We have all heard the most common advice for losing weight: exercise a little more and eat a little less. Setting these goals seems easy enough, but does it really work? I can easily set a weight loss goal and decide how much weight I would like to lose and when I’d like to lose it by. Once I have those goals set, though, then what do I do? How do I achieve my weight loss goals after they are set?
Myths About Weight Loss
Losing weight has a lot of myths surrounding it. The first place people might look for advice and support is in their communities. You might ask your friends and family what they do and what gyms they work out in. Or maybe you read some magazine articles for some insights.
However, there is a problem with a lot of traditional approaches to achieving weight loss goals. The issue is that most people have an unhealthy relationship with food. In today’s culture, we have more bad rules than good ones creating a system with hefty restrictions, guilt, and more, which are counterintuitive. As a result, several myths about weight loss have arisen that actively work against your weight loss goals.
Myths About Diet and Exercise
The most prevalent myths about diet and exercise are so popular simply because they’ve been uttered so many times. According to WebMD, the most common weight loss advice people receive is to eat more vegetables, reduce portion sizes, and take on more exercise. (WebMD)
How much would it surprise you to learn that advice isn’t necessarily good advice? Yet, we believe it because we hear it so often. Unfortunately for any of us interested in losing weight, this advice is, in fact, a piece of advice that can create a bad relationship with food. These culturally-driven rules create an environment where we feel deprived, and therefore, many of us find these rules to be unsustainable.
Will reducing portion sizes really help you lose weight if it leaves you feeling hungry and keeps you from listening to your body to know when you are actually full? Will eating more vegetables help you lose weight if you’re binge eating junk food in between? Or, will exercising really help you lose weight if you are craving sugar all the time? The answer is no. The solution rather lies at the root of the problem. Retraining your relationship with food helps you learn how to listen to the natural needs of YOUR body, instead of forcing a one-size-fits-all solution that doesn’t work for you.
Other common myths about diet and exercise include…
- All calories are equal. The myth says it doesn’t matter whether you’re eating Cheetos or flax, it’s all calories.
- Losing weight is a linear process. The myth says that creating a consistent weight loss goal–like losing half a pound every week–is realistic. It’s better to step away from the scale so you aren’t constantly worrying about numbers. The scale doesn’t show inches lost, so it’s not necessarily a great indicator anyway.
- Supplements can help you lose weight. The myth says there are miraculous substances that you can start including in your diet that will help with weight loss.
- Obesity is about willpower, not biology. The myth says that everyone should be the same weight, regardless of their inherited genetics. Willpower isn’t necessarily the issue here, and there is a lot more to say about the failings of the concept of “willpower” in weight loss, but that’s for another article.
- Eat less–move more. The myth says that weight loss is all about portion control and increased exercise. The issue here is deprivation and unsustainable rules.
- It’s carbs that make you fat. The myth says that carbs are the foremost contributing factor to weight gain. This isn’t true. Read an article on, “Should I cut carbs to lose weight?” here.
- In the same vein, it’s fat that makes you fat. The myth says that if you just don’t eat any fat you will lose weight. That’s false. There are actually a lot of good fats!
- Fast food is always fattening. While it might be true that most foods from a fast food chain are fattening, the myth says all fast foods will make you gain weight.
- Diets work. Perhaps the most prevailing and deep-seated myth says that fad diets will make weight loss goals possible. There’s an article on the harmful effects of dieting here.
The list goes on and on. There are so many more myths underpinning our relationship with food. If you want weight loss myths debunked, you need to reexamine the entire psychology of appetite and cravings — and most importantly, the relationship with food that this myth will have on you physically and emotionally.
- Will this formula nourish my body?
- Will this diet make my body feel good and perform at its peak — or slow down my metabolism in the long run?
- Will this regimen cause me to feel stressed, deprived, and food addicted?
- Will this plan limit my life?
In fact, if you’ve tried every single method to lose weight but are still struggling with it, you need to look at if there are deeper blockages, which are often-time caused by the diets you’ve done.
This blockage could be your relationship with food at the core. Without a healing, relaxing, nourishing, and satisfying relationship, your physical health will always be a ‘willpower’ game and you won’t be able to help but break the rules. (To learn about cultivating an effortless, intuitive, satisfying, and naturally slimming relationship with food, read my article What Is Mindful Eating?)
This blockage could also be your body’s ongoing pattern which has changed/adapted to your current way of living. Is your body now working against you by retaining fat, over-creating hunger, and over-activating chemical triggers of food cravings? (To learn more about this, read An Unexpected Talk On The Secret Of Weight Loss.)
Because of these two very common blockages mentioned above, common myths about weight loss are actually preventing you from reaching your weight loss goals. According to National Health Service in the UK, it can be hard to sort the facts from the fiction when it comes to weight loss. (NHS)
The fact of the matter is that the most common myths about weight loss won’t necessarily help you lose weight. Most of them prevent the real, sustainable weight loss.
Weight Loss Myths Debunked
Achieving weight loss goals requires you to relearn the rules dictating the psychological underpinnings of your relationship with food and re-setting how your body processes food and spends energy. It’s not as simple as just eating less and exercising more.
You need to figure out exactly what dictates your relationship with food and your body’s digestive and metabolic patterns at the most basic level. When you figure that out, it becomes possible to start relearning new rules that will enable you to discover a new and healthy relationship with food. This starts with learning to listen to and trust your own body, something many of us have forgotten how to do.
You can achieve weight loss goals, and truly keep off the weight you lose as my clients have done. Read about their experiences here. You must retrain your psychology and your physiology, so food becomes healthy fuel and you have no desire to reach for the Snickers bar on your dresser in the middle of the night.