7 Myths About Weight Loss You Always Thought Were True
“Losing weight” is one of the most confusing ideas in our culture. It seems like everyone wants to do it, but everyone has different ideas about what works.
This has led to many myths about losing weight that are completely wrong. In fact, not only are these ideas wrong, but some could cause you to gain weight instead of lose it.
This is not just a superficial problem. The benefits and signs of burning fat include everything from increased creativity to reduced depression and less fatigue.
So, if you want to improve your mental and physical health, it’s best to separate fact from fiction. Here, then, are the fake facts and myths about fat loss for women you thought were true!
1. You need to avoid fat
Of all the fake facts, what is number one? The idea that you need to avoid eating fat whenever possible.
Countless low-fat diets are based on the idea that less fat makes it easier to burn calories and lose weight. But your body actually needs that fat for energy, and fatty foods can help you feel fuller for longer. Fats in foods also help with reducing inflammation and stimulating the mind as “brain food.”
Not all fats are created equal, though. Stick with unsaturated and low-percentage fats if you’re interested in losing weight.
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2. Carbs are the enemy
You can’t throw a stick without hitting some new no-carb or low-carb diet. And this has caused plenty of people who want to lose weight to swear off carbs forever.
If you’re constantly munching on carbs, it’s true that reducing consumption may cause weight loss. But that is more a matter of reducing your overall caloric intake than any magic about ditching carbs.
And some carbs (including whole-grain bread, fruits, veggies, oatmeal, potatoes, and brown rice) are a cornerstone of a healthy diet. They provide the fiber you need while also making your body feel fuller for longer. The fuller you feel, the less you’ll snack throughout the day!
3. You can target weight loss in one area of your body
Where do most weight loss myths come from? As you might expect, most of them come from someone trying to sell you something. And one of the biggest myths (fueled by countless infomercials) is the idea that you can target weight loss in just one area of your body.
This idea (also called spot reduction) is obviously tempting. For example, many people would love to target fat loss around areas like arms and bellies, but that’s not how weight loss works. You’re going to lose fat in different areas first based on your genetics, and no amount of special diets or exercises can change that.
On the bright side, you can target certain areas for muscle tone, if not weight loss. You can build and tone your muscles, although your hard work may be buried under a layer of fat until you lose the excess weight.
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4. The right foods burn fat
What’s the biggest lie anyone has ever said about a particular food? Just three little words: “It burns fat.”
The idea that food literally burns fat is a kind of magical thinking. Who wouldn’t like the ability to eat a certain dish and just watch those pounds melt off?
With that being said, some foods are better for weight loss than others. That’s because some foods do things like make you feel fuller for a longer period of time. Ultimately, combining a balanced diet and exercise are the only ways to consistently lose weight.
“Magical” weight loss tricks like so-called fat-burning creams, fat-burning drinks, and fat-burning essential oils fall into this myth category as well.
5. Healthy food makes you lose weight
That brings us to a related myth: that “healthy” foods inherently help you lose weight. But that’s simply not true, and how we define “healthy” food is something of an open question.
The reason is that it all comes down to calories. You might think a salad is certainly healthier than a burger. But a McDonald’s salad, along with salad dressing, actually has more calories in it than a Big Mac!
As we said before, the key to healthy food is feeling fuller for a longer time and ultimately reducing how many calories you consume. And foods high in calories (even “healthy” foods) will hurt your weight loss plans instead of helping them.
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6. Cardio is king
It’s an open secret that exercise is an important part of losing weight. But there are plenty of exercise myths out there. For example, plenty of people believe that cardio is the most effective way to burn calories.
Don’t get us wrong: getting at least 10,000 steps a day and throwing in some running sessions is a solid way to burn calories. But if you really want to watch calories burn off, you need to take up strength training. For this reason, fat-burning chest workouts like rowing or swimming are great.
This training develops more muscles throughout your body. And the more muscles you have, the more energy your body uses to maintain those muscles. That means you’ll burn more calories more efficiently, even when you’re doing no exercise at all!
Having more muscle even translates to burning more fat while you sleep, because muscle burns more calories at rest than fat. For fat-burning exercises at home that also build muscle, you can try investing in a rowing machine.
7. Juice detox is effective
Juice detoxes are the latest health craze sweeping from coast to coast. And proponents of juice detoxes love to claim that you will naturally lose weight while enjoying a healthier “de-toxed” body.
It’s possible that a juice detox could help you lose weight, but that’s only because you’re reducing how many calories you consume. And juice detoxes can be dangerous because they hurt your metabolism. This means you may pack the pounds back on as soon as you get off the juice diet.
Adding insult to injury, these detoxes don’t actually remove any toxins. So they are basically nothing more than a disappointing crash diet that can lead to long-term weight gain.