Weight Loss Questions Answered

Here are probably more myths and misconceptions about weight loss than there are solid facts. Let’s take a look at some of the questionable claims about weight loss made in other diet books and on weight-loss products, and try to separate fact from fiction.

Can you boost metabolism?

You learned about metabolism and the role it plays in eating and weight loss. You know that the thyroid gland is your body’s metabolism meter. Although there are metabolism boosters on the market, the only safe way to speed up your metabolism is through exercise.

Unsafe metabolism boosters

There are several diet supplements sold in health food and vitamin stores, through the mail, and on the Internet that claim to speed up metabolism. Some of these are just plain useless, others are downright dangerous.

The trouble with these preparations is that they are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the federal agency that verifies the safety and effectiveness of prescription drugs. As long as they do not make claims to cure a disease, the manufacturers of these products can advertise and sell them to gullible consumers. From time to time, enough cases of harm come to the attention of authorities that a product is taken off the market – but others soon take its place.

Some over-the-counter weight-loss supplements contain thyroid extract from animals or other substances that act like the thyroid hormone. These speed metabolism by artificially, producing hyperthyroidism. People who take these preparations do lose weight, but they also develop other symptoms of an overactive thyroid, including nervousness and tremor, diarrhea, bulging eyes, racing heartbeat, excessive sweating, and heat intolerance. The FDA is trying to get at least one these products off the market, warning that it can cause heart attack, stroke, and other serious medical problems.

Do not swallow anything Рnot the claim, not the product ­ that says it will speed your metabolism. You are wasting your money or jeopardizing your health or both!

A safe alternative

The only way to safely and effectively increase your metabolic rate is with exercise. The harder you work, the faster your metabolic rate. This is nature’s, way of responding to increased energy demand. A vigorous exercise session will raise your BMR for many hours. There are so many health and weight-loss benefits to this approach that it’s hard to understand why anyone would try anything else.

Am i Losing weight or water?

You are losing both. When stored glycogen is converted to glucose for energy, it releases three parts water for every one part glucose. The glucose is used for energy and the water is excreted in urine.

Water is pretty heavy stuff. Every fluid ounce weighs about an ounce, so a cup weighs about half a pound. (That makes it simple to remember!)

But if you are losing a lot of water weight, you have to be sure to replace it. Drinking more water won’t make you fat, but it will replace the water lost during the “breakdown” phase of metabolism. And it will help carry away the waste products. Drinking lots of water is especially important when weight loss is rapid, or when you are increasing activity and losing additional water through sweat. But it is a good idea for everyone.

What about genetics?

“Fat just seems to run in my family”, “Everyone on my mother side is thin, but my father side of the family is overweight.” “I can’t do their anything about my weight. It’s genetic!” You’ve undoubtedly heard people blame their overweight on genetics, and maybe you’ve done this yourself.

Although it is true that genes contribute to BMR, body type, and other factors that influence weight, no one is doomed to obesity by genetics.

Diet, exercise, and other lifestyle habits also “run in families,” but they have nothing to do with genes. These are behaviors children pick up and carry into adulthood, and then pass along to their children. If your family has a history of sitting around and eating junk food, that probably explains the “family fat.” If, on the other hand, your family history includes sports and other outdoor activities, you and your relatives may all be slim and trim.

You cannot change your genes, but you can change your eating and exercise habits.

Especially if there is a tendency to overweight or weight­related health problems in your family, you should cut down on fats, eat a balanced diet with plenty of complex carbohydrates, and incorporate a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise into every day.

If you are overweight, you should begin a program to lose weight and maintain that loss. And if you have children you should set a good example. Simply put: Healthy living, including eating wisely and being active, can run in families too.