Weight loss is hard. Not only are there huge lists of dos and don’ts, there are also hundreds and thousands of products, workouts, supplements, and cures that are on the market.
And, on top of all that, there are also an abundance of scams and myths that are not only ineffective, but can be harmful.
Not all these myths can be looked at and debunked, but below are a list of some of the most common ones and why they’re not true.
1. Snacking is Bad
So many people who want to lose weight associate weight loss with starving. While it’s true that many people overeat, losing weight doesn’t mean not eating. In fact, when starting new eating habits, it’s completely normal to feel hungry between meals.
Here’s where the myth comes in: At some point it was decided that snacking was bad for dieting. While it’s true that certain snacks are bad, there’s nothing wrong with grabbing a quick snack between meals.
Snacking between meals is a great way to get a little energy boost and improve concentration until the next meal.
And snacks are also good for decreasing the amount of food that’s eaten at meal times, so there’s less overeating.
In fact, many lifestyle coaches, nutritionists, and dietitians agree that having several small meals throughout the day is a great way to lose weight.
As mentioned above, the issue with snacking is based on the snack. Obviously, grabbing a bag of chips or a handful of cookies between meals isn’t healthy.
However, nuts, fruits, even carrot sticks make great snacks while keeping the amount of calories ingested low.
2. Consistent Diet and Exercise Keeps People Slim
As scientists and health professionals have learned more and more in the last few decades, a deeper understanding of health has developed.
While before it was thought that if a person ate properly and exercised regularly, they would be slim and healthy, this myth has now been discredited.
These days, there’s a better understanding of body types, bone structure, and genes. Some people, no matter how well they eat or how consistently they exercise, can’t be thin.
In addition to individual body types, there’s also the issue of metabolism and hormones. The body is a tricky thing and even the smallest thing can unbalance it.
And metabolism is something that slows down over time, so people will need to adjust their lifestyle accordingly.
Sometimes people will need more than diet and exercise to lose weight. They may need supplements, medicines, or, in extreme cases, surgeries.
3. Weight Loss is Targeted
Almost every health magazine, website, or book has said something about targeted weight loss. Whether it’s ‘lose belly fat’ or ‘get rid of arm flab’, there’s a myth circulating that weight loss can target specific areas.
This, unfortunately, is untrue. While muscle can be built up in specific areas, like the abdominal area or the arms, that doesn’t mean the fat will be burned from those areas.
Another problem with this myth is that people lose weight differently and in different areas. Some might drop weight in their face first, while others lose stomach fat first.
Saying that specific areas can be targeted to burn off fat often leads to disappointment in most people. Instead of celebrating their general weight loss, all they can see is that they didn’t lose the fat in the area they wanted.
4. Fats are Your Enemy
If you have been trying to lose weight you must have heard this over and over again, “stay away from fats because they will make you pack on more pounds”.
However, the truth is, not all fats are bad for you. Yes, saturated fats are unhealthy and can cause a lot of health problems, but on the other hand, monounsaturated fats are good for your health.
Research shows that monounsaturated fats like olive oil can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol as well as help reduce risks of heart disease and stroke.
Diets such as the Mediterranean diet, which incorporate good fats have been shown to not only be helpful to your health, but are known to aid weight loss.
Moreover, your body actually needs certain fats like omega 3 fatty acids to function to properly.
5. Carbohydrates are Bad
One of the first things people are told when they mention a change in diet is that they should avoid carbs. No pasta. No bread. These carbohydrate filled foods will only hinder the weight loss process.
However, this myth is only partly true. The true part is that certain carbohydrates will contribute to weight gain. Carbs that are over-processed or made from refined flour aren’t healthy and can sabotage your weight loss efforts.
On the other hand, not all carbohydrates is bad. For example, whole wheat bread is a carbohydrate, but because it’s made with real grains and is full of fiber, it can actually help weight loss. When it comes to carbs, it’s all about picking the good ones.