Top 16 Biggest Popular Weight Loss Myths
Did you ever hear your mother tell you, “Don’t screw up your face that way, or it will stay like that forever?” Certain childhood tales are easy to dismiss as fallacy, but when it comes to popular weight loss myths, we seem to have a hard time distinguishing truth from fiction.
Here are the most popular weight loss myths
1. If you eat only ________ (fill in the blank) you will lose weight and keep it off. The reason the Atkins diet or the grapefruit diet, or any other single food diet doesn’t work long term is because your body is a complex amalgamation of cells, fluids, hormones and proteins that require a whole host of nutrients.
Skip one of them and you can develop a disease like Scurvy (caused by a lack of vitamin C), which is deadly. Don’t play this type of Russian roulette with your diet.
2. You can ignore calories. While it’s true that you need not obsess about calories, you will not lose weight or maintain a healthy body weight if you consume more calories than your body can burn.
It doesn’t matter if they come from sprouted grains or pizza. It takes approximately 3500 calories to burn one pound of body fat.
3. “Eat the same time every day” is a myth. While it is better if you eat breakfast sometime in the morning and at least a few hours before lunch to keep your insulin levels from spiking due to a lack of glucose in the blood, it doesn’t matter when you eat.
If you sleep late on the weekend and don’t feel like eating breakfast until its time for brunch, that is fine. You were sleeping anyway so your body didn’t need energy (i.e. glucose) to burn as readily.
4. Another weight loss myth is that you shouldn’t snack. This is pure bunk. While it does matter what you snack on and how many overall calories you consume in a day, eating healthy, small meals several times a day rather than three large ones will actually stoke the fires of your metabolism and help you to lose weight.
5. Carbohydrates make you fat is yet another myth. While processed carbs, i.e., white bread, pasta, pastry, etc. aren’t good for you because they have little dietary fiber and lots of refined sugar, carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet because they allow you to break down proteins with greater ease, and help you to feel full.
If you only eat carbs, then you are suffering from a belief in myth number one. They are part of a healthy diet, not the primary source. Eat them in moderation.
6. Fat is bad. This is also wrong! Only saturated fats should be avoided. Unsaturated fats like those in olive oil and avocados, for example, are extremely good for the body and necessary for everything from keeping your skin and hair beautiful to reducing your chance of cardiovascular disease.
7. Stop eating dessert. Okay yes, refined sugars are not good for you, but if you could never eat a piece of chocolate cake again, would you really stick to a diet like that? The trick, again, is moderation. Finding pleasure in food also helps you combat depression and enjoy life.
Every once in a while you can have your cake and eat it too. It is part of a balanced approach to a healthy lifestyle that results in a healthier you. (But just in case you were curious, Angel food cake has one of the lowest calorie-counts of all the dessert out there.)
8. I Can’t Lose Weight; I’ve Tried and I Just Can’t Do It
FALSE: You may believe this statement to be your truth because your beliefs control every move you make. When you understand how to build a belief system that will guarantee success, a belief to replace the ones that currently control your life, you’ll have opened a door to a brand new world.
The number one predictor of your success in obtaining the body you want is not your sex, age, IQ, or heredity, but the BELIEF THAT YOU WILL SUCCEED!
“You become what you think about.” – Napoleon Hill
I had a client that I was working with that always believed that losing weight was difficult and that she couldn’t do it.
Once I helped her believe in herself and in her ability to achieve her goal weight, the weight starting coming off easily and in 4 months she lost 32 lbs and has kept that off!
I hope this list of myth-busters has cleared things up for you? It all comes down to what makes sense – think things through and do what is the most natural for your body.
If something sounds not only too good to be true but not like something your ancestors would have done, then leave it for those other people to believe. Your health is too important, so do your research to know what is truly best for you.
9. Spot Reducing is Possible
FALSE: You can do crunches or leg lifts all day long, but if you don’t lose the fat, you’ll never see the trim muscle underneath!
Weight reduction needs to take place over the entire body, and then it’s possible to tone and shape certain muscle groups with specific exercises…but spot reducing doesn’t work!
10. You Are What You Eat
FALSE: If you continually eat unhealthy foods full of fats, sugars and salt, you’ll be unhealthy, so in that respect, there is some truth to this statement and you will be what you eat: unhealthy, overweight and undernourished!
But the truth is, “You are what you think! You attract into your life what you consistently think, feel and act on…so what are you thinking about: junk food or healthy, alive, colorful foods that nourish your body and keep you young, healthy and active?
Remember you control your thoughts and you become what you think about!
11. It’s Too Hard to Change my Eating Habits
FALSE: If you believe this or any other reason why you can’t lose weight to be true about yourself…then it will be your truth, and you won’t be open to changing your habits.
The truth is that you can change! What food you eat, how you eat, why you eat, where you eat and when you eat are all habits that you’ve learned and have become part of your daily life.
Much of your eating is on autopilot. Changing habits can be challenging but it can be done, not overnight, but gradually by taking small steps that add up to “new eating habits.”
If you are a parent, this is the best gift you can give your children, teaching them good habits, specifically good eating habits.
Even first lady Michelle Obama has realized that it’s a major problem which inspired her to implement her initiative that battles childhood obesity.
President Obama also plans to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act, and he is proposing a $10 billion budget increase to help provide nutritious school lunches to those who qualify.
Here are some reasons why it is so important to teach your children healthy eating habits:
- One-third of children and teens between 2-19 are overweight or at risk of becoming so
- The number of overweight children has tripled since the 1970s
- Studies suggest that children’s life expectancies are NOW less than those of their parents
You must believe that you can succeed! Have belief in yourself because you can do it!
“You can do it if you believe you can.” – Napoleon Hill
12. Once I Lose Weight, I’ll Easily Maintain It Going Back to My Old Eating Habits
FALSE: Eating healthy is a lifestyle – a way of living for the rest of your life. Dieting, then not dieting, is when yo-yo weight fluctuations are rampant.
If you start eating now like you want to and are comfortable with eating that way for life, your body will change to match.
Live the life you want starting now, and the rest will follow, including the body and health that will take you clear on to the twilight years.
13. Eating After 7 pm Will Cause Weight Gain
FALSE: If what you’re eating after 7 pm is on top of a full day’s food intake, then yes, you’ll gain weight.
Eating, later on, may not be optimal for your digestion or sleeping, but it’s much better to eat something than go for too many hours without eating.
For instance, if you go to the gym after work and don’t get home until 7 pm, you definitely need to eat to replace the fuel and rebuild the muscles you used.
If you feel like you’re craving and very hungry in the later hours, take a look at what you’re eating during the day.
If you aren’t eating enough to sustain yourself earlier in the day, your body will start demanding it later on.
If you are eating regularly, and a meal or snack later in the evening is part of your daily allotment of food, then by all means eat away.
You may find that having a small snack of complex carbohydrates like oatmeal or whole grain toast may actually improve your sleep.
14. 100-Calorie Snack Packs are Good Options
FALSE: Who decided that as long as something comes in 100-calorie portion size, it’s a great option for health?
A 100-calorie pack of cookies containing white flour, white sugar, maybe some high fructose corn syrup, and a bunch of chemicals may be considered a “treat” to some, but I’d rather treat myself to a 2-size-smaller bathing suit, thank you very much.
These little bundles of junk may trick you into thinking that you’re eating right, but this is based on “the calorie theory,” and now you know it’s much more about the type of calories than how many of them.
If you’re looking for a 100-calorie snack, why not try eight walnuts or almonds, one medium apple or five cups of raw mushrooms? Treat yourself to good health.
15. All You Need to Do is Exercise More
FALSE: Exercise is obviously important for your overall health and well-being, but while exercising a lot while eating junk may allow you to lose a couple of pounds, you’ll be doing nothing for your health.
And, as soon as the exercise slips a little, those pounds will just be waiting to slip back on.
Add to the benefits of your healthy nutrition plan by including cardio, strength training, and mindful exercise into your weekly regime.
16. Skipping Meals is Good For Weight Loss
FALSE: When you skip meals, more often that not your blood sugar levels will dip lower than desired. This puts your body into “crisis” mode – it reacts by releasing cortisol to allow the release of sugars stored in your liver and muscles.
Once your body senses crisis, it holds on to all stored fat, as a way to make sure it has energy available if the crisis is long-lasting.
This is especially true for breakfast – your body has been fasting and repairing all night, and now you want it to run around to all the things that make up your day with no source of fuel.
The best thing you can do is eat regularly – every 3-4 hours during waking hours. Meals and snacks or mini meals throughout the day will supply the fuel to keep you out of crisis mode.
When your body knows it’s getting fuel on a regular basis, it can burn up that energy stored on your hips.