I was going over some old posts on the net about weight loss, and read one from the Diet Channel written in 2006 that talked about the reasons why we don’t lose weight. I had forgotten the story that weight loss is not like emptying a bucket with a ladle and it made me think about other weight loss myths (or misunderstandings) that get in the way of successful weight loss.
Myth #1: To recount the bucket story: “A scoop out of the bucket today, tomorrow, next week will eventually empty the bucket.” But, in our bodies, the reality is quite different – the harder we try to diet, the more intently our body fights back to preserve itself! This is why it is desirable (and it sounds like a broken record) that an increase in exercise should accompany a loss in calories. Our body will react less to increased work than it will to a decrease in calories, so that’s why we hear that ‘exercise‘ word over and over again.
Myth #2: This one should be Myth Number 1! It is extremely unlikely that we will lose ’30 pounds in 30 days’, or ’20 pounds in 20 days’, or even ’10 pounds in 10 days.’ Even more unlikely, even if we could hit those numbers, is the reality that we can and will keep it off. Contrary to what we see in every weight loss product ad, and what is happening on The Biggest Loser, permanent weight loss requires a lifestyle change, an understanding of how to change our body’s reaction to food and exercise slowly over a long period of time, and an even bigger understanding of how we got to be over-weight in the first place.
Myth #3: Fat and carbohydrates are bad for us. Sorry South Beach and friends, but a healthy diet includes ‘good’ non-saturated fats (that’s why they’re called essential fatty acids!) and ‘good’ carbohydrates. Simple carbs (white sugar, corn syrup and the like) are BAD, complex carbs (fresh vegetables and fruits, multi-grains and so on) are GOOD. They provide vitamins, trace elements, minerals and fiber – which also helps to make you feel full, but that’s a story for a different time.
Myth #4: That there are only 3 myths about weight loss is a joke. . . there are thousands, but the 3 myths above are ones that we face nearly every day.