The SparkDiet resource centeri has consulted fitness experts to find the 4 most prevalent myths concerning metabolism and metabolism-boosting.
Since this book has been about reality and not myths, we didn’t cover any of them in the actual book. Yet, considering how common these myths are, it can indeed be useful for you to know them; and to know that they’re myths.
That way, if you come across them in a magazine, at a fitness club, or just from the well-intentioned but misguided advice of a friend, you can confidently say (or at least just think): sorry, but that’s a myth; I’m not going to fall for that one!
The general consensus on diet pills are contained in two powerful words: BUYER BEWARE.
The problem here is that many makers of diet pills offer claims that simply aren’t realistic; and if you read the fine-print of most of these advertisements, you’ll see that they’re really too good to be true. Little notes like the claims made in this advertisement are not typical should be enough of a wake-up call to realize that there’s more to the story.
In some cases, diet pills can help boost metabolism temporarily. This, however, can be risky and generally shouldn’t be done without a doctor’s say-so. Unfortunately, people can become somewhat addicted to diet pills, and this can lead to disaster.
And before we go onto myth #2, remember that some diet pills are water loss pills. That is, they are diuretics that promote water loss, usually through excess urination. The jury on water-loss diet pills is somewhat less open-minded than diet pills in general: THEY DON’T WORK!
Seriously: water loss diet pills are built on the premise that you’ll lose weight through water. And, yes, that’s true: if you urinate 15 times a day, you’re physically going to weigh less.
But this is not actual weight loss! This is merely unhealthy temporary weight loss, and it will come roaring back the minute that water stores are replenished through diet.
Or, even harder to comprehend, if a person taking these water pills fails to restore their body’s fluid needs, they can actually suffer dehydration; which can, and has, led to coma and death.
As we discussed earlier in this book (but it’s so important that it deserves an encore here at the end), trying to lose weight by drastically cutting down calories doesn’t work; in fact, it’s unhealthy.
The thing to remember is that the body’s ability to lose weight is not controlled by calories. Calories are the input. The real control mechanism is that famous concept that you’ve become very familiar with: metabolism.
Calories are merely units of energy. It’s how your body deals with that energy that determines whether weight is gained or lost.
So with that being said, cutting down your caloric intake to, say, 1000 calories a day isn’t necessarily going to help you lose weight; because it doesn’t necessarily change your metabolism.
Indeed, as you know, if you slow down your caloric intake, your body – which is always trying to help you in the best way that it knows how – will slow down its metabolism.
Really, it makes sense: the body says that something has gone wrong; instead of the 2000 calories that it needs, it’s only getting 1000. The body doesn’t know why this is happening; it doesn’t know that you want to lose weight.
It just senses that something is wrong; perhaps you’re trapped in a cave or something, or stuck in a snowstorm. So the body, trying to help you, will slow down its metabolism; it will do its best to slow down the conversion rate, so that you have as much energy on hand as possible.
Now, if your body was able to read this book and you could say: look, please just do what you normally do, but do it with 1000 fewer calories a day for a while, then we might actually get somewhere.
But the body doesn’t work that way. It won’t help you lose weight if you dramatically cut down on calories.
It will slow down metabolism, and (here’s the worst part), if and when you ever increase calories again, your body will have to deal with that via a slower metabolic engine. So you can actually gain weight if, after cutting down your calories for a period of time, you find that you consume extra calories (say while on vacation or something).
It’s fair to say that any exercise is better than no exercise. So if you lead a sedentary lifestyle, then even walking around your block for 10 minutes a day is going to something positive for your body and its metabolism.
True, that difference may be imperceptible to the naked eye (or it may not?), the bottom line is that exercise is good.
Yet with this being said, some people believe that they should perform low-intensity workouts even when they could be performing more high-intensity workouts.
That is, instead of jogging for 20 minutes with their heart at the top end of their aerobic zone, they opt for low-intensity jogs that barely break a sweat.
Low intensity workouts simply don’t lead to a faster metabolism; they can’t. Remember, as we discussed very early in this book, metabolism is a process.
And that process is really one of two types: taking energy and making cells (anabolism), or breaking cells down to make energy (catabolism).
If you don’t achieve a high-intensity workout, your body can’t tap achieve catabolism; it won’t need to. And the only way your body is going to go and break down existing cells is if it needs to.
So keep this in mind as you exercise, either at home or at a gym. Low intensity workouts are better than nothing at all; and they may be necessary if you’re recovering from injury, or just starting out on the exercise journey.
But once you reach a level of basic fitness, only high intensity (aerobic) workouts will make a difference in terms of your metabolism. High intensity workouts force your body to find energy to help you maintain that level of exercise; and it does so through catabolism.
Speeding up your metabolism and achieving your weight loss goals involved a certain degree of focus; after all, there’s a lot of things competing for your attention (including that delicious Chef’s Special pecan pie!), and you certainly need to be able to keep your eye on the goal in order to maintain your program.
Yet sometimes too much focus can be a bad thing; and some dieters understand this all too well.
Remember: speeding up your metabolism is a holistic effort that includes exercise, lifestyle, and diet changes.
Focusing on only one of these at the expense of the others (either one or both) can be detrimental. In fact, in some cases, it can be counter-productive.
So the myth here is that you shouldn’t go all out and focus on becoming an exercise guru, and then move onto lifestyle, and then to diet.
You have to integrate all 3 aspects into your life at the same time. True, based on your unique situation, you will likely emphasize one more than the others. That’s fine and normal. But it’s a myth – and a mistake – to ignore any one of these.
It takes all three to speed up your metabolism, and to get you to your weight loss goals for the long-term.
i SparkDiet. http://sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=476