Many weight loss myths often sound like they should be true but then, when you dig a little deeper, you realize that if you follow this piece of advice, you may actually end up gaining rather than losing weight. Many myths have been around so long that they are believed by almost everyone who has ever tried to lose weight!
In this article, I want to share with you the five most common weight loss myths and explain to you why they aren’t true.
1. Diet food can help you lose weight
Go into most supermarkets and health food stores and you will inevitably come across diet foods. These are low fat, low sugar, or low carb versions of regular foods. Low-fat ice cream and sugar-free cookies for example. These foods are sold (and bought!) on the premise that they can help you lose weight. MYTH!
Diet foods often contain only slightly fewer calories than the original food or contain ingredients that could actually lead to greater weight gain. Fat-free cookies, for example, contain more sugar than the regular version and weigh in with virtually the same number of calories.
Diet foods also result in something called “the health halo effect”. This simply means that many of us will eat more of the diet food than the regular version because we mistakenly believe it’s better for us. This soon leads to weight gain.
2. Skipping meals is a good way to lose weight
Eating fewer meals means you will eat fewer calories, right? Skip breakfast and then eat normally for the rest of the day for example. While this kind of makes sense, the reality is that skipping a meal usually leads to overeating at the next meal or grabbing an unhealthy snack to stave off hunger and cravings. Eating unhealthy snacks or overeating at your next meal will wipe out any potential benefit of skipping meals.
Instead of skipping meals, consider replacing a meal with a diet-friendly, low-calorie smoothie. That’s the very essence of meal replacement diets, my meal replacement shake plan here, which is something I believe are a better alternative to skipping meals.
3. You need to do a lot of exercise to lose weight
Exercise goes hand-in-hand with healthy eating for weight loss but a lot of people do a lot of exercise but cannot lose weight. Why? Because they are STILL eating too much!
Often, the more exercise you do, the hungrier you are likely to be and so the more you will eat. However, while it’s very hard to burn off 500 extra calories, it’s very easy to eat 500 extra calories. Many people also reward themselves for exercising with junk food.
Exercise is important but 30-minutes per day is probably all you need. If you are doing a whole lot more than that and still not losing weight, it’s your diet that is the problem. If you fix your diet, you won’t need to do hours of workouts and weight loss will happen quicker and easier.
4. Slimming pills are a safe way to lose weight
Slimming pills are often sold as being an easy way to lose weight without dieting or exercise. Sadly, these magical substances do not work. If a pill had been invented that magically melted fat, it would be front page news! At best, slimming pills will give you energy because they are loaded with caffeine and may slightly reduce your appetite but, in reality, a cup of coffee and an apple with have exactly the same effect – only cheaper and healthier.
Losing weight comes down to one thing – creating a calorie deficit. To do that, you need to eat less and exercise a little more. This calorie deficit will force your body to burn fat for energy.
5. Losing weight means you need to starve yourself
Many diets produce weight loss simply because they starve you. Very low calorie diets DO result in rapid weight loss but they also cause hunger and cravings. Hunger and cravings will eventually beat willpower and leave you reaching for high calorie foods and regaining any weight you have lost. Only five percent of dieters reach and maintain their weight loss goals by following super-strict diets. The rest of the dieters either drop out after just a week or two or regain the weight they lost soon after.
Healthy, low calorie meals and snacks are essential to stop you from feeling hungry and make sure that cravings are kept to a minimum. Don’t be in a hurry to lose weight and don’t try and starve yourself thin. Instead, eat healthily, eat a little less, be more active, and you’ll lose weight and keep it off. There is no need to starve yourself.
When it comes to diet and exercise, the only thing that you can really be certain of is that there will be new weight loss schemes with every new day. By keeping informed – and having healthy skepticism when something sounds too good to be true – you will be better prepared to navigate the never-ending supply of conflicting weight loss advice.