Written by Megan Ayala. Last Updated: February 22, 2021
Weight loss, or the lack thereof, is a sensitive subject to a lot of people. This is mainly because so many people try to reach a target weight without much success. And why is the success rate so low? Because there are too many myths about weight loss going around. Too many people are getting exploited by flash diets and commercials based on doing one simple thing to lose a mass amount of weight quickly.
Well, before we start digging into some of these myths and exploit them for a change, it is important to understand a few things about weight loss. Firstly, every person is different, which means a single strategy will only be effective for a certain number of people. Hence the reason for getting to know your body and paying attention to how it reacts. Secondly, losing weight too quickly can have severe consequences given the shock you put your body through. And finally, it takes more than just swallowing a pill every few hours to effectively lose weight.
With this in mind, let’s begin to check out the validity of 7 common weight-loss statements, and whether you should buy into any of them.
Our Top 7 Weight Loss Myths
1. Losing Weight Is Easy
Everybody knows someone who can eat whatever they want, whenever they want. And when these individuals gain some weight, which never seems to happen, they miraculously get rid of it within the blink of an eye. So, it does not come as a surprise that some people firmly believe that losing weight is an easy process. But remember what we said during the introduction? About people being different? Well, this is where this particular statement loses any and all credibility.
The truth is that weight problems can be traced back to several problematic factors. For example, people with a certain genetic makeup (DNA) are more vulnerable to weight gain. In other words, they have to work so much harder to lose every pound. And what about the metabolic system? The time it takes your body to digest something might take longer than it does for others. There is also the matter of lifestyle choices in general.
Simply put, there are too many variables involved to ever say that losing weight is easy. For some, it’s a breeze. For others, it can feel like an on-going nightmare because all their efforts barely bring them results.
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2. Losing Weight is All About Exercise
This statement is a little more complex because there is a degree of truth behind it. But at the end of the day, if you believe the statement as-is, then you are likely to end up very disappointed. Just to clarify before going any further, exercise is one of the best things you can do if your goal is to lose weight. Getting your heart-rate up and sweating does help to control weight. But exercise is by no means the only thing .
The mistake people tend to make is to associate their weight problem with just one element. But as mentioned before (and it will be mentioned again later) there is more than just a single problem. If you are serious about losing weight, you have to take into account your entire lifestyle. Out of all the health-related decisions you make on a daily basis, how many of them add to the problem?
For example, do you stick to a regular sleep routine where you get an average of 8 hours of quality rest every night? Because even something as ‘mundane’ as sleeping can see you lose one or two pounds. Do you survive on fast food or do you cook nutritional meals at home? If you work on the second or third floor, do you use the elevator or take the stairs? Thus, when it comes down to it, losing weight is NOT just about the exercise.
3. All Calories Are Equal
This is one statement that is particularly convincing because at face value it is true. But when people tell you that all calories are equal, how deep into the research do they go? Technically speaking, all calories contain the same amount of energy. However, calories start taking on different characteristics once they hit the body. And depending on which food the calories come from, they are going to take different biochemical pathways through your system.
Why do different pathways matter? For one thing, certain pathways are going to render the energy within calories useless. So, it is a novel idea that you can eat anything as long as you keep track of the calories, but this is where it stays – a novel idea. The reality is the source of the calories matter, and they do not all act the same once they get inside your system.
4. To Lose Weight You Have To Eat Breakfast
If you have never heard any of the statements on our list so far, we are willing to bet you are familiar with this one. At some point in your life, you got the advice to start eating breakfast to help with losing weight. This advice is usually backed with old selected studies that show eating breakfast kick-starts your metabolic system. People also tend to believe that eating breakfast helps to prevent you from over-indulging meals that follow, such as lunch and dinner.
Unfortunately, this statement was officially drawn into question when a 2019 study was published in the BMJ regarding weight loss and breakfast. The study has been peer-reviewed and extended over 3 decades, which means the results are as credible as you can get.
As it turns out, people who eat breakfast are more likely to consume more calories on a daily basis. In fact, the researchers discovered that those who ate breakfast tend to weigh more than those who skipped it. Of course, this does not mean breakfast is unhealthy or should be skipped. But if your focus is to lose weight, do not base it on eating breakfast.
5. Carbs Will Make You Fat
Among the statements we have, this is one of the most dangerous. And yet, there are still people who firmly believe in low-carb diets. But what does the research say behind this statement? Because when you look at it from another point of view, nothing could be further from the truth.
What would you say if you hear that carbohydrates are the type of fuel your body prefers over anything else? And what would your response be when you hear that carbohydrates are only fattening when you eat too much? In other words, you can get fat on broccoli if you eat enough of it. At the same time, reducing valuable carbs will also reduce your ability to think straight and act fast.
Once again, it all comes back to ‘what’ you put in your body. There is nothing wrong with eating carbs if they come from the right sources. At the same time, you should be mindful of the quantity. So instead of taking some very healthy meals off your menu simply because they contain too many carbs, focus on finding quality carb sources and limiting what you eat.
6. You Have to Starve Yourself to Lose Weight
This is yet another dangerous myth that too many people take seriously. And it cannot be stressed enough that missing meals is like slowly killing yourself. There is never a situation where preventing your body from getting critical carbs, nutrients and minerals can be considered a good thing. Not even if you have a lot of weight to lose. When you stop eating, you essentially sabotage your body. And this will lead to emotional bouts of depression, a significant lack of energy, and other bad things you do not want to experience.
But what is the solution then? Well, it is pretty simple. Instead of cutting out meals completely, reduce portion sizes and adopt mindful eating habits. For example, chew at least 20 times before swallowing your food. With every bite, pay attention to the taste, texture, smell, or whatever else grabs you within the moment. Also, put down your knife and fork between bites. Stop rushing yourself and give your stomach time to assess whether it is full.
Through mindful eating habits and making portions smaller, you can lose weight and still maintain your sanity. More importantly, you do not have to starve yourself in the process.
7. Healthy Foods Are More Expensive
Why do certain people think healthy foods are more expensive? There isn’t a clear answer to this question because the statement doesn’t hold any substance. Remember that healthy foods are not exclusively available in special packages at a specific part of the store. While fruits can get expensive, vegetables are usually very affordable. It all depends on where you shop and whether you do your own cooking.
The fact is healthy foods range in prices like everything else, and there is no evidence to prove that you are going to pay more if you want to start eating healthier meals. Keep in mind that even the way you prepare food plays a big part in how nutritional it is going to be. Hence the reason for staying away from fast-food and brushing up on your cooking skills.