Five Myths About Weight Management

From what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat to physical activity requirements and recommendations, there is a lot of conflicting advice about the best approach to take for weight management. Given this confusion, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. To best take care of your body, it’s important to have a basic grasp of nutrition and exercise. 

Tips for Healthy Weight Management

Below, I consider five myths about weight management and explore the truth behind each idea.

  • All calories are equal: Many people believe that all calories offer the same amount of energy. However, because your body processes food groups (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates) differently, each group impacts your weight and hunger differently. For instance, carbohydrates are broken down the quickest, making them your best bet if you need fast fuel. Calories from proteins take longer for your body to access, making them ideal to consume after a workout if you want to reduce your cravings and boost your metabolism. 
  • You can’t eat fats if you want to lose weight: Healthy (unsaturated) fats provide you with essential nutrients and should play a key role in your regular diet. Try to incorporate small amounts of avocados, nuts and nut butters, and olives into your meals. You should watch your intake of saturated fats, which is found in foods like butter, cheese, and red meat.
  • Carbohydrates are bad for you: In the early 2000s, diets like the Atkins Diet and the South Beach Diet rose in popularity, falsely propagating the belief that carbs are the enemy. In reality, it’s important to consider the type of carb. Whole foods with complex carbs, like brown rice and whole-wheat bread, add iron and fiber to your diet. Conversely, simple and starchy carbs, like pasta and white bread, can negatively impact your weight management efforts when consumed often.
  • Exercise must be challenging and long-lasting to make a difference: No matter how busy you are, fitting in physical activity can have a positive impact on your health. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, like brisk walking or playing tennis, each week. That’s at least 30 minutes, 5 days weekly, of an activity that gets your heart rate up but still allows you to speak in complete sentences. If your schedule is packed, you can mix in 10-minute sessions by choosing the stairs over the elevator or taking a walk during a conference call. If possible, ask a friend to join you! 
  • Fast food is always unhealthy: Many of us live an on-the-go lifestyle, which means we’re often eating in between appointments, in the car, or at our desks. Fast food doesn’t have to be detrimental to our weight management efforts. Instead, it needs to be approached thoughtfully. Look for places with healthier options, like a side salad instead of fries or a burger or chicken sandwich without the bun. 

Proper weight management requires the balance of your metabolism and your hormones. You need to be consistent in both your dietary and exercise habits as well as your thoughts and behaviors. Note that your weight is not the only number that matters when it comes to your health. Be sure to see your primary care physician annually to ensure that you are properly taking care of yourself.

Reach out to Dr. Asha Tota-Maharaj, MD at Platinum Primary Care — referred to as “Winter Park’s best kept secret!” — with all your healthcare needs. Come visit us at our new office: 2071 Dundee Drive in Winter Park.