If there’s anything I’ve learned about the internet and social media, it’s that misconceptions and misinformation is constantly available to us. We are bombarded with various articles, statuses, posts, and other forms of information that it’s sometimes hard to decipher what’s true from what’s not, especially when it comes to health and weight loss.
So, here are 5 myths about weight loss that you might still believe.
1. “Low-calorie, restrictive diets are the only way to lose weight”
I know that when I was so desperate to lose weight, I would constantly tell myself to only eat 500-700 calories a day. Yes, a day. What I was actually doing was not only setting myself up for failure but also setting myself up for even more weight gain down the line (hello binging problem). Caloric deficits are an effective means to lose some pounds but you should never eat below a certain amount of calories depending on your body type/activity level/age/sex. I wouldn’t suggest following any diets that advertise as being 1200-1300 calories for “weight loss” because, most likely, you will be left hungry and not energized, especially if you are regularly exercising, and could be left gaining all the lost weight back and then some.
In addition to this, the quality of the foods you eat does matter more than restricting calories alone. Certain foods (processed, low-nutrient foods) will cause you many more issues than just those pertaining to weight or physical appearance. In order to feel your best, choose mostly plant based, whole foods and limit processed food consumption. (Of course, there’s nothing wrong with honoring your cravings too!)
2. “Weight loss takes lots of willpower”
If you’ve dealt with disordered eating before, then you KNOW what I’m talking about. I used to tell myself all the time I needed more willpower, more strength, and to be more focused on my goals for weight loss to work. Well, it didn’t. If you’re telling yourself these things while on a “diet” or “weight loss regime,” then you are probably depriving yourself.
If you eat what you want, what you enjoy, and satisfy your appetite then weight loss will not be so difficult! The important thing is to recognize your triggers for overeating or choosing unhealthy choices and make steps to eliminate those triggers.
3. “Fruit has too much sugar”
Say it with me… “FRUIT WILL NOT MAKE ME FAT!”
The sugar in fruit (i.e. fructose) is not the same as the sugar you find in processed foods (such as candy, bread, or even fruit snacks). This naturally occurring sugar is slower to absorb in the body, doesn’t spike blood sugar like processed sugars do, and is a great energy source for our body’s cells. In addition, fruit contains many vitamins and minerals that are essential to a healthy mind and body and limiting an entire food group could cause you to miss out on many important nutrients as well as fiber.
*Dedicated to my mom, who has many times denied (nutrient-dense) fruit for this very reason.
4. “Muscle weighs more than fat”
This is the myth that inspired this entire blog post – I was scrolling on Instagram the other day and saw someone say this among other “weight loss” tips and I was shocked that this misconception is still circulating. I have heard this phrase used over and over again to justify confusing weight loss or weight gain in a person.
Let’s analyze this misconception: a pound of fat and a pound of muscle weigh exactly the same… a pound! Have you ever heard someone ask, “Which weighs more, a ton of bricks or a ton of feathers?” Naturally the kid answering says, “The feathers!” Well, you’re wrong, kid.
What people are really comparing here is density. Muscle is more dense than fat, meaning you can weigh the same weight but look very different because fat will look more abundant. But to reiterate my entire philosophy here: the number on the scale doesn’t matter and what does matter is how you feel about yourself on the inside as well as taking care of your body in the best way you can.
5. “Weight gain has nothing to do with genetics, only lifestyle choices”
In the simplest way I can put it: weight loss/weight gain is a lot more complicated than we have previously believed.
The recent rise in obesity over the past few decades has sparked more and more research into the genetic predispositions and metabolic variations in people. The way our bodies synthesize what we eat, genetic diseases passed down to us, and even prenatal exposures are all examples of possible effects on metabolism.
Another important note: body types are genetic. If you gain all your weight in your mid-section but none in your legs, or vice versa, chances are your family members are the same way. This is something genetically disposed to you and there is no changing it – so you might as well love yourself anyway!
Well there you go, those are 5 weight loss myths you might still believe (but now don’t!). If you believed any of these myths let me know in a comment and tell me another weight loss myth you still hear circulating around!
Thanks for reading.