Don't let these weight loss myths fool you and deter you from your goals.
By Katie Ringley
Weight loss can be super confusing at times due to all the different information presented to you on every website or magazine that you read, making you believe there are certain rules to follow. These rules are not always factually backed up by science so you want to make sure that you know how to avoid falling into these traps. You want to be educated and informed to make the best, safest, and healthiest choices for your weight loss journey. Here are some myths that you may have heard that needs debunking:
1. You shouldn’t eat carbohydrates to lose weight.
Carbohydrates are needed for the essential functioning of vital cells and organs as well as for muscle, energy, and metabolism. If you completely avoid carbohydrates, then you will probably experience weight loss. However, this process for losing weight can lower your metabolic rate so that it becomes even harder in the future to lose weight.
Avoiding carbohydrates will also cause you to rebound in weight gain when you reintroduce carbohydrates into your diet. Normally, someone would not be able to avoid carbohydrates for the rest of their life so it is essential to reduce carbohydrates in a moderate, realistic, and efficient manner to conserve metabolism and muscle.
2. You should eat tons of fruit.
On the opposite side of the pendulum, carbohydrates should be moderated. I have seen crazy weight loss detox programs where you only eat 17 bananas all day. That would mean that you intake approximately 510g of carbohydrates, and no protein. This makes little sense for weight loss, and you probably won’t feel satisfied or full. You should realize that a balance of fats, carbohydrates and proteins is essential for all the different functions of the body as well as weight loss, and that you should moderately eat all three.
3. Starving yourself will get you results faster.
First, starving yourself isn’t a smart move because this can lower your metabolic rate, making it harder and harder for you to lose weight in the future. I feel as if this is not taken seriously enough and many women end up in their fifties saying that they have to eat 800 calories just to lose one pound. This is from years of crash dieting.
Keep your metabolism strong by dieting appropriately and your body will thank you for the rest of your life. Not to mention, if you starve yourself for a diet, you are going to be miserable, weak and your body will most likely start producing more cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that can lead to water retention. As a result, you could end up not losing any weight.
4. Low fat and low sugar is healthier.
If you see something that is low in fat or low in sugar, it doesn’t mean that it is the healthier option. The same thing goes for any product that is a processed meal. Usually the product has a chemical alteration and added preservatives that keeps it edible. This also doesn’t mean that the calories are necessarily lower. Make sure to check the label on the product to see if there are any excessive amount of ingredients added. While you may want to save time by grabbing a microwave “healthy” cuisine, you would be much better off making yourself a meal to avoid the calories and chemicals.
5. You should stop eating 3 hours before bed.
Physiologically, our bodies do not mandate that we need to stop eating 3 hours before bed. Your weight loss is going to be an overarching caloric intake deficit that is created over time. Therefore, if you are eating within these requirements every single day over a period of time, no matter if it is is in the morning or at night, you will continue to lose weight.
6. You should always avoid fat.
Fat is another macronutrient essential for brain function and membrane protection. Many products contain exorbitant amounts of fat so be aware of that before eating. However, avoiding fat altogether is the wrong choice. You need it for survival. Fat also provides the most satiety than any of the other three macronutrients, though it does add 9kcal/g.
7. The more cardio you do, the more weight you will lose.
Low impact cardio like jogging is going to be counterintuitive to your long-term weight loss goals. In the beginning, you will see changes based on this amount of cardio; however, your body will become accustomed to this as a baseline requirement and you will have to do the same amount of cardio to stay at the desired weight.
If you are not dieting correctly and are also lifting weights, you run the chance of decreasing muscle mass by doing excessive amounts of cardio. Decreasing your muscle mass can cause a decrease in metabolism, which is the last thing anyone on a weight loss plan wants.
8. Supplements are good for weight loss goals (fat burners, carb blockers, fat blockers, etc.).
Many times supplements are a money gimmick and have absolutely no science or regulations; they should be taken with precaution. If you are thinking about taking some sort of supplementation for weight loss purposes, first check with your doctor and read the literature to make sure that this supplement does in fact do something for you. Many times, supplements are not going to help to you, but will only hurt you and waste your time.
9. Genetics are the reason that you can’t lose weight.
It would not be correct to say that genetics do not matter in weight loss. They absolutely matter, and it will be the predisposition of what your metabolic rate may be. However, this is not an excuse to not try. Losing weight works the same way in every person with bioindividuality in caloric intake needed and metabolic needs. If you begin a weight loss journey, but don’t see any results, you should adjust your caloric intake or quality of foods you are consuming wand not just assume that it’s not possible for you just because your mother or father never tried to lose weight.
There is going to be information from all over the place guiding you in different directions and telling you what different rules to follow. Not everything that you read will lead you in the right direction and it’s important to realize what works for you will not work for everyone.
Katie is a pharmacist from NC. She moved to New York City with her husband and two teacup yorkies for an adventure. After completing her doctorate in pharmacy last May, Katie decided to pursue nutrition coaching. Katie specializes in creating custom macronutrient profiles for clients based on their individual goals. You can find Katie on her blog Katiesfitscript.
Main Photo Credit: Sebastian Duda/Shutterstock.com and Jogging Photo Credit: Maridav/Shutterstock.com.