Are you sabotaging yourself with these common weight loss myths?
Some of these may seem pretty obvious, and some of them might be a surprise. Either way it’s OK, as long as you know now.
If you’ve ever fallen for any of these common weight loss myths, don’t worry- you ain’t alone. Some of these came as a surprise to me.
The long and the short of it: the best way to lose weight and keep it off is to practice a healthy diet & exercise routine. Ya just need to do both. There may be a clever little life hack here or there that works for you, but healthy diet & exercise is what it all comes down to. And it’s best not to complicate things anymore than that.
But what does a healthy diet and exercise routine consist of?
Burn more calories than you eat
Minimize ‘empty calories’ (foods whose nutritional value doesn’t make up for the calories they cost)
Proper amount of activity each week
I’ll get a little more into that as we get further into the post. But that’s all there is to it.
So before I start to blather like, let’s talk about some pretty common weight loss myths that you may have fallen for at least once in your life.
11 Common Weight Loss Myths That Are TOTALLY Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Journey
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Weight Loss Myth 1: You Can’t Eat Foods You Like Anymore
Ever heard of a cheat day? Most of your favorite athletes have them.
This is the one day a week that they eat ALL of their favorite foods… or at least don’t worry about what they’re eating.
Now, I’m not necessarily recommending you do this… those athletes have a very specialized workout program that allows them to set and stick to their cheat day. You may not be able to do that on your own.
So, according to NIH, it’s totally fine to sneak in small amounts of your favorite cheat foods. Go ahead and eat the cake, Anna Mae. Just don’t keep going back for slice after slice.
Weight Loss Myth 2: Carbs and Fats are The Enemy
Actually, no… carbohydrates (like fiber) and fats (like unsaturated fats and omegas) are a crucial part of a balanced diet. Along with proteins, you should make sure that you’re getting a balanced intake of all 3.
Sure, refined grains and junk foods contain a lot of carbohydrates (in the form of starches and sugars). But you know what ALSO have carbs? FRUITS AND F*CKING VEGETABLES.
HELLO. You NEED those.
If nothing else, fiber and fats make you feel fuller for longer periods of time. This means you’ll probably eat fewer calories in order to meet your daily needs.
Pair a balanced diet of macronutrients- proteins, fats, and carbs– with the right vitamins, minerals, and exercise, and you’ve got yourself the best way to lose weight. It doesn’t HAVE to be complicated.
Weight Loss Myth 3: Gluten-Free is the Way to Be
Gluten-free literally means nothing to anyone who doesn’t have a gluten intolerance.
In fact, you might be missing out on important nutrients by eating gluten-free.
Gluten is a protein that’s found in most of the grains you eat. That’s why it’s so great for making mock meats, like seitan. (It’s the base for my favorite mock sausage, Field Roast). People with celiac disease or other gluten intolerance CANNOT eat gluten. They don’t have any other choice.
Same way that people with an allergy to peanuts don’t have any other choice. Are they missing out on the nutritional benefits of peanuts? Yeah, probably. So they’ll come up with a plan with their doctors to get them elsewhere.
But a person who isn’t allergic to peanuts has no reason to avoid them and is probably causing some unnecessary deficit in their diet. Like, nutrients that would otherwise be real easy to get if you just ate the damn peanuts.
Gluten is the same way… there is no reason not to eat it if you haven’t been diagnosed with gluten intolerance.
Weight Loss Myth 4: Going Vegetarian or Vegan is Automatically More Healthy
Lol… I found this one out REAL quick.
As the industry for mock meats and dairy substitutes grows, they’re coming up with better ways to replace those foods. They taste better, they have better textures, etc. This means that those vegan junk foods are getting better.
And as much as I love vegan donuts and ice cream, they ain’t healthy. Neither are vegan cheeses, butter substitutes, etc.
True, most plant-based foods are lower in overall calories, so you can eat more of them before you’re over your daily intake. But that’s mainly when you’re talking about raw plant foods: raw veggies and fruits.
Nuts and seeds are LOADED with calories that are great for you but will shoot your calorie count through the roof. So you should totally eat them, but you can’t eat unlimited amounts.
Honestly, lemme just say it flat out: there is NO diet that will allow you to eat an unlimited amount of calories and still lose weight. Sure, it’s goals, but it’s nothing more than a dream. It’s just not a thing.
The one thing I WILL say about vegetarianism and veganism is that they do make you more conscious of the things you are putting in your body. You’re more likely to be aware of how much you eat because you have to scan every food label for ingredients you can’t have. So yes, that can be helpful when it comes to losing weight. But it’s not a get out of jail free card.
Weight Loss Myth 5: You Gotta Hurt Yourself in the Gym In Order to Lose The Weight
Actually, according to NIH, you only need an accumulative 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate exercise a week.
For instance, I like to take a 30 minute walk almost every day. I’m also integrating my 1-minute planks back in (1 or 2 a day) for core strength. Once my joints get back up to snuff, I’ll start making that walk a jog.
You can even do this activity in short bursts during the day. I wrote an entire blog post about how helpful it is just standing up for extended periods of time while you work. You use muscles standing up (while resisting the force of gravity) that you don’t use while you sit. And that burns calories.
So imagine how great a couple 10-minute brusque walks could be each day, a couple days a week? Great way to lose weight in a gradual, steady, healthy fashion.
Weight Loss Myth 6: Snacking is BAD… Point Blank, Period.
It’s not. You just have to watch what kind of snacks you’re eating when you do.
For example, eating Ants on a Log (peanut butter with raisins on celery) is ULTIMATELY better than those little hundred-calorie snack packs of oreos. Sure, the latter may have fewer calories, but there’s probably nothing in it that’ll keep you satiated and nourished. Not nearly as much as the first snack, anyway.
So just remember: healthy snacks are ok. Calories ARE important, but they aren’t everything.
Weight Loss Myth 7: You Can’t Ever Eat Fast Food AGAIN!
Haha don’t worry… you CAN still grab a quick meal at a fast food joint. You just have to be more conscious about what you’re eating.
According to an article on WebMD, registered dietitian Magee Pivonka, Ph.D., says she just encourages people to make healthier choices with fast foods.
Opt for salads with less dressing, grilled not fried, etc. Really, it’s not too hard. I mean, it’s not fast food, but tonight I’ll be going to eat at a Tex-Mex restaurant my brother works at. EVERYTHING in there is covered in sour cream, cheese, etc. So I’m gonna opt for a quesadilla-turned-taco with flour tortillas and veggies, sans cheese and sour cream.
Oh, and I’ll probably take advantage of the chips and guac ;). Veganized meal with no hassle.
Weight Loss Myth 8: If You JUST Exercise, You Won’t Gain and/or Will LOSE Weight
Ok… eating like crap and exercising it off may be something you get away with when you’re under 20. But the older you get, the less that’s going to work.
Losing and keeping weight off is best maintained through healthy diet and exercise. You need to be doing BOTH.
So seriously… don’t eat cheesecake and fast food every day only to work out until you throw up in the morning. Your body needs proper nutrients- not just for the energy to get you through your workouts, but for recovery as well.
Weight Loss Myth 9: If You Skip Breakfast, You’ll Gain Weight
Ok, sure. Eating breakfast before you start your day can help keep you from craving crap later… So can eating other healthy meals.
Basically, there is nothing special or magical about a healthy breakfast that ‘makes you lose weight’. It’s just a meal, and it’s as important as every other meal.
The key is to eat when you’re hungry and keep yourself satiated on healthy things so you’re less likely to snack on empty carbs (foods whose nutritional value doesn’t match up with the # of calories it’s worth) throughout the day.
Personal preference, I do think that what you start with sets the tone for the rest of your day. For instance, if you start your day with a nutritious, healthy meal, you’re more likely to keep eating like that throughout the day. If you start with empty carbs, you’re more likely to crave that kind of stuff the rest of the day.
So I do my best to start my meal with what I feel is a pretty well-rounded smoothie. The last one I made- chia, hulled hemp seeds, banana, pineapple, and PB2 powder– had an impressive amount of my daily needs in it. (Comment below if you want the full recipe and prep).
It was also very tasty and great if you have a sweet tooth ;).
Weight Loss Myth 10: Fasting Helps You Lose Fat
Au contraire, my friend. You actually lose muscle when you fast… which sucks, because muscle burns fat.
There are some people that fast for religious or other health reasons… I don’t know anything about that, so I can’t advise. I’m talking specifically of weight loss here. If you’re hoping that fasting from all foods- as opposed to just reducing the “empty calories” you eat- will make you all svelte and toned, think again.
Weight Loss Myth 11: You CANNOT Be Overweight and Healthy At the Same Time
This one’s for all the fat-shamers out there… this is me officially telling you that you have no excuse anymore. People who are fat or carry extra pounds- thick, as some of us like to call them– do NOT automatically translate to unhealthy.
In fact, according to Medline Plus, there ARE overweight people with healthy blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. It’s just that the bigger you are and the longer you are overweight, the greater your risk is for heart disease, diabetes, etc.
So should we encourage people to live healthy? Yes. But for the last effing time, telling public figures like Ashley Graham, Loey Lane, or any other plus-sized woman not to love themselves or that they’re encouraging an unhealthy standard…
IT IS POINTLESS.
You’re just using your inability to accept that these women are gorgeous at ANY size to be an asshole.
Do yourself and the rest of the world a favor: actually LEARN what it means to be healthy. We don’t want to encourage people to gain or lose weight to LOOK a certain way. What we WANT to do is encourage “healthy at any size”… talk to your doctor about the state of your health, eat right, and exercise.
Keep It Simple
When in doubt, just keep it simple. Losing weight doesn’t always have to be the struggle it’s made out to be.
If you can learn how to practice proper diet & exercise habits on your own, then do that. Make the effort to make the changes in your life. Because if you haven’t learned it already by reading this post, then lemme reiterate:
There is no quick fix for weight loss. Sure, there are drastic measures that even doctors will recommend if the situation calls for it- i.e., surgeries, meticulous diet plans, etc.- but this isn’t necessary for everyone.
So as always, I encourage you to please, please, PLEASE consult with your regular doctor/GP consistently. If you have any special needs, they can help you. It’s a whole hell of a lot better than falling into traps like these… that is for damn certain.
Anything on this list surprise you? Comment it below. Then share this post… and hopefully we can debunk some of these weight loss myths for someone else who really needs it!
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