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5 myths about weight-loss

Wherever we turn, someone has an idea about successful weight-loss. Most of these are unfounded and far from factual. Here, we shall explore five key myths and why they should be ignored.

1. Eating healthy is expensive.

Healthy eating doesn’t have to cost more. You might be surprised to know you can buy healthier options without spending more money. You can:

  • Buy frozen fruit and vegetables. They come ready to use and it’ll help you reduce waste. You can use only what you need and put the rest back in the freezer. It will last longer in the freezer than fresh products.

  • Try cheaper or supermarket own brands. The value range is usually similar in taste to the premium brands.

  • Meal planning. Planning each of your meals for the week can help you stop your shopping bill going up by adding things you don’t need like sugary treats.

  • Use more pulses in your meals. Pulses (like beans, lentils, chickpeas and peas) are usually one of the cheapest supermarket items. They are low in fat and they are full of vitamins and fibre to keep you fuller for longer. They’ll also add flavour and texture to any tasty meal.

  • Cook from scratch rather than eating ready-meals or takeaways. Making your own food at home is a great way to make your food budget go further. You can make savings if you buy the loose fruit and vegetables instead of pre-packed ones. You can also control what goes in your meal to make it healthier.

2. Carbohydrates are fattening

Carbohydrates (like bread, pasta, potatoes and rice) are good for you when you have a balanced amount (usually the equivalent to a fistful). They are an important part of having a healthy, balanced diet that you can stick to. Carbohydrates give your body:

  • Energy

  • Vitamins like iron, calcium and B vitamins

  • Fibre to support your digestion and help you feel fuller for longer

Carbohydrates can become unhealthy when high-fat foods are added to them, such as adding butter and cheese on your jacket potato or a creamy sauce on your pasta. Instead, you can:

  • Top your jacket potato with a vegetable oil spread, flaky tuna or baked beans.

  • Choose whole-grain bread, pasta and rice. They taste just as good and might help you feel fuller.

  • Use a vegetable-based sauce for your pasta. A tomato sauce might be easier to digest than a heavy, cream sauce but it can taste just as good. And if you buy cans of chopped tomatoes, they’ll keep for longer in the cupboard than a cream sauce will in the fridge.

3. Intense exercise is the only way to lose weight This isn’t true. The most effective way to lose weight is to reduce the number of calories we eat and drink. Exercise can support weight-loss when we consume fewer calories.

Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity every week, such as walking and cycling. Or 75 minutes of intense activity every week, such as playing sport.

Intense (or vigorous) exercise, like running and swimming, makes you breathe hard and fast. It’s usually difficult to speak to someone without pausing during intense activities. Intense exercise isn’t suitable for everyone. Some moderate intensity exercises that can still help you be physically active are:

  • dancing

  • riding a bike

  • washing a car

  • water aerobics

  • walking up and down stairs

  • pushing a lawn mower or hoovering

  • brisk walking with your dog or friends

Being physically active can be fun too. It can be a way to connect with friends and family, like playing with a frisbee in the park after a picnic. Or a way to break up your schedule, like arranging a walk with your colleagues rather than sitting in the meeting room. Regular exercise is good for your physical and mental health. It can improve your mood; make you feel more energised and help you to sleep better. 4. Skipping meals will keep the weight off Skipping meals can make you lack essential nutrients and feel tired. If you miss meals like breakfast, you might feel tempted to eat foods high in fat and sugar when you feel hungry. This can mean you eat more calories than you need throughout the day. Eating healthy balanced meals at regular times during the day can help you lose weight more successfully than if you skip meals.

5. ‘Low fat’ foods are a healthy option A lower-fat option might not be better one for you. Sometimes, the fat will be replaced with more sugar or salt to make it taste like the original product. This means the product is far less healthy for you. Even if your food’s packaging says its lower fat, you might want to check its nutrition label. You can check the amount of ‘total fat’ and the amount of ‘saturated fat’ (unhealthy fat) per serving on the label.

Eat a heathy and balance diet, be active and plan ahead are the best methods for successful weight-loss.

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