A new study has shown that for the first time in history, the amount of overweight people in the world is overtaking the amount of underweight people (1). It has also been predicted that by the year 2025, at least 18% of men and 21% of women will be obese (2). After hearing these statistics it is no wonder that the global health and wellness industry grows daily with many so people scrambling to try anything to help them lose their extra weight.
The problem is that there is still so much misinformation available when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off.
Let’s clear up some of these myths that stop us from losing weight for good.
5 Myths That Keep You From Losing Weight
1) There is a Magic Cure
If you walk down an isle in any pharmacy or supplement store the feeling is overwhelming. Hundreds upon thousands of products promising fast weight loss and miracle results. The issue here is that many of these products are unregulated and the formulations can have terrible side effects like anxiety or gastrointestinal side effects (3). Unfortunately, many people are caught up in the results promised on the front of the label, without reading the small print.
Hard earned money is spent without consulting with a nutrition professional and even though there may be short-term weight loss results they will almost certainly be temporary.
The reality is that there is no quick fix, pill or potion that will help you to lose weight overnight. Losing fat and keeping it off requires patience and above all a lifestyle change which means that your weight loss results will be for life and not short lived.
2) Cutting Out One Food Group
Throughout the decades, as people have desperately tried to lose weight they have blamed a specific food group. In the past. we blamed fat as the bad guy and turned to hundreds of fat-free and low-fat products in the hope that these would make the difference in our pants size. Fat was officially a villain as people shunned any type of oil or butter and diets often consisted of boiled chicken and vegetables. Yes, people did lose weight, but again, the results were temporary.
More recently, there is a new villain in town- carbohydrates. The rise of the carb-free lifestyle is enormous, with celebrities and doctors pushing their carbohydrate free diets (4). Some diets are low-carb and some are carb-free, but the overwhelming similarity is demonising a food group in order to get results.
Unfortunately, studies of many of these diets have proven that although they may be effective in the short term, they prove to be unsustainable over the long term (5).
3) You Can Eat What you Want as Long as You Exercise
There is no truer statement than; You cannot out-exercise a bad diet. Many people see exercise as their get out of jail free card, in that they can eat what they want to as long as they hit the gym every day.
Unfortunately, this could not be further from the truth. If we look at a percentage split, exercise is about 20-30% important and your diet is about 70-80% in terms of importance. Without a healthy diet to supplement your exercising you will not see any results.
In fact, a recent study has confirmed that the best way to lose weight and keep it off is with a combination of dietary and exercise intervention (6).
4) A Juice fast is the Best way to Lose Weight
Picture an apple, banana, and cup of berries along with beetroot, spinach, and a few carrots. On a visual level, this is a lot of food. If you had to sit down and eat 3-4 fruits and at least 3 portions of vegetables at one sitting you would be quite full. You also would not really able to eat these portion sizes a few times a day.
Well with the new juicing craze, this is essentially what is happening. A cup of juice can be at least 6-7 different fruits and vegetables worth. When people start a ‘juice detox’ they are having 4-5 juices per day.
The huge difference here is that you are not benefitting from fibre which keeps you full, helps you to be regular and helps to control the release of glucose into your blood stream.
Instead, you are only drinking the sugar from the fruit and vegetables. If this is all you are doing instead of eating, you will lose weight, however, it is completely unsustainable. In the long run, you will gain all the weight back and be left with a juicer you no longer use.
Rather than drinking your fruit and vegetables, eat them whole with a proper balanced meal (7).
5) The Quality of the Food Doesn’t Matter, as Long as it is Low Calorie
Many people know that the key to losing weight has a lot to do with keeping your calories in check. This means we can eat what we want as long as it is within our allowed calories right? Well, not so fast. Unfortunately, our bodies do respond to certain qualities of food differently.
Firstly you cannot compare a high-quality protein like chicken breast to fast food chicken nuggets. Your body will be fuller for longer with the high-quality unprocessed chicken breast in comparison to the processed junk, which is the deep fried chicken nuggets. Additionally, our bodies literally burn more calories having to digest a high-quality whole protein (8).
Secondly, when people eat a diet high in processed food they end up losing out on many of the vital nutrients that they would have received from a healthy balanced meal. Over time this turns into a micronutrient deficiency or ‘hidden hunger‘.
So yes, calories are important but what is more important over the long term is high-quality unprocessed food (9).
Remember that the key to sustained weight loss is a complete lifestyle change. Rather than seeking the help of a pill or trying the latest fad diet, consult a nutrition professional to educate you on the right way to eat for your body.