Busting Weight Loss Myths

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There is so much weight loss information out there it’s often difficult to determine what’s fact and what’s fiction. Suffice it to say, if it appears too good to be true, it probably is. Here are some common claims debunked:


1) It takes 21 days to form a habit – For some people this might be the case. However, there is not enough substantiated evidence to support that all habits are formed in 21 days. Consider smoking as an example. If the desire is to quit smoking, the 21 day rule would imply that an individual could quit smoking in 21 days. You may know of someone who quit smoking cold turkey. They decided one morning to quit, and they did. For others, it could take months, even years to quit smoking. Some individuals never do.

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2) Carbs are unhealthy and should be eliminated from the diet – Carbs can be unhealthy, if eaten in excess, especially if they are processed carbs found in packaged foods, or white bread. Eliminating all carbs from your diet deprives your body of essential nutrients and much needed energy. Healthy carbs, such as those found in fruits and vegetables, are rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants, not to mention, they’re high in fiber, which aids in digestion. Steel cut oatmeal has been known to help lower cholesterol and improve heart health. It’s a great energy booster.


3) I have high cholesterol so I should stay away from foods high in cholesterol, especially eggs – Foods high in cholesterol do not cause high cholesterol. Foods high in saturated fat cause high cholesterol. Foods high in sat fat include red meat, processed foods, fried foods, oils, nuts, and avocado. Our bodies need healthy oils, in moderation. Although healthy oils, nuts, and avocados have many health benefits, they still contain fat. Proper portioning is necessary. Eggs are a great source of protein. Unless you have an egg sensitivity or allergy, it is not necessary to stay away from eggs, even if you have high cholesterol.


4) The best type of activity is cardio as it burns more calories – Actually, the best type of activity is the one you’ll stick with. If you don’t enjoy the activity you’re doing, you won’t stick with it. Cardio has many health benefits, as does walking, weight lifting, and gardening. Many cardio activities can burn serious calories. However, strength training can benefit you after the workout. Lean muscle requires more energy to maintain. As a result, the resting metabolism of someone with lean muscle mass is higher than the resting metabolism of someone who has a higher BMI.

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5) Muscle weighs more than fat A pound of muscle weighs the same amount as a pound of fat. As previously mentioned, lean muscle requires more energy to maintain, increasing resting metabolism. Therefore, individuals with a lower BMI and a higher percentage of lean muscle mass, will weigh less.


6) It takes willpower to lose weight and stay on a diet – First and foremost, willpower is overrated. Individuals who appear to have a lot of willpower, actually have the same amount of willpower as individuals who appear to have none. The difference is, those with perceived willpower have learned to respond differently to outside influences and challenges. They have developed a positive, growth mindset. They are less likely to beat themselves up if they overindulge. As a result, they tend to bounce back more quickly after setbacks. Secondly, staying on a diet indefinitely is unrealistic for anyone. After all, the first three letters in the word diet are die. Diets are restrictive and unsustainable. The key to losing weight and keeping it off is developing sustainable lifestyle changes. Unless positive behavior change occurs, weight loss cannot be sustained.


7) Dairy is unhealthy and should be avoided – Dairy has become a source of controversy due to findings that milk contains excessive hormones. In addition, many individuals suffer from lactose intolerance, the ability to digest milk products. Research has shown that dairy products can cause inflammation. Individuals with auto-immune disorders, severe allergies, arthritis, and other inflammatory diseases, are encouraged to limit dairy intake. What does this say for the vast majority of individuals with no sensitivities or inflammatory diseases? Dairy is a great source of calcium and vitamin D. Both are essential for bone and joint health. Low fat and fat free dairy can provide essential nutrients the body needs. Therefore, unless you have a sensitivity or an allergy to dairy products, they should not be avoided.

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