In this article, I’ll talk about several myths and analyze them to give to the general population some idea on how being overweight is perceived in today’s society. These myths revolve around diets and how they work. To eradicate obesity is to simply keep a good exercise regimen in your daily lifestyle. I could have written this article on one page. However, this solution is not easily applicable by most Americans. We are all waiting for the medical drugs that will make us lose the weight without any effort, not requiring any exercise, and which will allow us to eat anything we want in any quantity.Myth 1. Being overweight is unhealthy. This is nonsense. Being overweight may be unfashionable but it’s not necessarily unhealthy.
The truth: Being overweight is not unhealthy, indeed there is evidence that people who are up to 15 pounds overweight actually live longer than those of normal weight. It is only when we become seriously overweight or ‘obese’ (i.e. more than 30 pounds overweight) that our health begins to suffer. Another important factor is how we carry our excess weight. For example, an obese man who carries his excess weight around his middle is more vulnerable to disease than an obese man whose excess weight is distributed more evenly.
Myth 2. Dieting doesn’t work.
This is probably the biggest myth of all. Losing weight is a very scientific matter. If we eat fewer calories than we use, our body takes some of our stored fat and converts it into energy. Result? We lose weight.
The truth: Any diet, whose eating plan provides us with fewer calories than we need, is guaranteed to help us lose weight. However, whether we follow it or not is up to us.
Myth 3. Losing weight means eating less.
We are all brainwashed into thinking that losing weight or dieting means eating less. Nevertheless, it’s not true. Why not? Because some foods contain a lot more calories than others. For example, one small pastry can be higher in calories than a whole plateful of chicken, potatoes and vegetables.
The truth: Losing weight means eating fewer calories than we need. However, by choosing foods that are low in calories, we can lose weight without eating less. In fact, sometimes we can actually eat more of the right food without gaining any weight.
Myth 4. Some diets can help us lose weight from specific parts of our body.
This is absolute nonsense.
The truth: When we start a weight loss plan by eating fewer calories than we need, our body burns fat from all available fat stores, not just from particular parts. We cannot control this process. If a diet claims to help you lose weight from your thighs only, don’t believe it!
Myth 5. Some people are fat although they eat next to nothing.
It’s true that we may gain weight even though we don’t seem to eat very much. Why? Because each of us uses up calories at a slightly different rate. In addition, certain foods are very calorie-dense. So even though we eat like a sparrow, we can still weigh like a hippo! In addition, many studies suggest that when we are overweight, we tend to underestimate our food intake.
The truth: Unless we have a specific medical condition, the reason we become overweight is that we are eating more calories than we use. The unused calories are then stored as fat.
Myth 6. Certain foods or combinations of food can help us burn fat.
Many diets claim that certain foods (e.g. pineapple, grapefruit etc.), or food combinations (e.g. beetroot & ice-cream etc.) have a magic fat-burning ingredient. Other experts promote fat-burning diets.
The truth: There are no magical fat-burning foods or diets.
Myth 7. People are overweight because they don’t exercise.
It’s certainly true that lack of exercise is a contributory factor to a general weight gain. However, in light of the fact that you need to walk 80 kilometers (50 miles) to lose 1 pound of fat, it’s clear that exercise (or lack of it) does not have a big direct influence on our weight.
The truth: The single biggest cause of obesity is bad eating habits. The majority of people become overweight simply because they eat too many fattening foods. Exercise is important for our health and for its indirect effects on our weight. However, unless we also eat sensibly, the effect of exercise on our weight is much reduced.
The American Dietetics Association web site provides information on eating healthy: http://www.eatright.org