Weight Lost: Why diet plans often confuse, mislead most

From Jenny Craig to Weight Watchers, ab machines to ads promising you the world in terms of weight loss, consumers and those looking to drop a few pounds must be feeling very much misled and lost as they embark on a fitness journey that takes more than a few detours along the way.

The real issue is two fold: consumers who want to lose weight are so desperate and time sensitive to do so that anything that sounds easy and simple is appealing, thus setting the stage for products, services and flat out advice that preys on that, even if what they’re selling or saying isn’t really going to help anyone, in terms of losing weight.

That’s why understanding what really works, and what information you should take in, harness and use is so daunting for the average person who just wants to look better in their clothes or at at the beach this summer.

Misconceptions about losing weight abound in droves, so dispelling them all is nearly impossible, but instead let’s focus on a few that are downright silly.

For starters, what do you know about carbs and speciality diets (i.e. South Beach, Atkins, etc.)? If you’ve been told that carbs are bad for you, think again. Carbs are necessary; they provide energy and keep your blood sugar where it needs to be on a daily basis, so that you’re not tired, moody and exhausted all the time. Now, this isn’t a huge admission that means you should run out and eat bread, pasta and other carbs all the time, all day long.

Instead, it’s about eating them at the right time, such as portioned throughout the day and easing up on them as you get into the evening. Carbs are also very good before a workout, otherwise, you’ll have trouble staying focused and energized enough to even complete one.

And as far as eating and exercise go, two points come to mind: just because you exercise doesn’t mean you can eat what you want. Also, cardiovascular work, such as walking and running on a treadmill, isn’t a guarantee to lose weight.

The real truth is that losing weight is easier to do with a weight lifting program, with high repetitions and lighter weights and a balanced diet.

The salvation sometimes, unfortunately, has to come from failing. Everyone has a different makeup, body type or DNA, so what works for one might not work for someone else, so often trial and error is part of this process.

That said, finding what works is more about a marathon rather than a sprint. If it seems to good to be true, chance are it is, and the only safe, true measure to lose weight starts with eating smarter, not depriving yourself, adding exercise to the equation and making sure that fads have no place at the table with you.