Weight-loss: Facts v/s Fiction


Weight-loss is the most discussed topic throughout the world. This is because we are getting mechanized and technologically evolved each day, which is, in turn, making us sedentary. According to the Obesity Foundation India, 30 million Indians are already documented as obese and the numbers are only increasing year after year. An appalling conclusion to a review conducted by the Indian Journal of Medical Research was that 19.3 percent Indian children were in the overweight and obese category post-2010. These children belonged to upper and lower socioeconomic backgrounds!

Although the Body Mass Index (BMI) method is no longer the gold standard to conclude if one is overweight, it may be relatively accurate for the obese (30 kg/m2<) and even more for the morbidly obese (40 kg/m2 <) population. You may also want to include another easy to do a test to predict if your central adiposity (breadth) is high; the waist to hip ratio. Any ratio >0.90 in men and >0.85 in women is considered high (WHO) and increases the chances of being exposed to metabolic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, etc. For example, an individual with a waist circumference of 36 inches and a hip circumference of 40 inches would have a waist to hip ratio of 36/40= 0.9.

Therefore, if you have been clinically classified as overweight or obese due to a high body-fat percentage, then here are some facts and fallacies of weight-loss for you.

1. The weighing scale is the only tool to measure weight-loss: MYTH

Reality: This is a very common issue that many of us have encountered with weight-loss. The goal of losing weight is actually “fat-loss” but the weighing scale fails to distinguish between weights of muscle-mass, water, fat and other components of the body. Hence, it is advisable to track your body measurements along with your body-weight. It may very well be possible for you to gain a little weight and still lose fat and this is completely fine!

2. Weight-training will make me gain weight during my weight-loss program: MYTH

Reality: It is one of the massive misconceptions and unfortunately a lot of fitness professionals and dietitians abide by this ignorant belief. In fact, a review of a variety of studies conducted by the Journal of Obesity reported that including resistance training as part of weight-loss programs reduced the participants’ risk of being exposed to metabolic diseases by preserving vital muscle-mass. Avoid metabolism-drop during your weight-loss journey by preserving muscle-mass via weight training.

3. Starving will help me lose weight: MYTH

Reality: Starving only makes the body undergo extreme catabolism which causes it to lose a lot of muscle-mass and valuable nutrients in an effort to maintain homeostasis (maintenance of a stable environment within the body). Starvation can drop your metabolism to an extent where you may gain fat due to the “danger” that the body senses, switching itself into “survival” mode.

4. A very low or no carbohydrate diet is best for weight-loss: MYTH

Reality: There seems to be a fad for very low/no carbohydrate diets in the fitness industry due to its “quick” results. However, it must be noted that this quick, yet temporary weight-loss is only because of water loss and not because of fat loss. Usually, the very low/no carbohydrate diets are accompanied by high protein recommendations and protein is extremely dehydrating in nature. This is why the immediate weight-loss can be very deceptive. A study published by the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders revealed that there was nothing extraordinary about the low-carbohydrate diets in comparison to the regular diets in terms of weight-loss among obese individuals as long as the calories in the former and latter were similar.

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About the Author

Devansh Shah
Devansh Shah
Health and Fitness author at India Pages and Self Employed at Osmosis Fitness Hub. Qualifications: B.S. Exercise Science (Truman State University), M.Ed., Kinesiology (Bowling Green State University) ACSM-EP