There’s no question that there’s an obesity epidemic in America. Roughly two-thirds of the women, three-quarters of the men, and one-third of the children in our country are overweight or obese. How did we get so out of control? Well, one of the biggest reasons is all the bogus information floating around out there. With that in mind, I want to set the record straight—and debunk some of the most common weight loss myths, so you won’t fall victim to them.
Myth #1: Don’t Weigh Yourself Every Day
Most healthy weight loss programs do not recommend weighing yourself every day. But the truth is daily weigh-ins could actually be the key to success.
A 2011 study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine looked at a group of 1,222 adults who were part of the HealthWorks trial, which studied the effects of environmental changes in the workplace on the body weight among adult workers. The researchers found that obese people were more likely to weigh themselves regularly and they lost an average of 9.7 pounds during a two-year period. Meanwhile, normal weight people were likely to get on the scale just once a month and experienced a 2.4 pound weight gain during that same period.
In another study, researchers enrolled more than 3,000 overweight people who were on weight loss or weight maintenance programs and followed them for two years. People who weighed in daily lost twice as much as those who weighed only once a week—and those who never stepped on a scale actually gained weight.
Weight Loss Myth #2: Avoid Carbohydrates
When it comes to weight loss, carbohydrates have certainly made headlines, and with all the information out there, unraveling the carb conundrum can be confusing. There’s no question that in order for healthy weight loss to occur, sugary and starchy carbohydrates have to go. That means no bread, pasta, desserts, etc. You should also limit your intake of high-glycemic fruits, which cause the same dramatic rise in blood sugar levels that refined carbohydrates produce. However, fiber-rich, low-glycemic vegetables, along with lean protein, should be dietary mainstays for healthy weight loss.
Weight Loss Myth #3: We’re Eating Too Much Fat
The truth is we’re not eating enough of the right fats. While I encourage you to restrict, or better yet, eliminate your intake of unhealthy trans fats (found in processed and most fast foods), what most of us are lacking are omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids (EFAs), which are critical for optimal health, can only be obtained through foods or supplements because the body is unable to produce them on its own. Cold-water fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, tuna, and trout) and flaxseed are the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Weight Loss Myth #4: “Healthy” Sugars Are Okay to Eat
Sugar and weight loss just don’t mix. Whether it’s white or brown sugar, honey, agave, or corn syrup—they all break down rapidly in the bloodstream and can wreak havoc on your metabolism. These high-glycemic sugars cause surges and plunges in blood sugar levels, food cravings, and constant hunger. Instead, try a natural, non-caloric sugar alternative such as stevia—an herb that has been used as a natural sweetener in South America for hundreds of years.
Weight Loss Myth #5: Diet Sodas Are Acceptable
Most artificial sweeteners like you get in diet soda feed your sweet tooth, but they may end up causing you to crave even more sugar. Plus, many of these chemicals have unwanted side effects. If you have a hankering for a soda every once in a while, I recommend Zevia, which is sweetened with the natural sweetener stevia, monk fruit, and erythritol (a sugar alcohol).