6 Weight Loss Myths You Need to Quit Believing
The fitness and health world can present a whole lot of confusion. It’s full of weight loss myths and tricks that can quickly lead you down the wrong path toward your goals.
You know what I’m talking about.
“Try this quick 30-day diet and finally lose those excess pounds,” or “wear this vibration therapy ab device and get the flat midsection you’ve always dreamed of!”
It’s enticing. It sounds easy. And a quick fix appeals to everyone. We all want the fastest solution possible - who doesn’t?
Ultimately, like any other industry, the fitness and weight loss industry aims to sell. The supplement industry alone is worth over 122 billion dollars. This means that many products or programs will say anything to get you to buy (not all, but definitely some).
So, what lies about weight loss should you quit believing? We’ve got six!
Myth #1: Avoid Carbs to Lose Weight
Yes, a low-carb or ketogenic diet may help you lose weight. In fact, research shows this is the case. Yet, you don’t necessarily need to avoid carbs to lose weight. In fact, for good metabolic health, you might want to include carbs in your diet.
Alright, so what the heck does it even mean to be metabolically unhealthy?
Metabolism refers to all the chemical reactions within your body. It’s basically how well your cells create and use energy. If you aren’t making or burning energy efficiently, you’ll likely run into some health issues and dysfunctions.
Because this means your cells aren’t functioning properly, which escalates, creating issues within your body’s systems and overall health.
Now get this: Sugar (or carbs) are your body’s primary food source. Certain organs, like your brain, function a whole lot better when sugar is used for energy. Other ways of creating energy are more inefficient and may place stress on the liver. And this can lead to so many problems that you don’t want.
In other words, you don’t need to avoid carbs. Rather, you should focus on what sources you’re getting your carbs from. For instance, fruit and root vegetables are much better sources of carbohydrates than any pre-packaged or boxed item ever will be.
Myth #2: Cardio is the Fastest Way to Lose Weight
For example, the average Krispy Kreme doughnut is about 200-300 calories. Most individuals might burn this off by jogging for one hour.
Now, imagine this:
You strength train a few days a week. You put on some muscle. Muscle burns more energy than fat. This could potentially mean you burn hundreds more calories within a day - without stepping foot on the treadmill.
Plus, the body adapts. This means it will slow down your metabolism as you increase your cardio (to some extent). It doesn’t want to lose energy. It wants to hang onto it for safety and survival reasons.
In turn, cardio could have diminishing returns. Instead, stick to a routine where you do some cardio and some weight training. Try walking each day and then try performing resistance training 2-4 times a week.
Exercise helps more than just your body. Read: How Exercise Can Improve Your Mental Health
Myth #3: You Need to Lose Weight
Sometimes, you don’t actually need to lose weight. It might actually come down to altering your body composition or paying more attention to how you feel rather than how much you weigh.
As far as myths about exercise and weight loss go, the emphasis on the need to lose weight can really mess with some people’s heads (I know it tore my 20s apart where I chased an unrealistic expectation of being paper-thin - glad those days are over!).
Instead of chasing after a number on the scale, focus on how you feel.
Are you using the bathroom once a day? Are you constantly fatigued? Are you sleeping well? Are you moody? These can all be signs that you may be missing nutrients in your diet - and rather are metabolically unwell.
Further, some lean and muscular individuals may even be considered “overweight.” Yet, looking at them, you might not think so. This comes down to a higher muscle mass, which adds weight!
Myth #4: The More Exercise, the Better
More isn’t always better. Like with anything, there’s a threshold.
Mostly, this comes down to listening to your body. Sure, being tired might sound like an excuse, but if you’re actually physically tired, should you be running that 10 km today, or should you save it for tomorrow when you have more energy?
Saving it for a day when you have the right amount of energy is likely better.
Overexercising can lead to a heightened state of stress. In fact, too much exercise is associated with making bad and impulsive decisions. There’s something to it. Too much movement causes adverse effects. Likewise, not moving enough has adverse effects as well.
It’s about finding a good balance for you and your body.
After all, exercise is a stressor. It places demands on your body. In an already stressed out body, this can occasionally be a bad thing. Be careful here and try not to hit the gym seven days a week. Aim to have a rest day in between your workouts.
Disliking exercise is normal! Check out: How to Stay Healthy When You Don’t Like Exercising
Myth #5: Dairy & Sugar Should Be Avoided
As we’re right on track with dispelling diet myths and weight-loss propaganda, let’s slide right into this common belief. Let’s make a pact right here and right now to quit demonizing certain foods, yes? Great!
Dairy and sugar aren’t necessarily bad.
Like anything, if you consume large quantities of them, ill effects can take place. When people avoid eating dairy, they stop producing the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose. This can lead to problems with digestion.
Yet, by slowly re-introducing dairy back into your diet, you can signal to your body to start making that enzyme again. Plus, you’ll obtain all that wonderfully easy-to-digest calcium and protein that your body definitely needs.
Meanwhile, sugar is a great energy source for your body. However, when found in low nutrient and high-calorie sources, you may end up feeling not all that great. But don’t blame sugar. It’s likely all the other additives and other nasties in those foods, which is probably why the diet soda weight loss myth right now is rampant.
When you replace high-calorie drinks with zero-calorie drinks, yes, you may lose weight. When you put your body in a caloric deficit, weight loss usually happens. But again, weight gain or an inability to lose weight isn’t sugar’s fault.
Instead, aim to consume sugar from whole foods, like fruits. When you do it this way, sugar isn’t bad at all.
Myth #6: As You Age, Weight Gain is Inevitable
This is one of the biggest and most common weight loss myths out there. As you age, muscle mass declines. This happens partially due to a slowing of metabolic activity and partially due to a lack of inactivity. Many individuals tend to be less active as they age. Thus, they gain weight.
As you age, it’s critical to maintain a physically active lifestyle and ensure you eat a balanced and nutritious diet.
Weight gain doesn’t need to happen as you age. You can love your body well into your golden years. You have to keep up with the habits that get you there.
Don’t Believe Everything You Read!
Dig into the science of weight loss. Begin understanding the processes that occur beneath the surface. Gaining knowledge regarding how your body works is one of the best things you can do.
Surprisingly, the Western diet is very deficient in various nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Reading labels and knowing what you’re putting in your body versus what it needs can help you not only forward your goals but also improve your overall health.
Learn more about the health and fitness industry: The Top 5 Exercise Myths Debunked