The internet offers us advice in every area of life, some good, some bad, some downright impractical. The bad advice and myths have never more obvious than in the area of weight loss. There are several myths, misconceptions and half-baked advice about weight loss, most of which are either unproven or proven not to be effective.
It is good to separate fact from fiction on your weight loss journey and know which advice to follow and which to discard.
Here are the top 10 weight loss myths you’ve in the past adopted that might be hindering your weight loss success:
- Weight loss takes a lot of time and effort: There is the school of belief that you have to overhaul your daily routine in its entirety if you are to achieve weight loss. Because of this belief, a lot of people never even get started on their weight loss goals, waiting for a less hectic time in their lives. Most people will never find that time and will choose not to put in the effort thus required.
What you should do: Understand that life will never really settle down and will always be filled with unpredictable events. So now is the time to get started, whether you really have the time or not.
- Exercise cancels out the effects of a bad diet: There is the myth that you don’t really have to watch what you eat or have a healthy eating diet if you’re exercising a lot. This is so wrong because the number of calories that you burn from exercise is often low when compared against the calories you can avoid by changing your diet. For example, one frozen margarita delivers around 300 calories, and you need nothing less than thirty minutes of exercise to burn that off.
What you should do: Never ever overeat or adopt a bad diet because you are an exercise fanatic. To live a healthier life, combine good exercise with a healthy eating diet.
- No gym time, no long-lasting results: There is a myth that you have to hit the gym hard if you are to get any real results from exercising. This approach often backfires because hitting the gym too hard, especially if you have not been an exercise buff in the past is asking your body to instantly adjust to a rigorous new routine. Keep this vigorous activity up and you can get injured or get burnt out, in which case you won’t be able to participate in any form of exercise any longer.
What you should do: Start with the exercises that you enjoy, and work gradually to build muscle and tolerance.
- All fats are born bad: There is a myth that all fats are bad and should be totally cut out of a diet for it to be considered a healthy diet. This is not so true. There are good fats out there whose job it is to help cut your appetite as well as enhance calorie burning. This good fat can be found in olive oil, nuts and seeds, avocados, coconut butter, and grass-fed animal foods.
What you should do: While you should definitely discriminate against some fats, it shouldn’t be all.
- All kinds of sugars are bad: This is not in any way true. What you should avoid is processed sugars like table sugars. Meanwhile, naturally occurring sugars are good for the body when taken in moderation.
What you should do: Use natural honey in place of table sugar and go for naturally occurring sugar found in fruits and dairy. But only in moderation.
- Healthy food doesn’t taste great: We have eaten so much processed foods that their hidden additives have messed up our palates such that healthy food is considered not great tasting by many. But this is not true. Whole, healthy foods are utterly delicious if you will work to retrain your palate by gradually cutting back and substituting packaged foods with whole foods.
What you should do: Aim to replace one processed food per day with a whole food. For example, chili beans for a slice of pizza. Then you can substitute more and more until the majority of your meals is healthy.
- You must never cheat on your diet: Some people believe that if you cheat on your diet once, by let’s say eating one hamburger after two weeks of healthy eating, you have already lost the battle against obesity. So, what happens is that once someone cheats once, or lapses once or twice, he believes he is lacking in willpower and is never going to get back on the right track. So, he just continues to eat the junk food. On the contrary, most successful diets are the ones where you build a couple of cheats into your weekly eating plan so that you can enjoy your meals more without feeling too deprived.
What you should do: Even if you are on the strictest of diets, schedule one treat for yourself every week to avoid feeling too deprived of all the good things you used to love.
- Skipping meals helps to cut calories: When you skip meals, you are likely to become hungry and cranky and pack on even more calories when you do sit down to eat. You are most likely to overeat and make terrible food choices when starving.
What you should do: Never skip breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- If you read food labels carefully, you should be okay: Food labels lie. A 100-calorie snack pack could actually be more like 120 calories, so if you are counting calories based on packaged foods, you are most likely off and are eating more calories than you think.
What to do: Eat less of processed foods. And when you do eat processed foods, add an extra allowance of about 20 calories to what the package says you are eating.
- You cannot fight obesity caused by genetics: Not entirely true, because you can still fight that genetic tendency with a healthy diet and adequate exercise.
What to do: Resolve to make better choices in food than your parents did, as some obesity can be due to poor family eating habits rather than genes. Combine this with regular exercise for better results.