Shedding excess weight is one of the best thing’s individuals can do for their overall health, but it can be a little bit tricky to find the right way to lose weight. There is lots of misinformation about losing weight floating around on the internet, and most individuals have probably been exposed to at least a few weight loss myths.
Some misconceptions are harmless, but believing others can end up significantly impairing, stalling, or even reversing weight loss.
5 Popular Weight Loss Myths Busted
Here are the top weight loss myths individuals need to avoid falling for if they want to shed pounds.
1. All Calories Are Equal
At the most basic level, weight loss is all about consuming fewer calories than you burn in a single day. The idea that all calories are equal makes it easy to think you can just eat whatever you want to as long as you ensure your calories stay under a certain amount.
However, it’s far more difficult to achieve your weight loss goals if you are eating the wrong thing. For example, eating foods with artificial sugar stimulates levels of ghrelin, the hormone that makes your body feel hungry while eating calories in the form of protein will keep you feeling full for longer.
Because different types of calories have different effects on your overall sensations of hunger, certain foods can make you deal with cravings that could sidetrack your weight loss progress.
In most cases, you are better off eating nutritious, balanced meals instead of just eating thousands of calories worth of junk.
You need the nutritional benefit to keep your body healthy, and a healthy body is a great asset when it comes to losing weight.
2. Skipping Meals Helps Weight Loss
Individuals who think they can make up for a huge meal by just skipping their next one need to rethink their strategy.
The concept of skipping meals helps weight loss may be true if you select an intermittent fasting schedule because this involves rescheduling your meals and always eating at regular times. However, randomly missing meals here and there actually has the opposite effect.
If your body has come to expect food at a certain time, not eating then can send hunger signals into overdrive. You may end up eating up to twice as much as you normally would at the next meal, therefore negating all the food you skipped previously.
This is particularly common when individuals skip breakfast or lunch, because dinner foods tend to contain more calories than the typical breakfast and lunch meals in the first place.
Skipping breakfast also increases the risk of binge eating on junk food later in the day.
3. Losing Weight Is Linear
Many individuals expect to make a diet plan and then steadily lose a set number of pounds each week. However, weight loss does not typically work this way.
It is more common to lose a large amount quickly before weight loss tapers off and possibly plateaus for a few weeks and then drops a little more.
This happens because you drop a lot of water weight when you first start a diet, and progress will stall because you are burning fewer calories as you get smaller and have less mass to support.
Believing losing weight is linear can be dangerous because you can get frustrated when you are doing the same thing you have been doing but do not see any results.
If you hit a plateau, try to recalculate your total daily energy expenditure with your new weight to see if you need to cut more calories. Otherwise, try to keep things consistent and remember the lack of weight loss may be due to water weight.
4. Radical Exercise and Diets Are the Only Ways to Lose Weight
When individuals think radical exercise and diets are the only ways to lose weight, the idea of weight loss tends to be a little overwhelming and scary.
Try to remember people actually have more success losing weight and keeping the pounds off when they make minor lifestyle changes instead of jumping into serious diets.
Consistency is key to weight loss, and drastic diets or intense exercise can be hard to maintain. You might find you get burnt out after a few weeks of eating nothing but lean chicken breasts and spending hours in the gym each day.
A change you can sustain comfortably for long periods, such as sipping herbal tea instead of soda or cooking your own lunch to bring to work, is more likely to result in permanent weight loss.
In fact, slower methods can actually be more beneficial because they put less stress on the body and prevent loose skin.
5. Eating Healthy Is Expensive
One of the biggest building blocks between you and getting healthy may be the idea that eating healthy is expensive. When you see celebrities selling pricey weight loss products and mentioning they eat nothing but organic produce, the idea of shopping for healthy food can be intimidating.
However, this does not have to be true. Remember, food like chips and frozen dinners are actually overpriced for the amount of nutrition you get. In addition, you often need more frozen meals than you think.
Buying dried goods like rice and beans allows you to create satisfying and healthy meals for under a dollar, and you can often get eggs or other sources of protein for affordable prices too.
You also save because cooking this way gives you more portions than premade meals. Plan your meals based on local sales and select in-season fruits and vegetables to stay budget-friendly.
In the long run, your grocery bill will go down because you are buying whole foods to cook with instead of getting pricey premade meals.