10 Weight Loss Myths Everyone Thinks are True
Many people are currently trying to lose weight. And while weight loss can be great for your health, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about how to do it safely and healthily. Let’s talk about some of the biggest weight loss myths you’ve probably come across—and that too many people believe.
Weight Loss Myth #1: Diets Work
The weight loss industry is worth around $70.3 billion, and it just keeps rising. Weight loss companies are great at making you think their diets work. However, studies show dieting actually doesn’t usually work long-term.
Think about it: If these diets worked long-term, everyone would be walking around at their goal weight. Plus, fad diets usually don't teach you about healthy, realistic eating. And most of them promote unnatural eating patterns that can lead to emotional eating or full-on eating disorders.
Instead of approaching weight loss with a diet mindset, focus on lifestyle changes that make you feel good and healthy for a lifetime.
Myth #2: All Calories Are Equal
Understanding calories and where they come from is important for getting healthier and losing weight. But it’s better to emphasize the quality of food over quantity.
Before strictly counting calories, consider the nutrition of each food you eat. Is it a whole food? What amounts of fiber, healthy fats, protein, or “slow burn” carbs does it contain? A diet soda looks better, calorie-wise, than a green smoothie, but which one is healthier?
Myth #3: Weight Loss is All About Willpower
There are many factors involved in weight loss success or failure—and you shouldn’t have to white-knuckle it every time you sit down to eat.
Weight is harder to lose and keep off for some people, and we have to take into account environment, genetics, and changes in metabolism. It’s about making changes that fit your situation and gets you as healthy as possible for your body.
Myth #4: Carbs are Bad
Low-carb (and even no-carb) diets are all the rage right now, and there is evidence that they can help with weight loss. But that doesn’t mean carbohydrates are bad or make you gain weight. In fact, the right types of carbs are very good for most people.
Focus on whole food carbs like whole grains and sweet potatoes instead of refined carbs like sugars, white bread, and pastries.
Myth #5: You Need Products or Shakes to Lose Weight
The diet industry is good at making you think you need certain products to successfully lose weight—but that’s one of the biggest weight loss myths.
Just because a food is marketed as low-carb, low-fat, gluten-free, or sugar-free doesn’t mean it’s healthy or beneficial. Your best resource for long-term weight loss is whole foods you can buy straight from your local grocery store and farmer’s market or grow in your own backyard.
Myth #6: It’s as Simple as “Eat Less, Move More”
You’ve probably heard a version of this saying, but it’s overly simplified and most weight loss experts say it’s not actually helpful. Again, it’s better to focus on quality foods and balance rather than obsessing over portions and calories.
Myth #7: You Must Look Skinny to Be Healthy
The thin ideal is not everyone’s reality. And you don’t have to look a certain way to benefit from a healthy lifestyle or improve your health. Even just a 10 percent weight loss can lead to noticeable changes in someone’s blood sugar control, blood pressure, and more.
Related: 5 Health Numbers to Know for a Healthy Heart
Myth #8: You Have to Give Up All “Bad” Foods to Lose Weight
Allowing yourself to enjoy the foods you love in moderation can actually benefit your weight loss journey. Over-restriction can just lead to binge eating and other unhealthy behaviors, which counteracts your efforts.
Look for ways to make healthier versions of your favorite meals or snacks, and allow yourself a 10 percent window of fun foods amidst the nutritious ones.
Myth #9: The Scale is King
Water weight and other factors can drastically influence the number on the scale, so fluctuation is natural. If you notice an increase or feel like the scale isn’t budging, it doesn’t mean you aren’t making progress. Give it time, try not to weigh yourself more than once a week, and use other benchmarks for progress, such as waist measurements, how you feel, and your energy levels.
Myth #10: You Must Do Intense Workouts to Lose Weight
You don’t need to kill yourself at the gym to lose weight. In fact, what you eat is more important for losing weight than your workout routine.
The key is finding exercise you will continue to do long-term. Think about types of movement you actually enjoy doing—and do more of those.
Don’t let these weight loss myths fool you! If you’re currently trying to lose weight, remember the importance of nutrition, rest, self-care, and a balanced approach to health and weight loss.
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