Weight loss advice is so common (and inconsistent!) now. What we do know is that intentional weight loss methods don’t last. Focusing so hard on the scale, instead of your health, is a surefire way to gain weight in the long run.
Too often I see trainers and IG fitspo gems making empty promises and trying to sell you on something that doesn’t work. Shakes, wraps, cleanses, … or worse! At best they waste your money, at worst they endanger your health. And all because we are so hung up on weight loss!
I’m going to tackle the top ones I come across with my clients.
Myth #1: Calories cause weight gain, and fewer calories are the path to weight loss
Don’t get me wrong – understanding energy balance is important. If you eat and absorb a lot more energy than you use, then your body’s wisdom will store some for later. So yeah, calories DO matter. But, they are not the be-all and end-all of weight loss; they’re important, but they’re the symptom, not the cause.
Let’s think about the reasons people eat more calories, the actual causes.
So many people eat more calories than they need, not because they’re physically hungry, but because they feel sad, lonely, or bored. Or maybe because they’re tired or stressed. Or they’re happy and celebrating!!
And all these feelings interact with our gastrointestinal, nervous, and hormonal systems; all of which influence our calorie intake. So this isn’t a matter of watching what you’re eating, but understanding why you’re eating.
Myth #2: “Eat less move more” is Good Advice
Well, then we’re all in tip-top shape, right? Because people have been doling out this advice ::cough::myth::cough for years.
The premise of this is based on the above myth that calories in minus calories out equals your weight.
So, eat fewer calories, and burn off more calories (because human physiology is a simple math equation, right?)
Even if people can happily and sustainably follow this advice (which they can’t!) it completely negates other factors that contribute to an unhealthy body weight. Things like the causes of overeating we mentioned above. Not to mention our genetics, health conditions we’re dealing with or our exposure to compounds that are obesogenic.
Listen up, your body isn’t a checking account and your weight is not so simply raised and lowered by adding and subtracting calories.
Myth #3: A calorie is a calorie
I can’t even with this one, ok?
Science has confirmed several caloric components of some foods differ from others. For example, the thermic effect of food (TEF) is that some nutrients require calories to be metabolized. They can slightly increase your metabolism, just by eating them.
For example, when you metabolize protein you burn more calories than when you metabolize carbohydrates. Proteins and carbohydrates both have 4 calories/gram; but, the TEF of protein = 15–30%; and the TEF for carbohydrates = 5–10%.
Here’s another example of a calorie not being a calorie: Different fats are metabolized differently. Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) have the same 9 calories/gram that other fats do but, they’re metabolized by the liver before getting into the bloodstream and therefore aren’t utilized or stored the same way as other fats.
Myth #4: Buy this supplement/tea/food/magic potion to help you lose weight
There is no magic pill for weight loss. No supplement, tea, food, or other potion will do the trick.
I’ll say it again. THERE 👏 IS 👏 NO👏 MAGIC 👏 PILL👏
There are LOTS of products that make this claim and they’re full of garbage. The only thing you will lose is your money, and possibly your faith in mankind. So, please don’t believe this myth.
There is a reason most people who lose weight can’t keep it off. The real magic is in ditching the diet mindset altogether. Focus on adopting a sustainable holistic and healthy approach to living your life. What you need is a long-term lifestyle makeover, not a product.
Want to learn more about how I ditched the diet mentality and got healthy without any weird pills, shakes, or supplements?
Grab my free e-book here:
tl;dr – Thanks to diet culture, too many people obsess on weight loss as a goal. A healthy body weight is the result of consistent healthy eating habits and the harder you chase a scale weight, the faster you’ll see it climb right back up. There are a lot of well intentioned health professionals out there thinking they’re helping by propagating these myths but they’re part of the problem.
Don’t fall for the myths that say:
“Calories cause weight gain, and fewer calories are the path to weight loss.”
“You just need to eat less and move more!”
“A calorie is a calorie.”
“Buy this supplement/tea/food/magic potion to lose weight”
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.