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Weight loss myths: BUSTED!

July 18 2019
Cora Lydon
By Cora Lydon

Is your head spinning from confusing media messages about how to lose weight? Separate the facts from the fiction with our myth-busting guide to what really shifts the pounds—and keeps them off.

Weight loss myths: BUSTED!

MYTH #1: You just need to eat less
If you’ve ever tried restrictive diets, you’ll know that, while you may lose weight initially, the next thing you lose is your enthusiasm for the tiny portions. Research has shown that feeling hungry and restricted around food is one of the most common reasons for giving up on a weight loss goal. That’s why Free Food—everyday food that you can eat freely to satisfy your appetite, so you never need to go hungry—is the key to the success of our Food Optimizing eating plan. And there’s a science behind this, as Dr Sarah-Elizabeth Bennett, from Slimming World’s nutrition team, explains: “Free Food is food that is low in energy density (calories per gram) and high in appetite satisfaction—so it’s great for weight loss.” By filling your plate with Free Food like pasta, rice, pulses, fish, lean meat, eggs, and fresh vegetables, you’ll see the pounds drop off while feeling completely satisfied, which will help you stick to the plan long term.

MYTH #2: You have to give up your favorite treats
It’s not just hunger that can derail weight loss, feeling deprived can be a motivation killer, too, says Slimming World nutritionist Jenny Barber. “If you feel like you’re never ‘allowed’ to have any of your favorite foods and drinks, you’re far less likely to want to carry on,” she explains. “Following a plan that’s flexible enough to include a little of what you fancy, without ever having to feel guilty, means it’s more sustainable in the long term.” Dr Bennett agrees: “When nothing’s banned, it puts you back in control, rather than feeling food is somehow controlling you.”

MYTH #3: You can’t lose weight without exercising
Great news for anyone who hasn’t worn sports kit since high school—there’s no need to break a sweat if you don’t want to. Just by making some key changes to your eating habits, you will see a difference on the scale. There is good reason to get more active, though, says Dr Bennett. “While Food Optimizing 100 percent is more effective for weight loss than exercise alone, research suggests that the combined effect of a healthy diet plus physical activity produces the greatest results.” At Slimming World, we call it Body Magic! Walking, cycling, taking the stairs, it can all add up—to as much as 28lbs more lost each year if you’re Food Optimizing and incorporate regular activity into your daily life.

MYTH #4: You need to buy expensive specialist foods
This really isn’t true and, actually, because you’re likely to be replacing a lot of convenience foods with everyday Free Food staples, you might even find you’re saving dollars. “A lot of Free Food is very low-cost—think dried pasta, potatoes, lentils and pulses,” says Dr Bennett. “Fresh fruit and vegetables are often cheaper at the market, or opt for frozen, which are just as nutritious as fresh alternatives and often cost less.” Planning your meals for the week is another great way to slim and save. As well as helping you stay on track, it also means you only buy what need, so there’s no waste. Make the most of seasonal ingredients that are cheap and can be stretched across several dishes. As you transform simple ingredients into mouth-watering meals, you can look forward to spending the dollars you’ve saved on new, smaller clothes.

MYTH #5: Carbs are a no go
Rejoice! There’s no need to give up pasta, potatoes, or any other carbohydrates, as Jenny Barber explains: “After protein, carbs are the most satiating micronutrient, which means they keep you fuller for longer, give you energy and, when you use healthy cooking methods, help you satisfy your appetite while losing weight.” Many carbohydrates, including pasta, rice, couscous and potatoes, can be eaten freely when you’re Food Optimizing. While a few, such as high-fiber bread and breakfast cereals, can be enjoyed in moderation. “If you do cut out carbs completely, your body breaks down protein and fat for energy, which results in a build-up of ketones in the blood, resulting in ketosis,” says Barber. “This can be linked, at least in the short term, to headaches, nausea, weakness, dehydration, irritability and dizziness.” So save yourself the side effects and discover how tasty and generous Food Optimizing can be!

Inspired? You’ll find lots more support and inspiration on our website, helping you to make real, lasting changes and lose weight for life.