11 Weight-Loss Myths You Should Stop Believing
When trying to lose weight , it can be hard to sort through the myriad conflicting information. Should you give up dairy ? What about the protein-packed, gut-healthy benefits of Greek yogurt ? Here, a registered dietitian weighs in on 11 common weight-loss myths.
Weight loss is more than just calories in minus calories out and the idea there’s one quick fix for lasting weight loss that works for everyone is misguided. Individuals differ greatly in their bodies, lifestyles, emotions and life experiences (and that’s a good thing). However, this means what might have worked for your friend or loved one won’t necessarily work for you and hopping on the fad diet bandwagon often backfires . Instead, you should focus on adding healthy habits you’ll be able to maintain long-term.
Despite popular belief, carbohydrates do not inherently cause weight gain. When broken down they are very simply the body’s main source of energy. We need them and they can absolutely work with us, not against us, if we eat high-quality, complex carbohydrates that keep blood sugar levels stable and help boost recovery after tough workouts .
When cutting carbs from the diet , we tend to lose water weight that can create the illusion of fat loss. When carbs are reintroduced to the diet, the weight comes back as we store necessary carbs with water. This also creates a bloated feeling that leads us to believe carbs are “bad” or we do not tolerate them. However, if you include complex carbs like whole grains into your regular diet, the body adjusts accordingly and you’ll be less likely to overeat due to hunger pangs or cravings .
Messaging that equates various foods to the number of minutes on a treadmill you’d need to run to work the calories off is not a helpful mindset for weight loss or overall health. The same goes with the notion you need to “earn” your next meal by working out intensely first. This sort of thinking, even if unknowingly at times, promotes a disordered relationship with food and exercise and can severely stress the body. As a result, stress triggers inflammation hormones that can make weight gain more likely.
Unless you have food allergies , lactose intolerance or celiac disease , cutting out certain foods or entire food groups is usually unnecessary (despite what many diets out there claim). The body needs a variety of foods , including the three macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat and protein ), to function optimally. Switching the mindset from, “what should I cut out of my diet” to “ what should I eat more of ” is key to making sure you’re nourishing your body and getting essential vitamins and minerals .
Enjoyable movement can mean something different for everyone, but it’s also the secret to exercising regularly long-term . The sweaty, breathless types of workouts don’t always feel good to some people, and that’s OK. Walking , yoga , swimming , low-intensity cardio or playing in a fun sports league all count, too.
The notion you need to feel hungry during a weight-loss journey for it to work is rooted in diet culture, and is, more often than not, a hindrance. The physical feeling of hunger is the body’s way of telling us it needs some energy. Ignoring hunger often leads to overeating or bingeing at some point, when the body’s physiological need for food takes over. If you’re feeling hungry all the time , consider speaking with a registered dietitian or healthcare professional who can help you come up with an individualized plan.