Most people will be watching their weight at some point in their life, whether it's to drop major pounds or just a couple here and there. Some of us are watching our weight pretty much all the time. You'd think the information out there about weight loss would be simple and straightforward on account of science and all that, but the fact is that it isn't.
For one thing, new studies come out all the time that counteract something that a previous study said. For another thing, the weight loss industry is an industry, so people make money by convincing dieters that there's a hot new way of eating or product in the market. Here are some common myths about weight loss that you shouldn't believe.
13 That A Pound Equals 3,500 Calories
This might be an accurate assessment in some situations, but it isn't something that you need to go by. You probably have a friend who never gains weight no matter what she eats, so in her case, not eating 3,500 calories might not make her gain a pound. Different body compositions have different metabolisms. Not to mention that not all calories are created alike. No one is going to try and claim that 500 calories of cookies have the same effect on your body as 500 calories worth of celery. Sugar spikes the blood sugar and creates more hungry when it crashes, while plant fibers fill you up and prevent hunger by stabilizing the blood sugar. What you eat matters.
12 That Eating Healthy Is Expensive
Compared to a taco that's practically free, some healthy foods might seem a little expensive, but when you're cooking from fresh ingredients it can actually be really cost effective. Plus when you're eating foods that are nutrient dense and unprocessed, they are going to fill you up better than cheaper foods thanks to their high content of healthy fats, proteins, and carbs. A large pizza might be cheap, but if you were eating chicken and veggies you might be eating a mere fraction of the overall food volume.
11 That You Can Work Off Everything You Eat At The Gym
Now to be clear, you can absolutely burn a ton of calories at the gym. However, some research has found that people with high activity levels don't actually burn more calories than people with moderate energy levels, because the body sort of caps out on its calorie burn. Basically this means that you're better off just skipping a candy bar then trying to spend an extra hour in the gym maybe burning a couple hundred calories if you're lucky. It's key to stick with a regular fitness regimen for a lot of reasons, but it might be even more key to watch what you eat.
10 That Alcohol Has No Place In A Healthy Diet
This is just not true. Not only can moderate amounts of alcohol like alcohol be good for the heart, but some studies have even found that people can control their diets and skip dessert if they substitute in a glass of wine after dinner. For some people, having the wine is enough to curb their craving for food. Other studies have found that moderate wine drinkers are actually thinner than people who abstain from alcohol. Just keep in mind that moderate means like one glass a day, not one bottle a day. It would be nice if it was more, I know.
9 That Eating Late At Night Makes You Fat
This is sort of a complicated one, but no, eating at night is not going to necessarily make you fat. For one thing it depends on what time you get up in the morning and eat the rest of the meals in your day. For another thing, it depends on what you're eating before bed. A burger yes will leave lots of fats floating around in your blood stream to be stored. A protein shake though, no that will just keep you satisfied through the night. If your starving you're not going to get a good night's sleep, which will then throw off your hormones that affect your hunger levels, and make you cave crap the next day. So if you're truly hungry it's better to have a snack before bed than not.
8 That All Carbs Are Bad
People, people, carbohydrates are what the body uses for energy! We just have to feed it healthy sources of carbs as opposed to unhealthy refined ones, which makes a huge difference in how they affect our bodies. Carbs that come from processed sources like white bread have all the good fiber stripped away, so they hit the body like simple sugars and cause spikes and crashes to our blood sugar. But healthy sources of carbs like whole grains, veggies, and beans in their unprocessed state, are full of fiber to help sustain the energy rush that carbs can provide for us.
7 That Fat Makes You Fat
There was once a time when people really believed that fat made you fat, which is what spurred the whole low fat concept. But like carbs, it depends on what kind of fat you're eating. Healthy fats are not only not going to make you fat, some research suggests that they can help keep you thin down by cutting down on the amount of fat that you store in the body. Plus, they keep you feeling satisfied. Healthy fats come from things like avocados, olive oil, nuts, salmon, etc. We get into trouble when we eat the fats in processed foods. Additionally, a lot of food labeled low fat is still high in calories, and sometimes even has extra sugar or salt added in to adjust for the flavor you lose from the missing fat, so it's not necessarily good for you.
6 That Losing Weight Is A Linear Process
It might be beneficial to your process to have a consistent weight loss thing going on, but the truth is, that the body can fluctuate in pounds for a variety of reasons, especially if you're a woman going through the phases of your menstrual cycle. Some people prefer to weigh themselves to track their progress, but if you get discouraged by the days that the scale doesn't budge (or heaven forbid jumps up a pound), then you might be better off going by how your clothes fit than weighing yourself everyday.
5 That Weight Loss Supplements Are The Key To Success
There are some natural supplements out there that seem to have some effect on weight loss, but for the most part many of them are marketed that way and aren't necessarily going to be your secret to success. There are a lot of products that might be able to support your weight loss journey, but nothing can do the work of a healthy diet and a steady fitness habit. If you're truly eating right and burning calories, you won't actually need to rely on diet pills at all. If it's energy that you're looking for you might be better off grabbing a pre-workout coffee than popping a pill.
4 That Only Certain Diets Work
Again, a lot of diets are created as a part of the money making weight loss industry. Someone might write a compelling book about why a certain vegetable is ruining your life, while the next person writes an equally compelling book that said vegetable is the only thing you should be eating at all. The truth is, that a healthy, balanced diet is going to get you a lot further than any crash or very strict diets out there. If you cut out certain foods or food groups altogether it can be very challenging to always eat perfectly, and when you're in a situation where your all protein meal isn't available, you're more likely to give up and get off the healthy diet altogether. There are always options when you understand moderation.
3 That You Can't Ever Have Dessert Again
Moderation is the key to lasting weight loss success for a lot of people, and for some people, allowing a cheat day or cheat snack is actually going to help them keep the weight off. If you deprive yourself, you might start craving things more, and then be more likely to binge when you're at happy hour and a plate of fries drops down in front of you. If you are "allowed" to have fries and just practice moderation, you can have just a few without ruining your diet. If you aren't allowed, they become a forbidden fruit and we know how that goes.
2 That Sugar Free Foods Will Help You Lose Weight
Technically sugar free foods might be low or free of sugar, but they are generally made with artificial sugar, which is not the dieter's dream that it sounds like. Artificial sugar makes your body thinking it's eating some sugar, but without the calories to go along with it, the body can actually start to crave even more sugar. Some studies say that artificial sugars weaken "a predictive relationship between sweet taste and the caloric consequences of eating." So you don't get your sugar fix from eating fake sugar, it just makes you want more food.
1 That Losing Weight Has To Be Hard
For some people weight loss can be challenging, depending on genetics and where their current habits are. But for the average person, weight loss shouldn't be seen as an impossible or highly daunting task. The hardest part is probably committing over and over each day to living a healthy life. But once you've got that part under control, it really doesn't have to be that complicated. Eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full, and choose the healthiest, most natural sources of food possible, while still allowing yourself the occasional treat.