With so many different weight loss tips circulating the web, it can be hard to decipher which claims are fact or fiction. To help you start your weight loss journey on the right foot, we’ve compiled a list of the 7 most common weight loss myths and facts:
1. Cutting 3,500 calories from your diet will make you lose 1 pound.
Although this weight loss myth does hold some truth, it is not accurate, and the math will be different for everyone. You'll need to use your current and target weight to calculate how many calories you can consume while still losing pounds. You may lose one pound from cutting 500 calories a day for a week, but because of how your body changes as the number on the scale starts to drop, you may need to decrease your calorie intake to continue to lose weight.2
2. You must give up all of your favorite foods.
Deprivation does not necessarily lead to weight loss. In fact, it can derail it if it’s too restrictive. The truth is, moderation is key, and you should limit foods that you know are unhealthy, or that will hinder your weight loss goals. However, you can incorporate small amounts of your favorite foods into your weekly menu.3 When you do indulge, keep portion size in mind to ensure you’re not consuming too many excess calories.
3. All calories are the same.
Eating 50 calories of broccoli compared to 50 calories of cake is not the same thing. Foods are made up of different nutrients in addition to their calorie content. Comparing foods based solely on calories doesn’t take into account their nutritional density, which can help you feel fuller, longer on a smaller quantity.
4. Push yourself to exercise daily.
You don’t need to “go hard or go home.” While great in theory, pushing yourself to exercise daily or exerting yourself too hard can quickly lead to burnout and even cause injury.4 While some people may thrive in such conditions, for most of us, it is much more realistic and effective to ramp up gradually, increasing your strength and stamina while finding fun activities that keep your body moving. This is especially important if you’re beginning a fitness program. Start by taking a brisk walk for 10 minutes each day and gradually build up from there to find a routine that works best for you.
5. Long periods of exercise are better than shorter periods.
You don’t have to work out for hours at a time to reap the rewards. Exercise and its benefits are cumulative, meaning that every little bit counts toward your goals.5 You can spread your activities into short, 5 to 10-minute intervals every day, or you can work out for more extended periods of time three or four days a week instead. Keep in mind, even a short aerobic activity or walk around the block can help you reach your goals!
6. Lifting weight causes bulkiness instead of weight loss.
Strength training exercises like yoga or light weight-lifting will not typically bulk you up. While there are specific strength training exercises you can do that are designed to create muscle with more volume, in most cases, strength training will simply help you build stronger muscles which help burn more fat.6
7. Eating a low-fat diet will lead to losing weight.
Not all fats are bad fats. As long as you are choosing healthy fats, like avocados, extra-virgin olive oil, and salmon, a regular consumption of good fats can help control hunger and stimulate weight loss.7
People who don't eat enough fat, however, tend to go overboard on carbs which can lead to a host of other health problems.8 Two of the most notable are inflammation and weight gain. Moral of the story? Don't be afraid of the (good) fats. Learn more about other common food myths which could be holding back your weight loss.
Regardless of where you are in your weight loss journey, we’ve all heard some of these myths. With these weight loss myths debunked, you should have a good understanding of which weight loss strategies to avoid. The most important part of losing weight and keeping it off is adjusting your lifestyle. By making simple changes to your overall daily routine, you can keep your body healthy and reach your weight loss goals.
Are you ready to try a weight loss program that is based on scientific research? Contact Jenny Craig for your free appointment.