9 Weight Loss Myths That Are Sabotaging Your Fitness Goals
By Todd Cadwell, DC
When it comes to getting healthy and losing weight, people have a lot of misconceptions. Which makes sense, given how much misinformation is out there from fad weight loss plans and so called “fitness gurus.”
Even our mainstream medical establishment and our government—with its mixed up food pyramids and inadequate nutrient intake requirements—can’t get it right.
Sadly, this misinformation has caused immense suffering among people who desperately want to improve their health but are stymied by terrible advice.
If you’ve been struggling to lose weight, ask yourself: Have you bought into any of these 9 myths? If so, it’s no wonder you’re stuck. You’ve been following advice that is destined to keep you from losing weight.
Myth #1: You have to exercise to lose weight
So many people with weight struggles exercise religiously, and still the scale doesn’t budge. They hit the gym for hours a day, hire personal trainers, and do everything the Internet and their doctors tell them to do, but they can’t seem to lose a pound.
If you’ve been exercising and not getting results, I have news for you. The exercise may actually be causing your weight troubles.
How? By increasing the stress hormone cortisol, which can cause you to hang onto fat.
Now I’m not saying that exercise isn’t important for fitness and weight loss. It is. But there’s a time and a place for it. When your body is already stressed and unhealthy, it’s not the time to get into an intense exercise routine. First we need to get your body into a better state of balance and function. Once we do, you’ll be able to add in exercise—and reap the benefits it can provide.
Myth #2: All you have to do to lose weight is cut calories
This myth goes along with myth #1. The idea is that weight loss is a simple equation: calories in must be less than calories out.
In theory that makes sense. But in practice it’s another story. In fact, I see so many people in my practice who eat reduced calorie diets, and they’re not losing a pound.
There are a lot of reasons for that, but a big one is that when we’re restricting calories, we need to also be working to support the body appropriately so that the physiological processes required for weight loss can happen. That support looks different for each individual, and it’s the reason that it’s so important to work with a healthcare practitioner who doesn’t take a cookie-cutter approach to weight loss.
Myth #3: All calories are created equal
If you believe that the only thing you need to do to lose weight is cut calories, then you probably also believe that one calorie is the same as any other calorie.
That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, many people, when they cut calories, start eating prepackaged diet foods and drinks instead of the real thing. So they’re consuming food-like substances that are devoid of nutrients and wondering why they’re not losing weight.
I call those food-like substances “dead food.” They do nothing to support life. Our living bodies, for their health and well-being, have no use for dead food. Our bodies need nutrient-rich foods to be healthy and to maintain a healthy weight.
The other problem with these dead foods is that they’re often high on the glycemic index. That means they cause insulin to spike. When that happens, it can lead to insulin resistance, which leads to a plethora of problems within the body—sugar dysregulation, which can lead to prediabetes and diabetes, as well as increased fat storage.
Bottom line: All calories are not created equal. Stay away from calories that elevate sugar and ultimately insulin. Focus instead on nutrient-dense calories that fuel the body.
Myth #4: Fat makes you fat
One of the most detrimental lies we’ve been told about nutrition is that “fat makes you fat.” It’s what fueled the low-fat craze of the past few decades and pushed people toward fake foods and empty carbs.
The fact is that our bodies need fat. It’s necessary for the health of our brains, muscles, peripheral cells, organs, glands, hormones … you name it.
But the trick is we need to eat healthy fats. That means focusing on the omegas, and especially the anti-inflammatory omega 3s. Stay away from fake fats—those partially hydrogenated fats and processed oils that are in fast food and prepackaged foods. Those don’t promote good health within the body and can ultimately contribute to weight gain or inhibit your ability to lose weight.
Myth # 5: If I want to lose weight I have to eat “diet food”
So many of the most popular weight loss plans out there—the ones advertising on TV and in every magazine on the newsstand—is that they rely on prepackaged, program-approved foods.
Of course you can imagine why these programs rely on these foods: They’re a huge revenue source for them.
But the problem with these products is that they’re chock full of chemicals—artificial sweeteners, preservatives, dyes, etc. And as I said, you don’t want those dead foods in your body.
Prepackaged foods simply don’t have good nutrition. Plus, they tend to be packaged in plastics, which contain substances that mimic estrogen and can have terrible health effects.
You don’t need to eat “diet foods” to lose weight, and in fact you shouldn’t. What you need is a plan that teaches you how to eat the right real foods for your specific needs.
Myth #6: I need to drink tons of water
I’ll be the first to tell you that proper hydration is essential. But loading up on gallon upon gallon of water is not the way to achieve it.
I see people all the time who are drinking tons of water but are always thirsty. When that happens, the first thing I do is rule out any conditions that can cause excessive thirst. Then I explain that overhydrating can actually have unintended consequences. In fact, drinking too much water can flush minerals out of the body, making it impossible for cells to hold onto the water we’re giving them.
To address the problem, we need replenish mineral supplies in the body. Once those are at ideal levels, drinking the appropriate amount of water is effective, because your body is able to put it to use.
Myth #7: I can’t eat food that tastes good
I hear this one all the time, and it’s absolutely untrue. When people begin to eat real food instead of the garbage being peddled by most weight-loss programs, they realize just how delicious whole, fresh foods can be.
Once you break your dependence on processed foods and the chemicals in them that cause cravings, you’ll realize that what your body truly craves is nourishing, healthy food.
If you have a hard time getting excited about healthy foods, I recommend you read the book Salt Sugar Fat. It will help you understand how the mass-production food industry has gotten you into the situation you’re in. It’ll also illustrate how important—and how satisfying—it is to eat real food.
So no. If you want to lose weight, you do not have to live on a diet of rabbit food and cardboard.
Myth #8: Losing weight is hard and painful
If you’re following one of those backward fad diets, yes … losing weight can be hard and painful. But that’s just because those diets focus on dead food and exercise and calorie counting.
Those are not the answer to weight loss. Which is why so many people have struggled and become miserable and hopeless.
But when you take steps to support your body in the specific manner it needs to overcome the things that are contributing to weight gain or inhibiting weight loss, it’s amazing how easy it can feel. You become empowered to understand your body and what it needs, and you finally feel in control and in tune.
Weight loss does not have to be painful or uncomfortable!
Myth #9: Weight loss doesn’t last
The common storyline about “yo-yo dieting” comes from the fact that fad diets promote all the wrong things. And yet people keep doing them, over and over again, and wondering why the results don’t last.
The answer is that they don’t last because they were never meant to last. They were meant to give you quick results, not sustainable ones. They were designed to keep you coming back.
If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you need to break the cycle of insanity—of doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
When you realize that you live in a body that has specific nutrient needs and is going to respond differently to different foods, you gain knowledge about yourself. When you have that knowledge, you have the power to ultimately transform your lifestyle for good.
The key is long-term, transformational success that you desire and deserve will happen as you begin to understand the bigger picture.
Ready for real and lasting weight loss?
If you want to learn how to achieve lasting, pain-free weight loss and improve your health, check out our Body N Balance program.
The weight you lose with Body N Balance can absolutely stay off forever when you make the decision to take control. It’s about so much more than just counting calories, exercising, and drinking lots of water. When you understand that—and once you get to understand how to read your body’s unique nutritional needs—you’ll be empowered to make this weight loss a lifelong achievement.