In 2014 according to data from WHO 39% of women and 38% of men aged 18+ were overweight and 15% of women and 11% of men aged 18+ were obese. That means half of the adult population of Earth was either overweight or obese in 2014.
Yes, half. That’s a scary statistic right there. And it also makes me wonder why we have a billion dollar weight loss industry and half the population overweight??
If you’re reading this post it’s likely that either you’re one of them or at least you want to make sure you don’t become one. The problem is that with all the available information on the internet and in media, not to mention the profit oriented marketing of the food industry, it makes it very hard to figure out what to believe when they talk about “healthy” or “weight loss” foods.
Let me tell you a secret: there is no magic pill or a cookie cutter type of solution. This scientific chart proves it.
Some of the principles you hear may work for some people while leaving others desperate and filled with low self-confidence. Here are 8 weight loss myths that need to die so you can focus on building healthy habits instead of looking for the easy way out.
1. BREAD MAKES YOU FAT.
No. The calories from the amount of bread you eat may make you fat just like any other food. In recent years bread, pasta and other carbohydrate rich foods have been demonized and blamed for the obesity epidemic.
To be fully honest, most people probably eat far too much of these products, but blaming it for our bad choices is just like blaming the horse for taking you somewhere you didn’t want to go.
When your diet consists of a variety of food and macronutrients in line with your daily calorie intake goals you can have bread as part of a balanced diet. A slice of it will contain roughly about 70 to 100 calories depending on the ingredients and its size.
2. NO DAIRY FOR YOU.
If you are intolerant to lactose or any components of a dairy product then you might want avoid it, this is true. In other cases, you only need to consider that full fat products will have higher fat and therefore higher calorie content so you should be aware of how much you are consuming.
You can always opt for the low-fat options to control your intake or have less dairy than you normally do to aid weight loss.
3. Healthier foods are more expensive.
If you only look at the receipt after doing your food shopping, you’re probably right. Comparing the price of a basket filled with nutritious fruits and vegetables, lean protein, fiber rich grain products and healthy fats will cost more than buying cheap ready meals and other products that likely will contain empty calories and less nutrients.
According to a meta-analysis done by Harvard School of Public Health the difference between the least healthy and the healthiest option is less than one would think, only $1.50 per day, that’s $45 per month. Less than a night out with friends or a family meal out. Not to mention the long-term benefits of saving on health care.
4. Don't eat 3-4 hours before going to bed.
Some people will have their bedtime snack half an hour before falling asleep to make sure they won’t wake-up starving. Your body doesn’t shut down for the night, quite the opposite. While you’re asleep there are many recovery processes to perform and your body uses energy doing so.
While intermittent fasting works very well for some people to control their food intake, you don’t have to stop eating hours before going to sleep just make sure that dinner doesn’t shoot over your daily calorie intake.
5. You need a post-workout shake.
No, you don’t. Don't get me wrong, you should eat something post-workout especially if you were working out in a fasted state, but it does not have to be a shake.
Athletes that train multiple times a day and/or participate in strenuous endurance events that last for hours, they probably need it. All you need is to have a solid nutrition plan with balanced meals to support your activity levels.
6. Fat burners help you lose weight quicker.
Nope. But they do help the supplement companies make money faster.
Most fat loss supplements will have two effects: they give you a caffeine boost and suppress your appetite. Both can be achieved in other ways without spending a fortune on pills.
Increase your protein intake so you will feel fuller for longer and if you need a caffeine boost, have a coffee. Ideally black, no sugar.
7. Fruit is a “free” food.
Not all fruits are made equal. 100g of banana contains 89 calories on average while 100g of strawberries have 32 calories. The former has 12g of sugar and contains fiber, while the latter only has 4.9g of sugar.
While both have their place in a balanced diet and you would be hard pressed to overeat fruit, they still have calories and do count in your overall daily intake of food and thus could put you in a calorie surplus.
8. Some foods speed up metabolism
Metabolism, in other words the hormonal system of the body consists of all the chemical processes that happen in your body 24/7 to ensure you stay alive, your organs can function normally and includes processes such as breathing, repairing cells and digesting food. Your body, just like a car needs energy to be able to perform these processes to its best and how much of it is required will depend on your age, your weight, gender and genetic profile.
There is little scientific evidence that any specific food or drink could boost your metabolism to burn more calories and aid weight loss. There is however some evidence to support that bursts of high intensity exercise can be more efficient in burning fat than traditional steady state cardiovascular exercise. This means that applying an “eat less calories than you consume” approach to nutrition combined with a varied exercise routine can be the best way for sustained fat loss results.
You need to eat less than your body needs. Best way to keep your diet sustainable is to ensure it includes a variety of nutrients, colors, textures and flavors to your taste.
Would you like to learn more about how to filter through the fads and create new habits that fit in with your lifestyle and help you reach your fitness goals? Check out my Get REAL Challenge and jump on board to kick-start your way to the REAL you.
I am a wife, mom, grandma & former professional “diet and exercise hopper" who understands the challenges of being 40lb overweight after having children & the damage repeated sense of failure can cause to your confidence and self-esteem.