Accomplishing the goal of losing weight is difficult, even on a diet that seems correct - these are some typical mistakes.
With the summer season just around the corner, there are many who initiate a radical change of diet trying to arrive with the least possible weight at the summer time, a few months where less clothes are worn and the body is more exposed. For some, there will be no change between summer and winter in the aesthetic sense, but for others the vain attempt to reduce weight and body volume may be almost obsessive: to "diet", but not lose weight, or lose very little.
The reality is that these are terribly repetitive cases, since although year after year scientific studies delve deeper into the question, the reality is that overweight and obesity are still a poorly understood disease. However, today we know a few things in which we continue to err almost automatically and, on many occasions, due to the insistent food and aesthetic marketing that invades us on a daily basis through the media and social networks. Today we will briefly explain why the fallacy "eat less and move more" is nothing more than that, a self-deception, much more complex to achieve than it seems.
Losing weight is difficult: some eating mistakes to avoid
The hypothesis most defended today in the search for weight loss is that of low-calorie diets: you have to eat fewer calories than you consume. Some health, nutrition and sports professionals do not quite see this hypothesis clearly, and the truth is that they have reasons for it, because it is not so easy: all calories do not affect the body in the same way, and counting calories is a terrible mistake, as suggested by a 2012 study published in the journal JAMA.
Consuming a whole orange is not the same as drinking orange juice: a standard orange, of about 150 g, provides a theoretical 70 kcal approximately. However, thanks to the fiber content of the whole orange, and the fact that it is a fruit that needs to go through a digestive process, not all the calories will be absorbed or at least they will not be absorbed as quickly. However, an orange juice of just 200 ml is almost 100 kcal, almost all free sugar, which will be absorbed almost immediately as if it were a soft drink. As we can see, a calorie is not a calorie. We must pay attention to what foods we consume, in what format we do it (better whole fruit than juice) and the way it is cooked (better sautéed with little oil than fried, or better to use the oven or microwave if possible).
On the other hand, there are many who make the mistake of eating too little, and specifically avoiding some macronutrients: or fats, or carbohydrates. The reality is that you do have to eat less, but with common sense, always using fresh products, and neither of the two macronutrients has been shown to improve one diet or the other: the effects of a low-fat diet are similar to a low-carbohydrate diet, if both provide the same number of calories. Although some previous work did advocate low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets, like the one published in 2015 in Cell Metabolism, but never a low-fat diet, as The Lancet also concluded in 2015.
Likewise, going back to the error of counting calories without taking whole foods into account, food marketing makes us fall again and again into the error of consuming products "without”: without fat, without added sugars, without salt, without gluten ... All those Products that provide a "without" in their packaging are a trap for the most unsuspecting, since a "light" product (low in fat) tends to hide behind its low caloric density an excessive contribution of added sugars, as a published work has already warned in Physiology & Behavior. The calories from sugars are also different from those from fats: they supposedly provide fewer calories per gram (4 kcal per gram of carbohydrates and 9 kcal per gram of fat), but free sugars are absorbed much faster than fats. Again, a calorie is not a calorie.
Finally, an error that is rarely said is the misunderstanding of "moderation”: It is often believed that simply eating "healthier" should already lose weight, but it is not so easy. Even if we replace all the processed and ultra-processed products of our daily diet with fresh products and cook them correctly, there is still a danger to continue maintaining the weight: moderation. According to a 2016 study published in Appetitte, the term "restraint" is the great misunderstanding of our time, and hardly anyone understands or explains it the same as anyone else, so we should label it as ambiguous and remove it from our vocabulary. In the case of healthy eating, moderation is also important, since eating one or two avocados a day with the rest of the diet is a very good idea, but if we put 10 of these high-calorie-density fruits into the body every day, it is more than likely that we will not lose weight. Yes, avocado is healthy and nutritionally very interesting, but it is still very calorically dense and its consumption should not be abused (or the consumption of any other fresh food). This would only be one of the many possible examples, although I think it is quite visual considering the current fashion that exists around this fruit.
Relying too much on exercise
Finally, along with a healthier diet, just at the gates of summer we tend to increase our physical activity in order to burn more calories than before. The truth is that this method, at the health level, is highly recommended. However, if you are looking to lose weight, physical exercise is only a good complement to a good basic diet; If our way of eating is bad or can be improved, exercise can be useless in the goal of weight loss.
This is concluded by some studies, such as the one published in PloS One in 2011, and corroborated by another investigation of the same year in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care. In fact, in some individuals physical exercise can even boost appetite, as a 2012 paper published in Obesity Reviews claimed.
Does this mean that we should not exercise if we want to lose weight? On the contrary, in fact, it is best to do both aerobic exercise (running, cycling, swimming ...) and anaerobic exercise or weight lifting exercise (calisthenics, TRX, weights ...). Together, both types of exercise are better than doing one or the other separately, always together with a good basal diet.
The error of exercise is to overestimate it, since on average 40-45 min of a weight lifting session can burn about 150 kcal, which can be easily recovered just by falling into the temptation of drinking a sugary soda. Therefore, exercise should be a good supplement, but not the basis of the dietary goal.
The conclusion therefore would be:
· Make a good basic diet.
· Consume fresh food, cooked at home whenever possible.
· Avoid toxic substances (tobacco, alcohol and other drugs).
· Accompany all this with aerobic and anaerobic exercise.
· Ah! And be aware that this goal is not something easy in the short term, but a marathon full of obstacles in the long term.
Things that are achieved quickly disappear just as quickly.
If everything fails, visit your doctor
As a bonus to all these errors, one more concept should be added: unknown and untreated metabolic diseases.
On many occasions, despite having a correct diet, an effective level of physical exercise, and all these mistakes and many others being taken into account, you do not lose weight and even gain weight. In this case, it is advisable to go to our medical professional of reference in order to carry out some complementary tests, since some diseases can further hinder weight loss.
Among these diseases, the best known is hypothyroidism, a disease of the thyroid gland that "slows down" the metabolism. It doesn't really cause a great difficulty in losing weight, but it can help it to occur more slowly than expected. Likewise, there are other metabolic alterations in which the protagonist is cortisol, better known as the “stress hormone”, whose alteration has also been shown to collaborate as an obstacle in weight loss.
These and other parameters should be examined by a professional when all else fails. And, if we suffer from an underlying disease, it is advisable to initially go to a doctor or nutritionist specialized in clinical nutrition in order to carry out a type of diet correctly after a previous check-up, without worsening our basic disease.