8 Common Myths about Weight Loss

8 Common Myths about Weight Loss

Let’s face it, everyone has a tip, suggestion, or guaranteed way to lose weight.  A quick search of the internet will tell you that there are seemingly endless opinions, programs, products, and schemes designed to help you lose weight.  The problem is, most of it is nonsense and just doesn’t work.  There’s a lot of bad information out there and we’re here to help you cut through it.  If you’re truly on a journey towards weight loss, you need to be able to find the information that will truly help you.  Here are 10 common myths and misconceptions.

  1. All calories are created equal

A calorie is quite simply, a way to measure energy.  Calories are all the same, whether it comes from a piece of pie or a piece of fruit.  One calorie is one calorie.  However, not all calorie sources have exactly the same impact on your weight.  Sound confusing?  Different foods travel through different metabolic pathways in your body, and this can mean that they very different impacts on your hunger and also the hormones that help to keep your body weight stable. For example, a protein calorie will impact your body differently as a carb.  If you replace in your diet fat and carbs with more protein, you will likely see an increase in your metabolism and you’ll also see reduced appetite.  These are good things.  You’ll also find some calories to be more filling than others.   Real, whole foods tend to fill you up faster than those “empty calories”

  1. Weight Loss is always linear

Weight loss is more like a life long journey than a quick trip.  It’s not always linear.  If you were to chart your weight loss, it’s likely to look a little bumpy with some hills and valleys, gains and losses.  This is normal.  What’s important is that you are trending down over time.  If your scale shows you went up a pound, this doesn’t mean you’re losing the war… there are a lot of things that can impact daily weight such as carrying water.  Women especially can see fluctuations due to natural body processes, especially during their menstrual cycle.  It’s normal.

  1. Supplements are the answer

There is a huge industry behind medical weight loss supplements.  Some have been proven to help but many others are snake oil at best.  How can you tell the difference?  One way is to evaluate how bold the claims are the product is making.  If they’re promising “too good to be true” results in a ridiculous amount of time, you can typically count on that product being a scam. There are some supplements that do work, but your best approach here is to consult a medical weight loss specialist and let them help you choose something that will work for you.  There’s no magic pill in a bottle.  You’ll still need to watch what you eat and exercise. 

  1. Obesity has nothing to do with biology

Obesity is complicated and many factors can contribute to your weight. Some people would want you to believe that your genetics and biology have no impact, but that’s simply not true.  It does, and some people are just more predisposed to be overweight.  Your body has many ways it regulates weight and for some people, these things have problems which make it very difficult to lose weight.  Surely we’ve all known someone who never exercises and eats whatever they want and still stay skinny.  If we all could be so lucky!  The important thing to remember here is that you need to know your body and learn what works for you. You should ignore what works for others to large degree because your body is your body… unique and perfect as it is.

  1. Exercise more and eat less.

If you want to burn fat in your body, you need to make sure you are burning more calories than you are consuming.  By this logic, it seems like the translation here is to make sure you eat less and move more.  That should cause weight loss automatically, right?

Well, in theory, yes, and if you commit to this lifestyle you’ll likely see results but if you have a very serious weight problem this could be more difficult. In people who are more obese it’s common to regain any weight loss due to the physiological and biochemical factors in play. Telling someone who is morbidly obese to eat less and exercise is like telling someone with severe depression to cheer up.  It’s not that simple.

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  1. Eating fats is what makes you fat

We’ve been told our whole lives to eat less fat, right?  Let’s look at that.  Fat provides your body with around 8 calories per gram.  Compare that with 5 calories per gram when you’re dealing with proteins or carbohydrates. Fat is calorie dense and you’ll find it in lots of junk food and sweets.  But, if your calorie consumption is within a healthy range and balanced, eating some fat is not going to make you fat. In fact, diets that are generally higher in fats but low in carbs have been proven again and again to cause significant weight loss.  Sure, you want to avoid lots of high calorie sweets and junk foods (because yes, this will for sure make you fat) eating some healthy fats in your diet is not a big deal and is in fact good for you in a well balanced diet.

  1. Fast food is always fattening

Can you eat healthy at a fast food restaurant?  Not easily, but it can be done! More and more restaurants have started to offer choices to their customers that are more healthy and well balanced.

Maybe skip that double cheeseburger and try out the salad.  Maybe sub a grilled chicken sandwich for a fried chicken sandwich.  Can you try a side salad instead of the fries?   Some fast food restaurants offer lots of healthy choices.  Chipotle is one chain known for this.

  1. Skinny people are healthy and fat people aren’t.

Your overall health is unique to you and you can’t always judge a book by its cover.  It’s true that being obese does increase your body’s risk of some diseases such as type 2 diabetes, some heart conditions and cancers.  But that’s not the whole story. Many people who are considered technically to be obese are actualy considered to be metabolically very healthy, and there are skinny people by that same measure who have serious health problems.  Looks can be deceiving and they don’t always tell the whole story.

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