The world of health and fitness can be complicated. Sifting through various workout regimens and diets, all promising results, gets exhausting. On top of that, it doesn’t help that everyone has their own opinions on the best way to lose weight. Ask 5 different people the best way to lose weight and you’ll get 5 different answers.
There certainly isn’t just one way to lose weight. It depends on your lifestyle, health, your own preferences and other factors. However, there are certain pitfalls to avoid. For the most part, these common weight loss myths/ideas/advice/etc will do nothing but hinder your long term success.
While you are on your weight loss journey, be sure you don’t fall prey to these 6 common lies and mindsets.
“I work out so I can eat whatever I want”
Oh, the lies we tell ourselves. This first lie often comes up when you overindulge or binge on junk food to satisfy a craving. Instead of acknowledging the misstep and taking steps to prevent it from happening again, you just tell yourself that you’ll workout extra hard the next day. This is ok every once in a while (everyone has a slip up and everyone gives into cravings from time to time) but if it starts to become a regular habit, you are doing nothing but hampering your success.
While working out is important it doesn’t negate the food you eat. Sure, you can eat junk and workout while maintaining a calorie deficit but regardless of how you try to twist it around, you are still putting unhealthy food into your body. If you continue to feed your body a lot of processed, sugary, fat filled foods it will have an effect on the body. Do you really want to deal with the consequences of eating a lot of unhealthy food that doesn’t nourish the body? This is not just about weight…it’s about wellness too. If you want to lose weight, let the majority of what you eat be healthy choices and don’t rely on extra exercise to cover your indulgences. Plan your indulgences and cheat meals so that they work with your overall goals.
“Healthy food is too expensive”
The myth of healthy food being too expensive it a bit convoluted. Relying on processed food like Ramen noodles, prepackaged meals and the McDonald’s dollar menu is not going to cost you more than eating organic, GMO-free vegetables and meat. You can’t argue that, but it just isn’t that simple. There are 2 things to consider about the price of food that go beyond money:
- How much you will need to eat to feel satiated and satisfied/
- How much the food affects your health in the long run.
See, the problem with cheap food is that you often actually spend more money because it simply isn’t filling and you end up with serious cravings from an unsatisfied body. Processed foods just can’t satiate your appetite like healthy, whole foods because of a lack of nutrients and fiber. Secondly, eating junk is likely going to take a toll on your body which means you will end up spending the money you “saved” on doctor’s visits and medications instead. (More info on the health affects of junk food and fast food.)
You don’t need to go buy the highest quality organic fruit or stock your freezer with the best grass-fed beef. That would be ideal but it’s extremely expensive, especially for someone on a tight budget. Instead, buy the best quality food that you can afford and do your research on sites like Fooducate.com. Use your grocery store’s weekly ads to find discounts or sales, and look online for coupons. Visit farmer’s markets and check out your local butcher shop- you may be surprised at how much you can save by shopping smart.
“My family is overweight so I’ll always be fat”
Another lie that is often just used as an excuse is blaming genetics for being overweight. Genetics do play a role in body type but more often than not it is environmental manipulation that causes a child to become overweight like the rest of their family. If a family is overweight or obese from bad diet and lack of exercise, naturally children in the household will grow up with those same unhealthy lifestyle habits.
Studies, like this one published by Harvard, explains that hereditary problems like obesity do not mean that a person is destined to always be overweight. Although many people who use the excuse of genetics will not like to hear it, it simply isn’t true that they can do nothing to become healthy. Study after study show that a healthy diet and regular exercise will help combat environmental hereditary issues like obesity. If you have a history of obesity, examine the habits you’ve learned that contribute to you being overweight. You can’t change your genes, but you can change your habits and live your healthiest life.
“I’ll skip meals to help me lose weight”
Skipping meals seems to be a common technique used by people who believe it’s a quick way to drop those extra pounds. In theory, it seems that preventing the ingestion of calories would cause you to lose weight but this simply isn’t true in the long run. Instead, you put your body into a mode where it will likely hold on to any fat it can to protect you from starvation. Sure, you can do a lemon water cleanse or eat very sparingly for a week or two and lose weight…but it’s not likely to stay off because you won’t be dieting in those ways for a whole 6 months or a year. When you begin eating food normally again, your body will want to store food because it thinks that the famine could happen again.
A study by Ohio State University showed that restricting food, aka skipping meals, caused participants to increase their fat deposition, reduce their insulin sensitivity and increase the tendency to gorge on unhealthy foods. So, not only does skipping meals inhibit weight loss, but it also causes other numerous problems.
The best way to maintain healthy weight loss is to eat healthy food regularly. Note: Intermittent fasting has some validity but you must research that subject for yourself as it is not as simple as just skipping lunch or dinner.
“Men won’t find me attractive if I lose weight”
Some women believe that losing weight and becoming healthy will make them less attractive to men. This is a bit of a tricky subject to approach since it has a lot to do with personal and cultural preferences around attraction. Many women enjoy having curves or a full hourglass figure and fear that becoming thin will make them feel less feminine or desireable.
When considering your level of attraction you must remember that your health is by far more important than what any man thinks. Beauty truly is in the eyes of the beholder and don’t forget that confidence is sexy! Many women find that when they lose weight and tone up, they feel healthier and happier. As a result they are far more confident in their appearance.
This is not to say that all overweight people feel bad about themselves or lack confidence. That is certainly not the case. However, when you’ve wanted to lose the pounds, become more active, improve your health, etc…it just makes you feel good to have accomplished your goal of being a healthier you. It shows in your being.
If you are concerned that losing weight will make you less attractive to your husband or loved one, speak with them about it. Anyone who loves you will support your decision to improve your health and life.
“I just need to take weight loss pills”
Out of all of these weight loss lies, this final one can be outright dangerous. The popularity of weight loss pills, particularly the over-the-counter kinds, goes to show you how many women believe that supplements and pills are the answer to losing weight. Unfortunately, this simply isn’t true.
A researcher at Oregon State University developed a meta-analysis compiling numerous other studies findings on the subject of weight loss pill success. Not surprisingly the researcher found that there is no research evidence support the fact that weight loss pills can cause significant weight loss. On top of not being effective, these weight loss pills can cause severe dehydration, migraines, upset stomach, increased heart rate and insomnia.
For the sake of your own health, avoid weight loss pills altogether and focus on a healthy diet with doctor recommended supplements.
There is no special secret pill, plan or technique to losing weight and keeping it off. As much as a “quick fix” is so tempting, it takes hard work and dedication to reach a healthy weight. If you prefer following a specific diet plan and/or workout regimen, really do your homework and consult your doctor to ensure it is a good choice for you. The answers are out there, but you have to be willing to do the work to change your life. Just remember, you are worth it.