The 5 Big Dieting Lies

or what not to do when you want to lose weight

The Five Big weight loss Lies

Lie no 1.

When you diet you lose surplus fat

The first source to which the body turns for energy is glycogen. Glycogen is a complex carbohydrate that is stored in the body. 65% of it is stored in skeletal muscles; the rest is in the liver. So when the body is short of calories (which is a circumstance that diets are designed to create) it gets the missing calories from muscle tissue and the liver.

When glycogen is almost depleted, then, and only then, does the body turn to metabolise fat stores in fatty tissue. At this point you've lost a great deal of muscle and probably shrunk your liver.

Because muscle is very much denser than fat you clearly lose weight, but body shape doesn't change quickly because there is not much loss of volume. And let's face it, changing body shape is the reason most of us diet. If we all weighed 300lbs but looked fantastic no one would bother trying to lose weight.

So rememberů

Dieting burns muscle not fat

"The more we endure cycles of dieting, the more our bodies become trained to seek out food, slow down vital functions and conserve body fat. In the forest, sweetness was nature's way of telling early humans that fruit was safe to eat."

"In evolutionary terms, the human body cannot distinguish between dieting and famine. We are hard-wired to respond to the threat of an insecure food supply by retaining body fat rather than burning it off, just as camels are biologically designed to store fat in humps to survive forays in the desert."

Geoffrey Cannon author of Dieting Makes You Fat

Lie no 2

Being in a club with other fatties helps

When we have a problem, it's comforting to know that others have the same problem. Not that we wish harm on others, but it can be really comforting to know that you are not alone.

So joining a group of other people with the same problem seems to make sense. But look at this from a different perspective.

What you are doing is surrounding yourself with people who don't know how to fix it any more than you do. It's a bit like jumping into the deep end of a swimming pool along with a load of drowning people hoping one of them will save you.

If they are in the weight club with you, they don't have a solution. If this is their fifth time round, and they seem quite experienced, then what they are experienced with is failing to successfully stay slim. Can you really rely on their advice?

Lie no 3

You are out of control and need controlling

You are fat because you, and your eating, are out of control. The only way to fix this problem is by exerting strict control over what you eat with a diet.

Here's a story about the difference between control over your own destiny and someone else exerting that control over you.

Some researchers decided to do a study on morphine use in hospitals.

What they found out was very surprising. It seems that a patient who is allowed to medicate herself with morphine (so she is totally in control of its administration) requires significantly less morphine to control her pain than a patient who is totally dependent on the doctor to decide amount and frequency. Isn't that fascinating? I found it interesting on two points. The first because it supported the idea I was exploring of pain being able to be influenced by thought, and the second was that knowing relief is available whenever you want it actually frees something up so that less pain is experienced.

With a diet someone else is in charge of your pain medication - so you are going to want more of it.

When you decide that you will control the medication, i.e. food, then you will eat less of it. As long as your intention is to lose weight.

Lie no 4

Fats are bad

Fats are essential to good health. Fats are essential to make food palatable. Fat that is ingested is not necessarily the source of body fat. Your body turns any excess calories into fat. If you eat a lot of calories and very little fat, you will still put on weight. The recommendation is that one fifth to one third of your calorie intake comes from fats.

Even saturated fat is no longer the enemy it once was.

Sugar is the real enemy

If you want an enemy to fight, then that enemy is sugar. Sweetened foods leave you unsatisfied and craving more. Fat is what we need in our meals to feel sated. But when you want to lose weight you are guided towards low fat foods. Fat makes food palatable. Take out the fat and you have to replace it with sugars and salts - otherwise it is inedible.

If it's freshly made from wholesome ingredients then it's probably good for you and will help you to reduce overeating. If you bought it in a packet - ready to eat - then it will make you fat.

Lie no 5

You can lose weight through exercise

In order to lose just one pound of body fat, you need to run from Leeds to Nottingham (around 80 miles) according to Prof Paul Gateley of the Carnegie weight management institute in Leeds.

Two doughnuts = 2 hours of cycling.

Studies "have demonstrated no or modest weight loss with exercise alone" and that "an exercise regimenů is unlikely to result in short-term weight loss beyond what is achieved with dietary change." Mayo Clinic

An additional problem is that when you exercise a lot, it makes you hungry and you eat more so you still need to restrict calorie intake.

Am I suggesting that exercise is a waste of time - well yes of course I am - but only with regard to weight loss. Exercise not only keeps your body fit and healthy, it also builds lean muscle which in turn boosts your metabolic rate.

Exercise is good for you, but it won't help you lose weight.

There's another, more insidious, problem with pinning all your hopes for a holiday body on exercise. In what has become a defining experiment at the University of Louisiana, led by Dr Timothy Church, hundreds of overweight women were put on exercise regimes for a six-month period. Some worked out for 72 minutes each week, some for 136 minutes, and some for 194. A fourth group kept to their normal daily routine with no additional exercise.

Against all the laws of natural justice, at the end of the study, there was no significant difference in weight loss between those who had exercised - some of them for several days a week - and those who hadn't. Some of the women even gained weight.

Don't forget to check out the next video in this weight loss series.

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