In today’s modern world, the internet allows us to find the answer to any question you can think of. However, misinformation is all too easy to access. This is why it’s important to filter fact from fiction. To help you decipher what’s true or false, I’m going to let you into some of the biggest weight loss myths. The miracles to lose weight—but in no way accurate or the surefire ways for slimming down—which don’t even work.
So let me take this opportunity to clear a few things up once and for all.
Myth #1. Being Overweight Is Down to a Lack of Willpower and Not Genes
For some people, this can be the case—but not for everyone. Obesity is incredibly complex and can be caused by a whole host of factors.
Of course, there are some people out there who lead an unhealthy lifestyle—poor diet and zero physical activity—if they used proper practices they could lose weight. Yet, for those who say no matter what they try, they just can’t shift the pounds—this could be a fact.
As obesity is becoming a huge problem throughout the western world, there is plenty of research trying to find out the definitive cause of the disorder. A lot of which is focused on genetics and genealogical issues.
Also, there are many genetic syndromes such as Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), Cohen syndrome, and MOMO syndrome. These disorders are caused by an abnormality in chromosomes, of which obesity is a characteristic of the condition.
There are also a number of hormones in the body which influence your weight. Many people can have hormone imbalances or resistances which will, in turn, affect their weight.
Leptin should tell your brain that your body has stored enough body fat. If for any reason you have a resistance to this, your body will be in starvation mode and keep storing it.
Myth #2. A Military Style Exercise Regime Is the Only Way to Lose Weight
Some people seem to think that working out 24/7 is the only way you will ever lose weight. Wrong.
The simple fact is that losing weight is a case of burning more calories than you consume. Either by working out more, eating less, or a bit of both.
Overtraining is also counterproductive. Exercise induces the release of cortisol and, if you work out too often or for prolonged periods, it means your body has higher levels of this stress hormone. This is part of the reason that overtraining can lead to illness and muscle damage.
Realistically, most average adults need in the region of 150 minutes of physical activity weekly. Better still, if you do high-intensity interval training (HIIT) you can halve that quota.
Myth #3. Starving Yourself Is the Best Way to Lose Weight
Does anyone remember the ‘lemonade diet’ that was popular several years ago? The one everyone said Beyonce did for two weeks to lose 20 pounds?
This particular diet consisted of banishing all food substances and living solely on a mixture of water, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper. Seriously, how do people intend to survive?
Don’t get me wrong. Personally, I’m a big fan of controlled, intermittent fasting and very low-calorie diets. After using them as a kick start to a massive weight loss journey of my own, it was incredibly successful.
However, these diets limit you to under 800 calories a couple of days per week. Not expecting you to function normally while only consuming spicy water for an entire two week period!
These kinds of fad diets not only have a good chance of making you ill due to the lack of nutrition you are receiving, but they are far too restrictive to successfully maintain. Then what happens? You gain even more weight— and I will tell you why.
First of all, your body is in such shock, it genuinely thinks you’re starving. In response, it will store every ounce of fat you consume in the vain attempt to keep your body working.
Secondly, after your spate of food deprivation, everything you eat is going to taste amazing—it’s like you are eating everything for the first time. So what will you do? Overeat, obviously.
Lastly, you are going to feel enormous guilt—because you didn’t manage to stick to a totally unsustainable diet and come out 20 pounds lighter, looking like Beyonce. To comfort yourself—you’ll head straight for the cookies.
This, my friends, is the vicious cycle of fad diets. I know this from personal experience—my lemonade diet lasted about two days and I comforted myself with an abundance of cake!
However, after this failed attempt I tried intermittent fasting, which worked wonders for me (although that isn’t to say it’s the same for everyone). But this was in the form of a reduced calorie, clean eating menu that consisted of three meals per day and only low calories two days per week.
The main reason it worked was that it was only one strict day followed by a normal day of eating—this was much easier to maintain long term.
These are probably the three biggest weight loss myths heard time and time again, and the three biggest reasons people fail at their numerous attempts to lose weight.
If you are serious about losing weight, follow a manageable, clean-eating, low-calorie nutrition plan, like the Mediterranean diet. Then incorporate some physical activity into your life, like a HIIT workout four times a week.
However, if you’re still struggling to drop the pounds even though you are following everything to a tee, have a chat with your physician. Some factors, like hormonal imbalances, can be detected with a simple blood test.
Moreover, don’t think it’s not worth going to the doctor just because you’re having trouble losing weight. This could be a warning sign of an underlying illness. Get it checked out.
If there is nothing untoward, your doctor may prescribe you medically approved diet pills. Not the kind that you can buy on the internet that could be dangerous and most likely don’t work. But the kind you get from a pharmacy with a prescription, if your doctor feels it’s really necessary.