Misinformation is in high supply in the weight loss industry. One of our missions here at Weight Loss for All is to distribute helpful and accurate weight loss information while steering clear of all the noise that ultimately causes more harm than good.
So let’s go over some of the biggest myths in weight loss in an attempt to help clear the air and prevent bad information from coming between you and your ideal weight.
“I can’t lose weight, I just have bad genes.” Ahh the ol’ genes cop-out. Everyone has a range of possible weights and no one’s only possible weight involves carrying around tens or hundreds of pounds of excess body fat. Period. Genetics do play a role in body weight but it’s not as big of a factor as plenty of people seem to think it is. Read more about genetics and weight loss.
Diet sodas and artificial sweeteners are a-okay. Artificial sweeteners might contain zero calories but they are terrifyingly bad for you. Just how terrifying? Aspartame, a common sweetener marketed under the brand name NutraSweet, caused brain lesions, tumors, seizures and death in lab animals prior to receiving FDA approval (thanks largely in part to Donald Rumsfeld, yes that Donald Rumsfeld; read that article, it’s fascinating stuff and will get you off of artificial sweeteners in a snap).
Some studies have shown that artificial sweeteners can lead to more weight gain than sugar. The chemicals found in artificial sweeteners change the neurotoxins in the brain in a way that leads to increased appetite. The other associated health risks of these sweeteners deserve an article all their own which we will release soon.
A low fat diet will certainly result in weight loss. This is a common and unfortunate fallacy in dieting that monitoring the grams of fat you intake will result in weight loss. While it is true that avoiding fat can help with weight loss, any weight loss that occurs as a result would be only because the dieter was operating at a daily calorie deficit. One gram of fat contains 9 calories so if you cut the fat out of your diet you can certainly go a long way towards reducing your caloric intake. But there are plenty of ways to avoid consuming fat while still loading up big time on the calories and thus never getting anywhere in terms of weight loss. As an easy example, sugary sodas are fat free but if you drink a dozen of these each day you’ll probably be pretty unlikely to see any substantial progress towards weight loss. In short, reducing calorie intake is how weight loss occurs, not fat intake.
Body weight is all that matters. Many people become understandably transfixed on the number on the scale while they are losing weight. But there are other factors like body composition that are equally important to consider. For example, if your weight remained the same but you lost 10 pounds of fat while gaining 10 pounds of muscle, you would be in much better overall physical health despite not actually having achieved any weight loss. This isn’t to say your body weight doesn’t matter. It matters a great deal. But try to give importance to other factors like body composition and body mass index to achieve your ideal body. This will help to avoid growing discouraged when the number on the scale doesn’t line up with how good you feel about yourself!
Carbohydrates must go! Again, calories are what matter. Any diet telling you that the secret to weight loss is cutting out carbohydrates or fat are just detracting from the real story which is that you need to burn more calories each day than you consume. Weight loss is pretty simple when you get right down to it!
You’ve got to work each muscle group individually. Many people go to the gym and try to break down their training into tiny segments. “Okay, today I am going to work on my biceps and calves.” But this isolation-minded approach to weight training does not mirror how your body functions in daily activities where we use multiple muscle groups simultaneously. This is what makes exercises like squats and deadlifts so great: they make your whole body strong! So skip the wimpy calf raises and get serious about doing workouts that target multiple, major muscle groups.
I can lose all the weight I want to by next week or next month! Unfortunately, these fast weight loss schemes are a lot like get rich quick schemes. While it may be theoretically possible to lose, say, 30 pounds in 30 days, it wouldn’t be very advisable for your overall health nor would it be an enjoyable experience. Being too strict about your dieting can actually be counterproductive because you set yourself up for all sorts of unrealistic expectations and then become depressed and revert back to old habits when you can’t reach your objectives.
Try to think of weight loss with more of a long-term mindset. In the grand scheme of your life, a year is really not that long, so if that’s how long it takes for you to reach your ideal weight, who cares? Slow and steady wins the race. Work each day to consume fewer calories than you burn, even if just 300-500 at a time, and eventually as the months go by you’ll grow happy noticing your body transform to the one that you deserve to have!