Fitness columnist Emmet Rushe de-bunks the six biggest weight loss myths that still surround the fitness industry.

When it comes to weight loss everyone has an opinion, and I mean EVERYONE!
Every single day I hear countless stories from clients and members of the gym, all of them with yet another analogy of what works best for weight loss.
More often than not, the process which has been put forward to them is a ‘quick fix’.
It will let you lose X amount of weight in X amount of time and you don’t have to do anything else.

If only it were this easy.
Below I outline 6 myths that still surround the fitness industry in regards to weight loss.

1. Low fat foods will help you to lose fat.

In order to make foods low fat, the companies who make them have to put something else back in, and that is usually high quantities of carbohydrates. These low fat products quite often have roughly the same calories as the same products that are not low in fat.
Even though you are eating low fat, you aren’t necessarily eating less overall calories and your sugar intake could be greatly increased.

2. Eating 5-6 meals per day helps boost your metabolism.

Unfortunately this is not true. Eating small meals more often, doesn’t help speed up your metabolism.  It simply helps keep you more satisfied between meals therefore you are less likely to overeat at your next meal.

3. Eating after 6pm will make you gain weight.

Your total calorie intake is what governs whether you lose, maintain or gain weight. It doesn’t matter what time of day you eat your meals, as long as your daily calorie requirements are within your goals.
Eating after 6pm will not make you gain weight.
Eating above your daily calorie requirements however, will.

4. You have to work out in order to lose weight

It may seem strange for a trainer to say that you don’t actually need to exercise in order to lose weight, but it’s true.
Your weight loss and weight gain are governed by your calorie intake and expenditure, so the best way to lose weight is by being in a calorie deficit.
If however, you want to change the shape of your body, speed up the process, have more energy, be healthier and have a better quality of life, then I’d highly encourage exercising along with your nutrition program.

5. The scale is an accurate indicator of weight loss

The problem with scales is that your weight can fluctuate hour by hour, day by day, and week by week. The scales do not give accurate readings as they cannot tell you how much weight is fat loss, how much is water and more importantly, how much is muscle mass.
The scale is also one of the biggest contributors to people giving up on their weight loss goals.
If you are influenced by the scales and they dictate whether you have a good or a bad day, it’s time to throw them away.
Instead, concentrate on how your clothes fit, how you look and feel.
Remember that you are more than a number on a scale.

6. Weight loss products are the best way to lose weight and keep it off

There is little to no evidence that weight loss products can provide long-term sustainable weight loss.
9999999999999999999999% of these products just want your money and the other .0000000000001% aren’t much better.
Remember that there is huge money to be made from weight loss – £22 billion in the UK in 2012 to be exact.
These companies don’t want you to lose weight and to keep it off. That would be madness, if the product actually worked long term, you wouldn’t need to buy their products anymore!
Also, many of the people selling these products are simply sales people, with little or no nutritional knowledge or experience. So please be wary of fantastic claims that they may make in regards to their products.

Myths will always be a part of fitness and health. Just be careful of what you buy into and always think of the old addage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it always is”.