Kinda frustrating, isn’t it?
How nutritional experts can’t agree on anything.
You wonder why they can’t make healthy eating simple for us.
You just want to feel good and be healthy. And maybe shed a few extra pounds or kilograms.
But you’re fed up with all the uncertainty.
Every time you read an article on healthy eating, you think – ‘This is good info, but tomorrow there will probably be another self-appointed guru who will tell me the exact opposite.’
This leaves you with a feeling of distrust.
Keeping up with nutritional trends feels like keeping up with the latest mobile phones. By the time you’ve purchased the latest, there’s already another version out on the market. You always feel one step behind.
It’s not only that – you’re constantly being fed with distorted facts and weight loss myths that don’t help.
I don’t blame you. With all the contradiction, confusion, and misinformation, I would also say ‘Screw it!’ and go back to my normal routine.
How can health authorities expect us to make lasting changes if the goal is always a moving target? No normal person can keep up with all these ‘rules.’
And most of these ‘rules,’ just don’t work.
Here are ten particular weight loss myths that bother me. If you’re struggling to lose weight or be healthier, chances are it’s because you’ve followed one of these myths.
Let’s dig in…
10 Weight Loss Myths That You Should Debunk
There are numerous myths about weight loss that keep circulating. Here are some of them you should not believe. This will help you avoid failure and achieve your weight loss goals.
Weight Loss Myth #1: Everything In Moderation
The problem with this approach is that it’s too subjective. Moderation means different things to different people.
Another issue is you tend to forget your indulgences. Quick, what did you eat two weeks ago for dinner? It’s hard, right?
And indulgences can add up after a while. So if you do eat something unhealthy, take a picture of it with your mobile phone. You now have a benchmark on which to improve upon.
In my experience, I’ve found the ideal starting ratio to be 90/10. Meaning 10% of your calories can come from unhealthy foods. This is a good baseline to start off of. You can then tweak based on your results.
So if you’re still struggling, you might want to consider dropping the unhealthy food to 5% or even 0% until you reach your weight loss goal.
Weight Loss Myth #2: You’ve Inherited Bad Genes
It’s true that genes play a role in your health. But there’s another aspect that plays a bigger role.
We do inherit genes from our parents. But do you know what else we inherit from them?
Habits and behaviors.
Maybe your parents always ate out on a particular day. Maybe they made certain unhealthy dishes on certain days. Maybe they didn’t care much for fruit and vegetables.
Try and identify these inherited habits so you can improve them or better yet, replace them with healthier ones.
Weight Loss Myth #3: Carbs Are The Devil
I’m all for reducing processed sugar and flour intake. But to put healthy foods like sweet potatoes, brown rice, fruit, and beans in the same camp as white sugar baffles my mind.
It’s like saying there’s water in soft drinks, so water must also be bad for you. It’s too distorted to make your decision based on one specific nutrient.
Food is a packaged deal. All the foods I mentioned earlier are indeed carbohydrates. But they also have fiber, vitamins, minerals, water, antioxidants and phytonutrients.
Food is so much more than a single macro-nutrient. Demonizing carbs is one of the worst weight loss myths and mistakes.
Weight Loss Myth #4: Move More
Don’t get me wrong. Exercising is a must for a long and healthy life. But to give advice saying you can ‘out-exercise’ a bad diet will lead to disappointment.
Timewise, exercise doesn’t give you a lot of bang for your buck. On average, running a marathon burns only 2,600 calories. That equates to three-quarters of a pound.
Studies show that physical activity has gone up since the 1980s. And that our activity level matches that of wild mammals.
I’m not saying to stop exercising. I’m merely saying don’t rely on it too much for weight loss. Or think you’re struggling with weight because you’re not moving enough.
Rather experiment with your diet instead of exercising longer or harder if results are undesirable.
Weight Loss Myth #5: I Need To Fix My Diet
Well kind of, but not really. If you want to change your eating behavior, it has to be from the inside. Meaning, first to alter your mental habits because those will dictate your actions.
Did you know that 45% of what you do every day is dictated by your habits? Habits are powerful. If your plan to be healthy doesn’t include making lasting healthy habits, the change will be temporary.
Pick one unhealthy habit and think of a healthier habit to replace it with. If you eat out for lunch, try making larger dinners, so you have leftovers for the next day.
After you’ve solidified your new healthy habit, you’re ready to tackle the next one.
Weight Loss Myth #6: Sex Burns Calories
Sex does burn calories. But not as many as you think. You might have heard that sex can burn as many calories as running on the treadmill.
But according to the New England Journal of Medicine sex burns only 3.5 calories per minute. So if your sexual activity lasts for 10 minutes, you’re burning only 35 calories.
So if your partner says they have a headache and they’re not in the mood, you can reply that you have the perfect cure.
Weight Loss Myth #7: Count Your Calories
The problem with counting calories is that it works against your body’s natural hunger mechanisms. Have you experienced hunger, cravings, and being binge-prone when on a restrictive diet?
Rather count your fiber intake. Fiber supplements don’t count, only the fiber from whole foods. Fiber is only found in plants like fruit, vegetables, intact grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.
All calorie apps should be able to give you your daily fiber intake. Aim for at least 40 grams a day. Studies show that our ancestors consumed over 100 grams a day. So more is always better.
Weight Loss Myth #8: Artificial Sweeteners Are Better Than Sugar
Good on you for reducing your sugar intake. But if you’re replacing it with artificial sweeteners, you might be doing more harm than good.
These zero-calorie sweeteners lead to overeating.
Zero-calorie sweeteners work like a restaurant with slow service. Imagine you order food at a restaurant. You’re already ravenous, and the waiter notes your food will be ready in 30 minutes. The time passes but still, no food. The waiter assures you, it will be ready soon.
After an hour of waiting, still nothing. The waiter once again promises that the food will be out soon. But you think to hell with it. You’re so hungry that you go next door to the fast food joint and eat all the junk food your heart desires.
If you eat zero calorie sweeteners, your mouth tastes sweet and tells your brain and stomach: “Heads up guys! Some sweet food heading your way soon.” The brain and stomach get everything ready, but no calories actually arrive.
So, after a while, your brain says: “Screw it! We want sweet food, and we want it now!” So you overeat on unhealthy sweet foods like chocolate or candy. Rather please your sweet tooth with Mother Nature’s candy. Fruit.
Weight Loss Myth #9: Hunger = Weight Loss
You don’t need to starve yourself to see results. You can enjoy your food without restriction and still lose weight. For only so long can your willpower override your hunger drive.
Studies show that your stomach has stretch receptors which trigger satiety. It works the same way as refueling your car. Have you noticed how the fuel nozzle stops the flow of gasoline when the tank reaches capacity?
Your stomach works in a similar way. As soon as there is enough volume in your stomach, the stretch receptors sense it and shut down your hunger drive.
The most efficient way to do this is by filling up on vegetables. Vegetables are calorie dilute. This means they take up a lot of space, without many calories. A perfect combo to curb hunger whilst losing weight.
Aim to cover half of your plate with vegetables like leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, or other non-starchy vegetables.
Weight Loss Myth # 10: Healthy Food Is Expensive
I guess it depends on your definition of healthy foods. You don’t need to invest in expensive superfoods to be healthy. There are alternative options.
For example, some of the healthiest and longest living populations in the world consume a lot of beans and intact grains.
Per calorie – and per nutrient – these are some of your cheapest grocery options. And if that doesn’t sway you, here’s another thought to ponder. You are going to spend money on your health. You either can spend it now on produce, or spend it later on pills.
On top of that, you are 100% correct when you say you don’t have time. But it’s not about having time. It’s about making time.
The fact that you don’t have time to cook, grocery shop, exercise or sleep more only means one thing.
You haven’t yet developed the habit of doing it.
So analyze your day. Can you cut back on one television show? Can you spend an hour less on social media? Can you spend less time reading the news?
Wrapping it up
Why is health important? Well, another word for health is time. And time is your most limited and valuable asset. You have to fight for it. Nurture it. Protect it like a mother would her newborn baby.
The healthier you are, the more productive you’ll be at work. The longer you’ll live. The better your quality of life will be.
Health is an investment in time. And if you’re not investing, you’re gambling. And we all know the house always wins.
So ask yourself. Can I put myself first? Because if you don’t, nobody else will.
Your health is counting on you.
Over To You –
What are some of your biggest frustrations when it comes to losing weight or eating healthy? Do you have any myths about weight loss to contribute? Please share your comments below.
Posted on: January 30th, 2017
Last Updated on: January 30th, 2017