Weight Loss Myths


With all the thousands of websites and information on weight loss, it's hard to determine fact from fiction. Due to the information overload on weight loss it can get very confusing.

You are not alone with the confusion.

So, here are 10 myths about weight loss to help you sift through the facts and fiction.

#1 You Dont Have to Count Calories

While this weight loss myth does have some truth to it, the fact is that losing weight is all about calorie consumption and calorie expenditure.If you take in more calories than you expend, you will gain. 

But if you expend more calories than you take in, you will lose weight. 

Remember your Basil metabolic rate (BMR) is working even when you’re not active.

So it doesn’t mean that if you eat 1,000 calories you must run, jog or walk to burn the full 1000 calories. 

Just make sure you’re burning more calories in the day than you take in. Here's an article to help you cut calories and lose weight.

Many weight loss programs will tell you don’t have to count calories and the reason for this is that their program is doing it for you. 

For instance, Weight Watchers does this through their points systems, and programs like Medifast have pre-packaged foods that provide you with the right amount of calories for your weight loss goals.

#2 Avoid Carbrohydrates

This weight loss myth has many people skipping their daily required carbohydrates. According to the USDA "MyPlate" your portion of carbs should be about 1/4 of your plate.

Like in the first myth about weight loss, it’s not the carbs that will make you fat, it’s all about calorie intake and expenditure.  Remember a calorie is a calorie, whether it’s an ounce of protein or carbs. 

Some foods are more dense in calories (like fatty foods) so will have more calories per ounce – so use in moderation (but remember, don’t eliminate all fat – you need some (see myth #3)

In fact, starchy foods such as potatoes, breads and pasta are some of the fastest burning foods and provide the body with ready to use fuel. 

Experts recommend that your diet includes these types of foods for fuel and should make up approximately 60% of your calorie intake.  

Be sure to make your bread and pasta’s whole wheat as this will provide a higher nutrient intake than white or processed flour foods.

#3 Avoid all Fats

There are confusing weight loss myths and this is one of them. With all the confusing ds about low fat and non-fat foods you would assume you have to avoid all fats. However, some fat is needed for normal body function.

Since your body cannot produce some essential fatty acids on it’s own, it needs some help from your food intake.  Also, fat helps give you that feeling of being full and satisfied.

So what fats are the right fats?

The healthiest fat sources will come from natural plant, fish or animal sources, preferably with little or no processing. 

Fats come in three families; Mono unsaturated, Polyunsaturated (Omega 3 and Omega 6) and Saturated fats.

Each type of these fats in their natural state are the good fats and provide the body with some essential nutrients.

Foods containing Omega 3 can help speed up your metabolism but Omega 3 has many other health benefits. 

Where fats become bad for you are when they are processed and no longer in their natural state.

These Trans fats, or the “bad fats” are what you want to eliminate or reduce in your diet plan.

#4 Cut out All Sweets

This is good advice when trying to lose weight since these tasty treats are usually higher in calories. However, you can have your cake and eat it to....so to speak.

chocolate cakeOne reason most people fail at a strict diet or fall off the wagon is due to giving into their cravings.

If you deny yourself too long and don't satisfy the craving, you are setting yourself up for failure.

So don’t eliminate the treats totally, but rather eat them in moderation.

If you deprive yourself of certain foods that you crave, chances are you will fall into the “binge eating” pitfall.  Check out this article on chocoholics if this is what you crave.

Remember the first weight loss myths, a calorie is a calorie. So just make sure when you do have that occasional snack, do it in moderation.

Find out what your snacks say about your personality.

#5 Don't Diet.... Just Exercise

Well if you’ve already read my exercise myths, then this will feel like dejavu.  The fact of the matter is, you cannot just exercise and achieve the results you’re looking for. 

weight scale and dumbbellsYou must monitor both the food intake and your activity level to be successful.

Remember, you want to consume fewer calories than you burn, so you have to know what the consumption is versus the exenditures.

While just focusing on exercise may get you this calorie deficit, you have to track both food and exercise calories to ensure you are going to lose weight.

#6 Don't Snack Between Meals

This myth might be due to interpretation of "snacking".

If you are munching on potato chips, snacking on chocolate candies or grabbing a hot fudge sundae between meals, then the above statement would be true and not a myth.

However, if your snacking is really just another small healthy meal, then the above statement would be a myth.

Experts are now saying the best method is to eat smaller meals more often. You should aim for eating 5 or 6 times a day of healthy foods such as fruits, veggies, lean meats, etc.

Eating smaller, healthier meals more often is a great metabolism booster.  By eating more often, in smaller portions, you are keeping your metabolism active. 

Additionally, you reduce the risk of getting “cravings” because you are not letting yourself get too hungry and therefore you won’t feel the need to binge.

So go ahead and snack between meals but choose the healthier options and avoid the foods high in fats and sugars.

#7 The Lower the Calories, the Faster I will Lose

woman eating tomatoOf all the weight loss myths, this is the one I feel is the most important to really understand.  

Although basic weight loss is about calories in and calories out, be careful not to go too low on the calorie intake. 

Your body’s natural instincts will take over, putting you into “starvation mode”. 

Your body will start to store the fat for future potential fuel and your metabolism will slow down to conserve the body’s energy. 

Make sure your calorie intake is at a healthy level to lose weight and keep your metabolism working.

#8 Don't Eat Late

woman holding clockAlthough many people believe this to be a weight loss tip, it is actually found more often in weight loss myths.

Remember, it’s all about calories in and out. So, if your late night (healthy) snack doesn’t put you over your calorie intake, then it won’t affect your weight loss.

But beware, a lot of late night snacking can be a “binge” eating because you’ve been craving something all week or day. 

If this is why you are snacking, just make sure it’s in moderation.

Of course, if you are eating right before you climb into bed and your body is at rest, these calories do not have a chance to be burned away with your daily activities.

So this myth does have some common sense and is not a bad rule to follow. So try avoiding eating right before bed. Try to get in your snack at least an hour before bed.

#9 I Can Eat All The Negative Calories Foods I Want

While the above statement is fairly accurate, the reason this is listed in the weight loss myths is to clarify that no foods have negative calories.

Negative calorie foods are those foods that require more energy to digest than the amount of energy in the item itself.

So the net effect would be that you burn more calories than you consumed with these negative calorie foods.

While these foods, such as celery, apples, pickles, grapefruit and more are healthy choices, they do come with some calorie content.

Given that these foods require more energy to digest than what is consumed, you would be safe in eating as much as you like.

However, still track the total calories consumed and calories burned to ensure you lose weight.

Another myth to understand is about fat free and sugar free foods. While some people believe that fat free or sugar free means calorie free, this is not always the case.

While there are some food items, such as diet soda, that have zero calories, they also do not offer any nutritional value. You want to focus on foods that provide nutritional values while staying within your calorie intake allowance for weight loss.

#10 Fad Diets Work

In fact they do, for a short time. Read your goals again – is your goal just a short term weight loss, only to put the pounds back on?  Probably not.

atkins logoWhat you are looking for is that lifelong weight loss. Once you’ve lost that weight, you want to keep it off. 

There are some extremely low carb or low calorie diets that do have a good success rate like the Atkins Diet or Medifast.

Just make sure you have a good maintenance plan so that it can become an eating style you can live with. Remember, it’s a lifestyle change – no a short term weight loss.

If you enjoyed reading these weight loss myths then check out these exercise myths for seniors.

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