Weight loss advice is so common (and contentious) now. There are competing opinions everywhere. Between “fad” diets that vilify a food or food groups and just plain old wrong information, it’s a wonder that anyone can sort through the noise. Weight loss myths abound!
I say, forget about “who’s right” and let’s focus on “what’s right.” Because what gets results is what I’m focusing on in this post.
I respect you too much to make empty promises and try to sell you on something that doesn’t work.
There are too many weight loss myths and just plain old BS out there. I’m going to tackle the top ones I come across in my practice. These myths, like so many things, have an element of truth in them, the story just gets distorted by marketers more interested in selling a product than helping people get lasting results.
So, here we go …. the top four myths to bust.
Myth 1 – Calories cause weight gain, and fewer calories are the path to weight loss
This is one of those weight loss myths that has just enough truth in it to sound like it has to be totally true.
Calories are important for weight loss. If you eat and absorb a ton more than you use, then your body’s wisdom will store some for later. Calories matter.
But, they are not the “be-all and end-all” of weight loss; they’re important, but they’re just one part of the equation. Let’s think about the reasons people eat more calories. Let’s focus on the causes.
People eat too many calories, not because they’re hungry, but because they feel sad, lonely, or bored. Or maybe because they’re tired or stressed. Or maybe even because they’re happy and celebrating. And all these feelings interact with our gastrointestinal, nervous and hormonal systems; all of which influence our calorie intake.
Myth 2 – “Eat less move more” is good advice
Well, then we’re all in tip-top shape, right? Because people have been doling out this advice (myth) for years. So, if we’re all moving more and eating less, it’s all good right? Wrong!
The premise of this is based on the above myth that calories in minus calories out equals your weight. So, eat fewer calories, and burn off more calories, because human physiology is a simple math equation, right? Not quite. Weight loss myths like this can leave you feeling frustrated and exhausted and hangry.
Even if people can happily and sustainably follow this advice (which they can’t!); it completely negates other factors that contribute to weight problems. Things like the causes of overeating we mentioned above. Not to mention our genetics, health conditions we’re dealing with or our exposure to compounds that are “obesogenic.”
Myth 3 – A calorie is a calorie
Can we please put this one to bed already?
Science has confirmed several caloric components of food differ from others. For example, the “thermic effect of food” (TEF) is that some nutrients require calories to be metabolized. They can slightly increase your metabolism, just by eating them.
For example, when you metabolize protein you burn more calories than when you metabolize carbohydrates. Proteins and carbohydrates both have 4 calories/gram; but, the TEF of protein = 15–30%; and the TEF for carbohydrates = 5–10%. The more processed your carbs, the less TEF it takes.
Here’s another example of a calorie not being a calorie. Different fats are metabolized differently. Medium chain triglycerides (fats) (MCTs) have the same 9 calories/gram that other fats do; but, they’re metabolized by the liver before getting into the bloodstream and therefore aren’t utilized or stored the same way as other fats.
Myth 4 – Buy this supplement/tea/food/magic potion to lose weight
There is no magic pill for weight loss. No supplement, tea, food, or other potion will do the trick.
There are products that make these claims, and they’re full of garbage (or shall I say “marketing gold?”). The only thing you will lose is your money (and possibly your hope). So, please don’t believe this myth. There is a reason most people who lose weight can’t keep it off. The real magic is in adopting a sustainable and healthy approach to living your life. What you need is a long-term lifestyle makeover, not a product.
Weight loss is hard if you buy into the quick fix ideology! There are too many people out there trying to make it sound like they have the simple solution (or the latest and greatest!). This nonsense just contributes to creating more weight loss myths that won’t help anyone lose weight.
If you seriously want to lose weight, then you simply need to learn new habits that can last a lifetime. This is not hard to do, but it does take time.