Losing weight requires smart choices, balance and patience. You don’t have to give up everything you love and it’s important to fuel your body, but a mix of healthy, whole foods and a regular exercise regime is the best way to shed unwanted pounds. The important thing is you don’t fall for deceiving weight loss myths that can actually do more harm than good. You may be happy to hear that not all carbs make you fat, low impact workouts are just as important as HIIT and snacking is important for your overall health. Take a look at some of the most common weight loss myths and what you should be doing instead.
9 Weight Loss Myths Explained
Myth #1: You Should Never Snack
More food, more weight gain, right? Not necessarily. In some cases, snacking can actually help you manage your caloric intake more effectively. It’s not the act of snacking itself, but the types of snacks you eat that can lead to weight gain. Unhealthy snacks like cookies, chips and other highly processed foods can cause unwanted weight gain, but having a bowl of Greek yogurt and berries or a banana with nut butter between meals can reduce cravings and keep you from overeating at meal times.
Myth #2: Carbs Make You Fat
It’s not true that all carbs make you fat, but rather refined carbs like refined grains and sugar are foods that are linked to weight gain. Whole foods that are high in carbs such as quinoa, oats, sweet potatoes, bananas, beans and legumes are actually very healthy. Your body needs healthy carbs, especially before and after a workout. Carbs fuel your brain and muscles and should be combined with protein for pre-workout meals.
Myth #3: Skipping Breakfast Helps with Weight Loss
If you think skipping one meal of the day leads to a lower calorie intake, we’re sorry to tell you that that’s probably not the case. People who skip breakfast typically end up eating more throughout the day to counteract the deficit. Contrary to the myth, skipping breakfast has actually been found to be associated with higher weight and obesity.
Myth #4: Juice Cleanses Are a Good Way to Lose Weight
A juice cleanse, also known as a juice fast, is a detox diet that involves consuming only vegetable and fruit juice for a short period of time, typically 1 to 3 days. Even though you’re consuming less calories, you’re consuming a lot of liquid sugar, which can spike blood sugar and cause weight gain.
During a juice cleanse, your body goes into conservation mode because it doesn’t know when it’s going to be getting food again. Plus, any weight lost during a juice cleanse is likely to be regained when you go back to your normal eating habits. Your body needs fuel and you should give it just that.
Myth #5: You Can Target Fat in Specific Areas
Spot training, or spot reduction is the belief that you can exercise to lose weight in specific areas of your body, such as your abdomen, and increase muscle definition. However, targeting fat isn’t possible. You must work on losing overall body weight, as every body is different and there’s no saying where you’ll lose weight from first. Following a regular exercise routine and eating a healthy diet is the best way to improve the areas you’re looking to slim.
Myth #6: Artificial Sweeteners Are a Healthy Alternative
Many people looking to lower their sugar intake look to artificial sweeteners like aspartame. This may reduce the number of calories you consume, but low or no-calorie sweeteners, particularly in diet sodas have actually been linked to increased weight gain and abdominal fat overtime. They’ve also been associated with obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Eating or drinking sugar substitutes may cause people to crave sweeter foods more often and lead people to believe that since they haven’t consumed calories they can eat more. It’s also been speculated that sweeteners interfere with a person’s gut microbiome, a collection of gut bacteria responsible for the absorption of nutrients.
Myth #7: Exercise is All You Need for Weight Loss
Exercise is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle but exercise alone will not make you lose weight. Losing weight is primarily due to diet, so if you’re running on the treadmill or going to spin classes without any dietary changes, you’re not going to see the results. A healthy diet full of protein, healthy carbs, fibre and lots of vegetables, as well as limiting processed foods and eating smaller portions will do wonders for your waistline.
Myth #8: You Can Sweat Out Fat
If you’ve ever heard of people going to steam rooms or saunas to sweat it out, it’s not a practical way to cut unwanted weight. While you may see the number on the scale go down, you’re only losing water weight and your body can easily add that weight back on after just one meal. Raising your body temperature for an extended period time can actually be quite dangerous, so it’s probably best to stick to healthy eating and exercise for weight loss.
Myth #9: If You’re Trying to Lose Weight, You Should Only Do Intense Workouts
Sometimes there’s nothing better than leaving a spin or bootcamp class all sweaty and red faced. You feel energized and accomplished and know you’ll be feeling it the next day. However, not every workout you do needs to be intense and fast paced. Incorporating lower intensity workouts is just as important as they lower your body’s level of cortisol, the stress hormone that leads to hunger and weight gain. Switch up your HIIT workouts with yoga and Pilates to ensure you have a well rounded fitness routine.
If you’ve been trying to lose weight, make sure you’re not falling for these weight loss and exercise traps.