Some Misconceptions about Weight Loss and Fitness


Thaddeus C. Hinunangan, M.D.

Out on Pass is a borrowed term used in hospitals, where a patient is temporarily sent home for a respite, with promise to return for definitive treatment. Dr. Thaddeus C. Hinunangan is a physician by profession, and a writer by heart. His work was published in several anthologies and he also contributes to Philippine Daily Inquirer Opinion column.

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If you have tried all the diets in the world, danced all the zumba and yet months after initial improvements, you are back to square one, you probably have in one way or another bought into fitness fads. Here are the common beliefs I overhear from people who eventually give up their attempts of living a healthier life:

1. Weight loss happens quickly, and it stays off with minimal effort. Weight loss takes a lot of consistent hard work and time in the gym as well as discipline with food intake. Personally, after 2 years of working out regularly, the change for me was still gradual at best. Magic exercises or fad diets that offer quick weight loss are most probably going to fail you in the long run. Keeping off extra pounds also meant incorporating sports or gym into your weekly routine instead of abandoning it after reaching your target weight.

2. If I adhere to this pre-cooked diet meals alone, I will surely lose weight. Probably at first, but the question relies on sustainability. While precooked and packed meals are convenient for busy people who want to watch what they eat, it could also be expensive in the long run, and doing this for a year or more seems less likely. Moreover, you still need to do physical activity on the side to achieve your fitness goals.

3. Using supplements will make me stronger and allow me to work out every single day. Pre-workout drinks usually contain a lot of caffeine and other stimulants. There have been reports of chronic kidney disease from induced hypertension in long term users. Read the label and be discerning. Also, take into account that your body needs to rest. Muscle gains usually happen during rest periods. Adequate sleep is as important as working out. Be wary of using steroids because they are not without side effects to your body.

4. I don’t need a trainer. There’s Youtube! Personally, I would prefer training in a low key “bakal gym” rather than in a fancy expensive gym. The reason is that I prefer someone to teach me the routine and really oversee the workout. Having a coach who designs a customized program may be a bit expensive, especially in popular gyms, but it’s one of those things that are worth it, in my opinion. My trick is to save money on gym membership to make room for the trainer’s fee.

5. If I’m going to transform myself, I need long hours at the gym. Not necessarily. I personally allot two hours maximum per week (one hour a day, three days apart) because residency has been so busy. Yet those two hours are jampacked with heavy weights and supersets. This is another place where your trainer comes in. I specifically asked for a routine that targets large muscle groups with compound exercises so I still get to sustain my fitness routine despite having a busy week and very minimal time at the gym.

Ultimately, it is the consistency of one’s efforts that bring results. My twice a week weight lifting has brought be the results I wanted. It’s different for everybody though, given that we have different body types. I’m still learning in my journey, actually.

I’m not too hard on myself when it comes to weight loss. My goal is becoming stronger, so I set heavier weights to challenge myself. There are times I still join friends for a drink, or eat one too many buffets… But I try to get back on track as soon as I can. I learned my body’s natural rhythms. I make sure that my fitness routine blends well with my schedule at work, and that’s the only way I sustain it after all these years. I would like to encourage knowing what works for you and having attainable goals, because that dictates long term adherence and results.

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