According to the CDC, more than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults and 17% of children are obese. In recent years, obesity rates have slowed in some areas, but it still remains one of the country’s most expensive and deadly health crises.
While more Americans are focusing on their health and wellness, weight loss myths are just getting more pervasive. If you have been trying to lose weight, but haven’t had much success, you could be getting some bad advice. Here are three common misconceptions about weight loss to trash for good.
Myth #1: You Can Exercise Away a Bad Diet
Many people think that as long as they’re putting in time at the gym, they can eat whatever they want. This isn’t just untrue, it’s a dangerous way of thinking. Weight loss occurs when you have burned more calories than you have consumed. In order to burn off the average fast food meal, you would have to run at a brisk pace for about five hours! While exercise is an integral part of boosting your health and building muscle, a great body begins in the kitchen.
Myth #2: Elimination Diets are Necessary for Weight Loss
It seems that every fad diet that pops up focuses on eliminating an entire food group from your diet. Whether it’s carbs, fats, or grains, every so-called diet expert pushes the idea of “bad foods.” That in order to make a meaningful change, you must cut out certain foods.
It’s true that eliminating certain foods can help some people lose weight. However, this happens when the elimination results in an overall calorie deficit. As Nina Teicholz discusses in her book, The Big Fat Surprise, many of the foods that we consider to be “fatty” are, in fact, a good part of a balanced diet. The fact of the matter is that it’s not just about what you eat, it’s how much you eat. Portion control is one of the biggest factors in weight loss.
Myth #3: Obesity is Purely an Aesthetic Issue
If you ask the average person why they want to lose weight, chances are that their response will have something to do with how they look. When most people think about obesity, they think about how someone looks on the outside, not how their body is functioning on the inside.
Beauty is subjective, but health is not. Obesity goes a lot farther than not fitting into a certain dress size. Obesity puts pressure on your circular and cardiovascular systems and joints. It increases the risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, liver and kidney disease, and even cancer. When we stop thinking about obesity in terms of looks, we can start to focus on how it can hurt people from the inside out.
These are only a small fraction of common weight loss myths you can find. Remember, it’s important to be skeptical of narratives surrounding obesity. False information can easily be spread in order to sell you a program or a pill. Most importantly, when trying to make positive changes in your lifestyle, always consult with a doctor.