The dieting industry abounds with misinformation and it's up to you to work out the truth. But don't despair, if you keep in mind the adage, if it's too good to be true then it probably is, you will be pretty much on track for avoiding the latest diet scam.
Myth #1 I can eat whatever I want and still lose weight
It would be wonderful to imagine that we could eat anything that we wanted to and still lose weight, but sadly this is not true. If you put on weight because of the way that you are eating, then obviously there is something that needs to change. Find a healthy eating plan for weight loss that you are going to enjoy and that you can maintain long term after the weight loss phase. Your eating plan must allow for treats or "cheat days", allowing you to eat your favorite foods occasionally.
Myth #2 I can use a fad diet for quick weight loss and keep it off
Fad diets have flourished throughout the past few decades as we have battled with our ever increasing waist lines. We have had the cabbage soup diet, the Israeli Diet and the seven boiled eggs a day diet to name a few. The immediate weight loss with fad diets is only water and later on fat and muscle. Fad diets are often broken with binge eating because of hunger and deprivation. Once you stop, the weight loss is often quickly regained plus a few extra kilograms.
The best diets to follow are balanced diets such as Weight Watchers and The Diet Solution. They aim for a slow but steady 0.5-1.0 kilogram weight loss a week. These diets teach you how to eat properly, how to keep yourself full with healthy, filling foods and how to incorporate treats into your diet without blowing your long term goals.
Myth #3 high protein-low carbohydrate diets are the best way to lose weight
Many people have had great success with low carbohydrate diets such as The Atkins Diet, but I don't know anybody who has kept the weight off. If you are not a person who does well on a low carb diet, you may suffer from feeling light headed, nauseous, tired and weak. Low carb dieting is based on the idea that our ancestors lived mainly off hunted food with very little carbohydrate in the form of fruits and vegetables. However, traditional hunters ate the whole of the animal including the offal, and so received many more nutrients than you would receive from a clean, lean piece of steak from the butcher today.
It is a very difficult diet for most people to maintain because carbohydrates are so restricted. It is far more sensible to choose a weight loss plan that allows you to eat normally with your family and friends. Although you should cut out processed carbohydrates in the form of cakes, lollies, biscuits, pastries and processed cereals.
Myth #4 You need to cut out starches when trying to lose weight
Starchy foods have become much maligned in the past few years; some examples are bread, rice, pasta, cereals, potatoes and yams. If you like to eat starchy foods, make sure that you eat whole foods and not highly processed foods that will raise your blood sugar levels too quickly. For example eat wholegrain bread instead of white bread, natural muesli instead of a sugary breakfast cereals, brown rice instead of white rice and wholemeal pasta instead of white pasta.
Myth #5 Low fat foods are lower in calories
Low fat foods can actually have as many calories or more than the full fat version of a product, so don't be fooled if you see low fat, lite or light on the label. Low fat foods are usually full of sugar, flour, or starch thickeners to compensate for the lack of fat and to make the product palatable, so you do need to check labels.
For long term success, choose a healthy eating plan for weight loss that is not a fad, but one that you will be able to maintain after the lose weight phase. Chose a weight loss plan that is healthy, sensible and sustainable, one that is not too restrictive and allows treats, you still need to have fun even when you are trying to lose weight.