Are you trying to achieve your weight loss goals but time and time again find yourself failing to shift the numbers on the scale? If so, it might be time to reassess your views on the fundamentals of weight loss. Below are the most common misconceptions.
1: You must eat breakfast upon waking.
The truth is, it’s actually better to wait until you feel hungry. The longer you fast between dinner and your first meal of the day, the longer your body will need to tap into fat stores for energy. If you have any digestive issues, this time will also be spent reducing inflammation and healing the gastrointestinal lining. Intermittent fasting has also shown a wealth of other benefits that you can read about here.
2: You must snack regularly.
Snacks can be used to incorporate wholesome foods such as more veggies, however, snacking patterns might also result in unhealthy eating habits such as mindless eating, emotional or binge eating, and in turn impede weight loss progress.
Moreover, the release of insulin (our fat-storage hormone) is triggered every time you eat. This is why listening to your hunger signals and having three substantial well-balanced meals that leave you satisfied is far superior, particularly if you have thyroid or blood sugar issues.
3: Eating fewer calories will always equal weight loss.
The truth is that whilst caloric intake (or portion control) holds some importance with regard to weight loss, your ability to burn fat is impacted by all kinds of hormonal factors within the body ranging from thyroid to sex hormones, as well as insulin, leptin, and cortisol. Putting all your effort into calories alone is simplifying a much more complex subject. Moreover, counting calories encourages people to obsess about quantity rather than quality. By all means, consume less than you expend, but also explore other factors or ‘blocks’ which may be in play for you.
4: Follow a low-fat diet.
Don’t be afraid of fats. Whilst they’re energy-dense, they do not spike your insulin in the same way carbohydrates do. There are also plenty of high-quality sources that provide a plethora of nutrients to down-regulate inflammation, support hormone production, and keep you satiated – all of which will support fat loss. Without fats, people tend to consume more grains or refined sugar which impair your metabolism and lead to weight gain.
5: Weight loss equals good health.
The truth is, we get healthier FIRST, and then our weight balances. In fact, this is exactly why weight loss doesn’t happen in the first week, month, or even two months for some women. The body must first HEAL before it will release fat stores which are essentially just ‘backup energy’ or protection.
6: You must cut carbs to lose weight.
Carbs do not only mean white bread and pasta as most of us think. Carbohydrates are also found in vegetables, legumes, wholegrain and fruits. So we don’t have to avoid carbs totally – we just need to choose the better ones. In fact, we need to have them as PART of a balanced diet. They are rich in nutrients and fibre which keep us full and provide us with energy to be more active.
When we are active, we build muscle and increase metabolism which allows us to be more lenient with our diet. You don’t need to remove all carbohydrates in order to tap into fat stores; you simply need to eat in moderation and move.
7: Skinny is healthy.
Whilst a slender physique can equal health, it’s not necessarily synonymous. There are various instances of disease or extreme fad diets which exemplify this point. Moreover, I’m sure each of you knows someone who eats terribly but has a slender figure, or someone with a fuller figure who eats incredibly well and is very strong and healthy! Health ranges in size, full stop.
Distinguishing weight-loss myths from facts can help you make healthy changes in your diet so you can attain long-term and more permanent weight loss. We recommend you start off with our FREE assessment just in case you're experiencing some blocks to healthy weight loss. Alternatively, you can get in touch with any of our naturopaths at Happy Healthy You for expert advice on your weight loss journey.
Sievert Katherine, Hussain Sultana Monira, Page Matthew J, Wang Yuanyuan, Hughes Harrison J, Malek Mary et al. Effect of breakfast on weight and energy intake: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials BMJ 2019; 364:l42
Kong, Angela et al. “Associations between snacking and weight loss and nutrient intake among postmenopausal overweight to obese women in a dietary weight-loss intervention.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association vol. 111,12 (2011): 1898-903.