Myths come and myths go. The ancient myths, like those of the Greeks and the Norse, no longer have the faithful following they once commanded. Modern myths are somewhat simpler than the classics, ranging from the dangerous, like food picked up after less than 5 seconds on the floor is safe to eat (myth), to the trivial, like Humphrey Bogart, playing the character Rick in the classic film ‘Casablanca’, tells his piano player to ‘play it again, Sam’ (myth).
But among the broad range of modern myths, few are more enduring, or more wrong, than those surrounding our health, particularly those about weight loss.
No one wants to be overweight or suffer the health consequences that result. But, with 70% of Americans considered overweight, and more than 33% considered obese, there is a massive demand for ways to lose the extra pounds. So much so (about $150 billion worldwide), weight loss myths are actually promoted because of the huge financial rewards that they produce.
Let’s get right to it. Here are the top weight loss myths that we see repeated most often in the media.
1. Eat Less to Lose Weight
OK, if you’re overeating then, yes, if you eat less, you should lose weight. But no one should eat less than what’s needed to maintain optimal health, which is about 1,700 to 2,500 calories per day for adults. And no one should skip meals either.
Why it’s a Myth: When you do not get your required calorie intake, from a healthy, balanced diet, your body doesn’t have the fuel it needs to function. It’s internal, automatic systems can actually reverse the effect of your lower calorie intake so that you end up gaining weight even while you eat less.
2. Cut Out All Snacks, Treats and Alcohol
One of the main stumbling blocks to successfully losing weight is the speed and extent to which we make massive changes to our daily eating habits and lifestyle. It’s like we want to fail. When you make so many difficult adjustments all at once, you drastically lower your chance of success. Why? Have you ever kept a single New Year’s Resolution at least all the way to the following New Year’s? Then how are you supposed to maintain all those serious changes.
Why It’s a Myth – Snacks and alcohol aren’t the problem, it’s how much of them we consume. Moderation is the key.
3 Foods Labelled ‘Low Fat’ are Best For You
Here’s that major weight loss industry marketing machine at work. They know how much you want to reduce your weight and they make fat the enemy (even though you would, in plain terms, drop dead if you didn’t have enough fat in your body) so that you reach for anything that promises to lose it.
Why It’s a Myth – A balanced diet, one that would support healthy weight loss, should give you about one-third of your daily calories from fat.
4. Cardio Exercises are Best for Weight Loss
It makes perfect sense. You see the overweight person sweating profusely on the treadmill and it seems only logical that he’s losing weight fast. First, there is no way to ‘lose weight fast’. Second, sweating and heavy breathing do not equate to weight loss. All forms of healthy physical activity, from weight training to yoga, contribute to your overall well being.
Why It’s a Myth: Exercise, especially when it’s limited to cardio, does not burn as many calories as we think. You could jog for an hour straight and put all the calories you burned back on with a large slice of pizza and a Coke.
5. You Need to Detox
In our previous post, we already talked about how to tackle toxins to lose weight, but that method had little to do with the common advice for detoxing. If you lose weight during a detox, you are probably not getting enough calories because the detox diet has cut out most, if not all, solid foods.
Why It’s a Myth – Your body has its own ways of detoxifying itself, including through your liver, kidneys and colon. We just dump too many toxins in our body with an unhealthy diet.
After all that, the truth is there is really only one overriding myth about weight loss, which is that there is an easy way to lose weight. All of the myths above relate to a short cut to lower weight – ‘just spend hours on the treadmill” or “eat low fat foods” or “stop snacking” – and you’ll be skinny.
There is no shortcut – other than losing weight the healthy way. If you want to learn about healthy and lasting ways to reduce your weight, visit your nearest Herbal One Centre and talk to nutrition consultant. They will help.