At the top of most people’s list of goals is the desire to lose weight but with so much information out there regarding how to do it, it’s important to be mindful of the advice you follow.
For this reason, here are 14 myths about weight loss you should ignore in order to be successful:
1. You’ll Lose Weight if You Skip Meals
While you may notice a quick drop in weight when you start to skip meals, this will not work for long-lasting and sustainable weight loss.
Some experts believe that skipping meals and “starving” yourself will trigger your body to go into survival mode and store more fat.
Most importantly, you do have to eat at some point and whatever weight you lose through meal skipping (which is probably bloat and water weight to begin with) will return once you begin consuming calories again.
2. You Can Spot Reduce Weight
Unfortunately, you can’t adhere to a specific diet to reduce weight on specific parts of your body.
When you do lose weight, your body drops fat all over. Many people will notice significant weight loss in their legs and arms when they start to lose weight, with belly weight often the last area to get smaller.
What you can do is use strength training to target specific areas of your body to build muscle and definition. While this won’t help you lose weight in specific areas, it can help give them a toned appearance once the weight comes off.
3. Cutting Out Sugar Will Help You Lose Weight
Cutting out sugar from your diet will help you achieve short-term weight loss goals but it won’t help in the long term.
Overall, most sugars have only 4 calories per gram so it’s all about moderation. Small amounts of sugar aren’t horrible but you do have to be careful of how much sugar you are consuming in processed and packaged foods.
4. Cutting Out Carbs Will Help You Lose Weight
Basically, if you cut something “bad” out of your diet, you will notice weight loss. But, again, this is likely water weight.
Carbs are not a diet devil! They do provide filing fiber that can help you slim down but, just like sugar, it’s all about moderation.
And you should be careful what types of carbs you are consuming. Processed carbs offer very little nutritional value to your diet while healthy carbs, such as whole grains, do.
5. You Can Lose Weight By Taking Supplements
If there was a magic weight loss pill out there that actually worked, wouldn’t we all be buying it?
Supplements are not effective in sustainable weight loss and can actually be dangerous for your health!
Always talk to your health care provider before using supplements. If you weight train, some supplements may be beneficial and multivitamins are okay if you don’t get enough essential vitamins and minerals throughout the day (although you should really focus on getting these through your diet!).
6. You Can Exercise the Fat Away
The reason why the CICO diet (Calories In, Calories Out) is catching on is that people are realizing that the simplest method of weight loss is to burn more calories than you consume.
However, you can’t just eat what you want and exercise the calories away. You would have to do some hardcore cardio to burn away a significant amount of calories.
But don’t shy away from exercise! Even though the majority of weight loss has to do with food, exercise can help boost your efforts. You will develop strength and muscles while improving your cardiovascular system.
7. If You Want to Lose Weight You Can’t Drink Alcohol
Again, this is one of those moderation things!
Obviously, over-drinking or regularly indulging in sugary cocktails is going to hinder your weight loss progress but, as long as you keep an eye on your calories, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy alcohols such as gin, vodka, and low-calorie beer.
8. Healthier Foods Cost More Money
Many people believe that healthier foods are more expensive than prepackaged and unhealthy choices.
However, if you start cooking at home with fresh ingredients, or swap out ingredients for healthier alternatives, you’ll find that it costs about the same – and sometimes less!
For example, you can buy cheaper packages of ground beef and mix it with cooked black beans. This will give you more “meat” to work with at a lower cost.
9. Eating Certain Foods Will Boost Your Metabolism
Metabolism is a chemical process that keeps your organs functioning normally so your body can do things like breathe, repair cells, and digest food.
This process requires energy but how much energy your body needs depends on a variety of factors such as your age, your size, your gender, and your genes.
There is little scientific evidence to support the idea that certain foods will “boost” your metabolism and help you lose weight.
10. Opting for “Low-Fat” or “Reduced-Fat” Products Will Help You Lose Weight
In order to label a product as “low fat”, companies only have to adhere to loose guidelines. Basically, they only have to contain less fat than their full-fat counterparts.
Plus, in order to reduce or remove the fat, companies often add unnatural substances to retain flavor and consistency.
If you do want to opt for low-fat or reduced-fat products to lower your caloric intake, check the label to see exactly how much less fat it has and if it has high levels of sugar.
11. You Can Lose Weight By Drinking More Water
Drinking more water will not help you lose weight. In the beginning, it may reduce bloat and help you drop a couple of pounds but it’s not a long-term weight loss strategy.
However, you should always make sure you are properly hydrated! Water is essential for your overall health and sometimes thirst can be mistaken for hunger. While the water itself won’t help you lose weight, it’s possible that drinking it instead of eating can.
12. Losing Weight is a Linear Process
So you’ve started making changes to your lifestyle to lose weight and in the first week, you lose five pounds. But the next week you only lose two. Then the week after that you gain three.
It’s totally normal for your weight to fluctuate up and down by a few pounds! You may be carrying more food in your digestive system or bloated (especially if you are a woman with menstrual cycles).
When you are working on losing weight, you don’t want to track your progress day-to-day. Instead, look at the general trend. If it’s going down, it’s working!
13. You Need to Eat Smaller Meals Throughout the Day to Lose Weight
A few years ago, this was the “big thing” in the weight loss world. Hack your metabolism by eating smaller meals throughout the day instead of three larger meals!
Eventually, science figured out that this was not effective for weight loss for everyone. As mentioned earlier, everyone’s metabolism is different so the key to weight loss is figuring out what works for you.
14. Avoiding Fast Food Will Help You Lose Weight
While most fast food choices are grossly unhealthy, there are many healthier options out there that you can grab on the go.
If you need to grab something quick during your busy day, be mindful of the calories you are consuming as well as the nutritional value the meal provides.