfortunately in terms of weight loss, we can’t just pick which areas we want to loose from or which areas we want to stay the same.

You can loose weight overall by eating the right foods and incorporating some exercise, but there is no telling the fat where it can shed from.

7) You can out-exercise a bad diet 

No amount of cardio and crunches can sculpt a sleek physique if you maintain an unhealthy diet. It can be difficult to accurately calculate the calories you’re taking in, much less determine the amount of exercise necessary to counterbalance them. Anything in moderation is a better option. Opt for healthier foods and regular exercise versus performing long, very intense workouts in order to eat what you want all of the time.

So don’t think because you’re constantly working out daily and burning loads of calories does that mean you can eat badly, because thats not the case. Even though exercise helps with weight loss and making you healthier, putting bad foods into your body, will make you feel more exhausted when it comes to working out.

The best option is to exercise and eat healthy everyday, to achieve a healthier weight loss.

Don’t forget with loosing weight, you won’t see results immediately, this is completely normal. However, when you do start to see the differences, you will be more motivated to carry on and it will make you feel like your time hasn’t been wasted.

So don’t forget, don’t take supplements or harm your health, exercise is great but don’t go overboard, eating healthy is a must but allow yourself a little treat every now and then and most of all be proud of how far you’ve come.

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Journalism student