By: Amanda Belo
There’s endless advice when it comes to losing weight and definitely no shortage of diet trends to hop on board with! While having endless amounts of information quite literally at your fingertips can seem helpful, that information can also be riddled with weight loss myths that sabotage your progress! Find out the most common weight loss myths getting in the way of your progress so you can leave them in 2018, where they belong.
Myth: No carbs, no fats, no dairy.
FACT: We talk about these food groups like they’re plagues, but the truth is that we need carbohydrates and fats in adequate amounts. When carbs and fats are cut, we often tend to replace them with sugary, processed, and refined foods since our bodies are searching for fuel.
Instead of labeling these foods as “bad”, view them as food groups that can be eaten in healthy moderation! Whole grains, fruits, nuts and legumes are sources of carbohydrates that will help fuel the body with energy while avocados, salmon and, olive oil provide healthy fats + health benefits in moderation. Dairy? It’s an important source of protein, calcium and vitamin D which are important for healthy muscles and bones. If you’re lactose intolerant, be sure you’re getting the calcium and protein your body needs from other sources.
Myth: I can eat anything as long as I keep a calorie count.
FACT: Nope! One downside of weight loss myths is that they tend to oversimplify. The “Calories In, Calories Out” equation doesn’t work nearly as well as people assume it does because not every calorie is the same. Eating a cheeseburger with french fries may not push you over your caloric intake for the day, but the nutritional value is slim to none. The unhealthy attributes, however, aren’t going to be missed by your body.
Remember: food is fuel, so don’t sacrifice the quality of food you consume just to meet your caloric goals. If you’re not taking in essential nutrients your body needs to function, you’re not doing yourself any favors in building a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.
Myth: I should skip meals to lose weight.
FACT: Skipping meals may cut your calories, but in the long run it will cause your body stress and can lead to overeating later on.
When you forgo meals, you miss opportunities to nourish your body with the necessary nutrients it needs for energy and strength. Skipping meals not only deprives your body of the energy it needs to keep you healthy and productive, but it may slow down your metabolism and increase cravings for cheap + easy energy (i.e. sugars and refined carbs). Kick one of our least favorite weight loss myths to the curb and plan healthy meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism going and your energy levels high!
Myth: Nothing healthy tastes good.
FACT: You may believe anything “healthy” tastes bad, but take a minute to think about why that belief exists! Western culture is accustomed to processed foods with added sugars, fats, and salt. These ingredients pack an unnatural amount of flavor into high-calorie foods that signal pleasure to your brain – and guess why these companies do this? Hint: it has more to do with the lining of their pockets than the benefit of your health.
Your taste buds may just need a reboot in order to taste the wide range of natural flavors! Don’t limit yourself to celery and lemon water. To really learn to enjoy healthy foods, broaden your horizons by looking into unique recipes that utilize fruits, veggies, and proteins from the many different cuisines around the globe! When in doubt, check for recipes here on the blog, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram!
Myth: Skinny people are healthy.
FACT: Just because you’re thin does not mean you have no health issues to worry about! You can’t tell what’s going on inside someone’s body simply by looking at the outside, and “thinner” does not equal better!
Regular physical activity and eating healthy foods that nourish your body is necessary for everyone, no matter what your height, weight, or build may be. Don’t make your goal to be skinny. It doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of your health, and that number on the scale doesn’t account for important aspects of your weight such as water and muscle. Instead, strive to create a lifestyle that allows you to feel good and sustain the healthiest weight for YOUR body!
Myth: Gluten-free is healthier!
FACT: Gluten-free has become quite the fad diet trend but, unless you’ve got celiac disease or thyroid issues, it isn’t doing you much good!
Going gluten-free does not mean you’ll start shedding pounds. Infact, many gluten-free foods and products are actually lower in fiber and higher in calories and carbohydrates! Instead of vilifying another ingredient, focus on cutting out the actual unhealthy elements from your diet so you can focus on fresh produce and lean protein.
Myth: Once I go vegetarian, I’ll lose weight.
FACT: This is the same idea behind the weight loss myths of the gluten-free diet, and we already know that those don’t work. Being a vegetarian also does not automatically mean you will lose weight.
While there is research and evidence that a vegetarian or plant-based diet can support a healthy lifestyle, it is still important to remain vigilant about what you’re eating! Those french fries for lunch may be meatless, but they’re still loaded in carbs, fat, and oil that aren’t helping you at all. It’s important to keep in mind that not every vegetarian food item is healthy, so spend your mental energy making sure you are taking in a sufficient amount of calories from healthy and balanced meals – meat or no meat.
Myth: Losing weight is the same for everyone and happens immediately.
FACT: Absolutely not! This is one of those weight loss myths we’re thrilled to be leaving behind in 2018!
Two people can exercise the same amount and intensity while also eating the same foods, but guess what? Your body is not a calculator! They’re still two different people with two different bodies, metabolisms, hormones, and genetics! All of these components (plus the many we aren’t mentioning in this post) affects the way your body metabolizes food and lets go of excess pounds. How your body is made potentially affects the way you lose weight. And, since no two people are alike, everyone’s path to a healthy weight is going to be different.
Myth: All I have to do is exercise to lose.
FACT: Exercise helps boost weight loss, but it isn’t the only component. In fact, you might even see the scale go up!
According to studies and experts, what you eat is far more impactful to lasting weight management. What they say is true: you can’t outwork a bad diet! In an interview with Reader’s Digest, Marjorie Nolan Cohn, MS, RDN of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics said that it’s easier to just avoid unhealthy food high in calories that are difficult to burn off.
Oh – and don’t worry if you’re seeing the scale go up when you’re diet is on-point and you’re hitting the gym. Building muscle mass may mean adding a few pounds, but these are the good kind!
Myth: I’ll lose more weight quicker if I work out intensely hard for hours and hours and hours and hours…
FACT: Cardio bunnies, we’re looking at you.
Good news: there’s no need to torture yourself in the gym! High-impact exercises and hours (and hours and hours) on the treadmill to shed pounds is one of those weight loss myths that just doesn’t seem to want to go away. Thankfully, this isn’t the only way to meet your weight loss goal, and certainly aren’t the best.
Per week, the Physical Activity Guidelines recommends 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity; 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity; or, an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity to maintain or improve health. Find examples of physical activity in varying intensity levels here.
Myth: Lifting weights will make me too big!
FACT: Unless you’re training to be the world’s strongest man or woman, lifting weights won’t make bulk you up like Schwarzenegger circa 1975 – promise! This is one of the weight loss myths you can absolutely kick to the curb. Free-weight or resistance band exercises, push-ups, climbing stairs, yoga, and other muscle-strengthening activities will actually keep you toned and strong. Plus, the added muscle will help boost your metabolism!
The Physical Activity Guidelines recommends adults do muscle-strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity involving all major muscle groups two or more days every week.
Cleveland Clinic. (2016, December 26). 6 Myths You’ve Ever Heard About Weight Loss. Retrieved from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/6-worst-myths-youve-ever-heard-about-weight-loss/
Laliberte, M. (2018, February 27). Diet or Exercise: The Final Verdict on Which Is Better for Weight Loss. Retrieved from https://www.rd.com/health/diet-weight-loss/diet-vs-exercise/
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2017). Some Myths about Nutrition & Physical Activity. Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/myths-nutrition-physical-activity
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2018). Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition [PDF]. Retrieved from https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/pdf/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf