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Frequently Asked Questions And Myths About Weight Loss And Fitness

Most people have many concepts, not all of them correct, as well as queries, regarding health and slimming. We will discuss some of the most common of them here.

Answer: Losing weight healthily is all about living healthy. It is not about any temporary treatment. Whenever you try to lose weight on temporary commercial treatments, you are bound to regain weight if at all you lose any. If you truly wish to slim down and become healthy for a life time, you have to accept a healthy lifestyle inclusive of excellent nutrition, proper exercises and adequate rest and become happy and peaceful. You have to live this lifestyle for a life time. If you do this, there is going to be no regain of weight. If you don’t, you will go back to square one.

Truth: No! Crunches, sit ups and any other abdominal exercises will tone up your abdominal wall muscles. They cannot selectively reduce fat from the abdominal area. Fat loss occurs only when you eat fewer calories than you burn and fat loss is always generalized, i.e. it is spread all over the body. Hundreds of crunches and sit ups can cause abdominal muscle tears, hernias, prolapsed disks, haemorrhoids (piles) amongst other complications. It would be highly unwise to do hundreds of repetitions of abdominal exercises in order to lose paunch.

Answer: No! Spot reduction is a myth. We have already seen that fat loss is always generalized. ‘Abdomen only’, ‘thighs only’ kind of programs will tone up your specific area muscles, but will not slim down those areas selectively. Here again, repeating these exercises hundreds or a thousand times, can damage not only the muscles, but also the concerned joints.

Expensive programs, actually using inexpensive electrical machines, to vibrate your muscles, promising you slimming without exercising, can neither tone up your muscles, nor give you spot reduction. These machines cost next to nothing! A single station machine of this kind costs no more than Rs. 3000/-! You might as well buy such a machine yourself and fail at home rather than pay tens of thousands for such bogus programs!

Answer:Either your exercise is not right or you are not eating right. Focusing exclusively on strength training or floor exercises to the exclusion of cardiovascular exercise may not be enough to lose weight.

If you are getting enough cardiovascular exercise, even as simple as walking, and still not losing weight, it means you are not eating right.

Answer: No, sleeping in the afternoon does not necessarily make you fat!

Each time you have a meal, same as after each session of exercise, your body tends to burn a few more calories for every activity, though less than after exercise.

During sleep, your body burns the fewest calories.

So if you sleep immediately after a meal, whether lunch or dinner, your body tends to conserve calories, instead of burning more. So you will tend to put on weight if you sleep immediately after any meal, not just after lunch.

So always stay active for some time after any meal, before you go to bed!

Answer: No! Honey will undoubtedly have its own ayurvedic medicinal properties, but it does not have any power to induce weight loss. No food has such powers.

You could drink warm water with lime and honey every morning if it makes you feel better and it helps you have good bowel movement, but it isn’t going to slim you down.

Weight for weight, honey is only a little lower in calories than sugar. It is much less sweeter than sugar. If honey is used as sweetener, you would require larger quantities of honey than sugar for the same amount of sweetness, giving you more calories than sugar would.

Answer: Skimmed milk will not make you fat. If you are careful enough to properly skim the milk you consume, milk will provide wonderful nutrition. It provides excellent quality proteins and various vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, D, B complex and calcium, although there is some loss of fat soluble vitamins A and D when you remove the cream.

Whole milk, on the other hand, contains fats and provides more calories. It is also a source of cholesterol. Thus it will contribute to weight gain and also add to your cardiac risk.

Truth: No! Many, especially, sunflower and safflower seed oil producers declare on their labels, very conspicuously, that their oil is 97 or 98% ‘saturated fat free‘. This does not mean ‘fat free’! What it means is that the oil is composed of 2 or 3% ‘saturated fatty acids’ and the rest 97 or 98% are ‘polyunsaturated’ and ‘monounsaturated fatty acids’. This label is only a sales gimmick. Actually all oils are 100% fats and supply 45 Calories (i.e. kilo calories) per teaspoon (5 grams).

Truth: No! All vegetables oils are zero-cholesterol. No vegetable source food has cholesterol. Only fats of animal origin have cholesterol.

None the less, consumption of excessive amounts of oils (and especially more saturated fatty acid rich foods) will lead to the body building excessive cholesterol on its own. That is a risk you run even when you are a pure vegetarian.

Answer: Yes! Whole milk has cholesterol. Skimmed milk has very little cholesterol. So there is no harm in drinking skimmed milk.

Answer: The overweight people are quintessential optimists! They are ever on the lookout for a revolutionary, new therapy that will help them to slim down miraculously, without any efforts. Eating sensibly and exercising regularly are after all far tougher than eating or drinking some magic powder or drink!

Exactly this weakness of the overweight people is exploited by the unscrupulous programs to offer nonsense therapies backed by false claims of some research in some distant country. These are plain lies. The arguments put forth appear thoroughly scientific and persuasive, but are bogus. The sources quoted are either non-existent, or are completely unaware authorities, who have no idea that they are being wrongly quoted in a country thousands of kilometers away.

Various products like a special tea or a coffee containing some rare mineral, the deficiency of which is said to be responsible for obesity, are sold in the market. Products containing the juice of hundreds of some common fruit concentrated in a single capsule are also sold as a magic pill for slimming. Highly enterprising and imaginative people will always find new gimmicks to lure you into shelling out thousands of rupees for plain rubbish treatments.

The food packs replacing meals is just another gimmick to convince you that you are getting all the right nutrition from the pack and that there is no need for you to eat a regular meal. This is an absolute lie! Without the pack it would be difficult to extract money from you and also convince you to miss one or more meals. You cannot escape the ill effects of starvation on such programs.

Truth: Sugar is nearly hundred percent carbohydrate, obviously bad for diabetics. Jaggery, also made from the same sugarcane juice, is ninety-five per cent carbohydrate, although it contains iron because it is made in iron cauldrons, is almost as bad for diabetics.

Diabetics don’t need jaggery to provide them iron, the wheat and vegetables, especially leafy vegetables and red meat, if they are non-vegetarians, can provide them all the iron they need!

Answer: Some allopathic drugs like orlistat, a gastrointestinal lipase inhibitor that acts by inhibiting the absorption of dietary fats are supposed to help weight loss in association with a low calorie diet.

But it has its own side effects and the presence of all the fat in your food in your stools, makes them very offensive. So patients are advised to eat food with little fat in it. But if you ate low fat food, you wouldn’t need the drug in the first place. And if you were to eat low calorie food, you would lose weight anyway!

Homeopathic or ayurvedic medicines have no powers to slim you. The programs using these medicines argue that these medicines correct your metabolism and hence they solve your weight problem permanently, allowing you eat as much as you want while you slim down. In reality all they do is starve you by prescribing a low calorie diet. This is done because they know very well that their medicines are nothing but a hoax.

Do not fall for such programs.

Truth: Untrue. Exercise raises body temperature. Sweating lowers body temperature. That is why we sweat more during exercise. Thus our body maintains its normal temperature. But sweating is by no means proportionate to calorie burning. Some people sweat more than others. One sweats more in hot and humid climate even without exercise. People losing weight quickly do not necessarily sweat a lot and those sweating a lot do not necessarily lose weight quickly. Thus it should be clear that sweating more does not necessarily cause more weight loss.

Truth: Such fluctuations are invariably due to water balance fluctuations and never fat. You can never gain or lose fat suddenly, all day or within a day or two as it happens during periods or ovulation.

You need to eat 9000 Calories (kilocalories) in excess of your daily needs to gain one kg or burn 7000 Calories in excess of our normal calorie burning, or consume 7000 Calories less than you need, to lose one kg weight.

In real terms, 9000 Calories are equivalent to eating 50 medium size chapatis and 7000 Calories to running for 7 hours!

You can never eat 9000 Calories or burn 7000 in a few hours, to gain or lose one kg weight suddenly, can you?

So don’t let your slimming program or gym instructor bully you the next time you show a little weight gain in a single day! It isn’t fat!

Truth: No! Older generation health clubs dealing in slimming treatments do not allow you to drink water during or after exercise. This is because they want to show you some weight loss after the workout. So they weigh you before and after the workout every day, which is ridiculous. They are also blissfully ignorant of the dangers of dehydration.

You do not actually lose any fat doing weights and floor exercises for one hour at these gyms. You only lose water. In fact, when you go home and drink water, you regain whatever weight you had lost during exercise because of sweating.

It is vital that you drink as much water as you lose through sweating during the workout. It is essential that you drink water before, during and after the workout.

Water is essential both for preventing dehydration during exercise as well as for proper fat metabolism. Whatever excess water you may drink, the kidneys will be throwing out of your body anyway. So do not worry about drinking water. In fact make sure to drink plenty of water, all the more so if you exercising. After all, what you want to lose is fat, not water!

Water is vital to life. Water is vital to health. Don’t let anybody convince you otherwise.

Truth: Fruit juices usually require fruits in larger quantities than you would normally consume at one sitting. A glass of orange or sweet lime juice would require at least four fruits, amounting to about 200 Calories. Even a couple of teaspoons of sugar would give you an additional 40 Calories. You would need to walk at least about 50 to 60 minutes to burn all those calories. The fruit juice is also devoid of the fibre which is such a valuable constituent of those fruits. The glycemic index of the juice also is high, and the blood sugar level climbs quickly. This can help your weight to go up unless those calories are burnt by physical activity.

Heat developed in the juicer while extracting the juice and standing the juice for a while  before consuming it, destroys much of the Vitamin C present in the fruits.

Thus it is far better to eat fresh fruits than drink juices.

Answer: Most people are confused about paneer, as they keep reading or hearing conflicting information about paneer.

Many wonder why if milk is healthy, paneer isn’t?

Yes, both milk and paneer are healthy.

All you need to remember is that home made paneer made from skimmed milk is full of most of the goodness of milk, including all the protein and calcium present in milk, while full cream commercial paneer has all the goodness of milk, plus all the fat and most of the cholesterol and fat soluble vitamins that are present in whole milk.

Obviously full cream paneer is also higher in calories than paneer made from skim milk.

Frying makes both kinds of paneer bad for health.

So you can eat home made paneer made from skim milk without frying it, even if you are watching your weight, but should avoid full cream commercial paneer.

Read more about milk nutrition in the article ‘Magical Health Benefits Of Milk‘ on this website.

Also read the articles the ‘Basics Of Nutrition‘, the ‘Science Of Exercise‘ and the ‘Simple Steps To Slimming‘ on this website. All our contact details are available on the ‘Contact Us’ page of this website.