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Debunking Common Weight Loss Myths

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

There are many unhealthy misconceptions surrounding weight loss, and ultimately, there are no magic diets, pills, or quick fixes that will melt away excess body fat. However, I still see many ‘weight loss myths’ floating around, especially on social media. So today, I’m going to debunk some of the most common myths I see.

 

MYTH 1: Going low carb/cutting carbs is the only way to lose weight.

Carbohydratres are not the enemy! Carbohydrates are your body’s preferred source of energy, and whole food carbohydrate sources such as whole grains and starches can help lower your risk of chronic diseases. Removing carbs from the diet will initially cause quick weight loss due to the loss of water weight and glycogen stores in the body. This can be motivating for many people when they see the scales quickly come down in those initial weeks, however, this is not fat loss! Whilst avoiding processed carbohydrates can be beneficial, including whole food sources of carbs is beneficial and an essential part of your diet.


potatoes are a healthy source of carbohydrates

MYTH 2: Eating late at night causes weight gain

Eating late at night is not a direct cause of weight gain. Your daily calorie intake is more important than when you eat, so as long as you are eating at a deficit or at maintenance, this will not directly cause you to gain weight. However, there are caveats to this. If you have already met your calorie requirements for the day, eating late at night will lead to overconsumption. Another factor to consider is how it affects your sleep. If eating close to bed is disruptive to your sleep, the next day you are likely to overeat due to sleep deprivation.


MYTH 3: Doing a detox or cleanse is a quick way to lose weight

Yes, this can be true, BUT you are losing body weight, not body fat. Most of that weight loss is just a loss of food in your stomach and bowels, glycogen and water stores in the body, and sometimes even muscle mass (depending how long the cleanse is for). You can’t maintain a detox or cleanse forever, so when you start eating normally again that weight will come back on. You may even gain some extra back if you have lost muscle and/or if your metabolism has adjusted to a lower calorie intake (muscle loss will result in a lower metabolism). You have to focus on something sustainable, not just a quick fix!


smoothie and juice cleanses are not required for weight loss

MYTH 4: Doing tons of cardio and HITT is best for weight loss

Cardio alone is often not enough to lose weight, and can even be detrimental to your goals if you do too much! Whilst cardio will burn calories, it will also increase the stress hormone cortisol (which can make you puffy and hold weight around the stomach), and also increase your appetite significantly (so you end up compensating for the calories burnt). It’s important to combine cardio with strength training and a healthy diet. Together these three components can help create an effective weight loss plan. Weight training will help you increase lean muscle mass, which will increase your metabolism, and won’t cause huge spikes of cortisol like cardio does.


too much cardio will increase cortisol levels

MYTH 5: Skipping meals is a good way to lose weight quickly

Skipping meals can slow down you metabolism and actually make weight loss harder, among other harmful effects. Eating regular meals helps you regulate your metabolism and give your body a consistent supply of nutrients, which is vital for maintaining a healthy weight over time. Not to mention, skipping meals can lead to overeating and binging on unhealthy foods later on. This creates a binge-restrict cycle, where you restrict or skip a meal, get so hungry you end up bingeing later on, then feel guilty about overeating and restrict again!

 

If your goal is weight loss you don’t have to do any of these! They are not sustainable in the long-term and will usually result in weight gain and poor health outcomes. Weight loss is a complex and individual process, and it’s important to find a balanced approach that works for you and your lifestyle.


My new program Nourish and Thrive has an entire module covering how to lose weight in a healthy way without restriction, deprivation, or crazy workout regimes! I teach you how to eat in a way that not only supports your weight loss goals, but also makes you feel good both physically and mentally.


Need guidance losing weight? Check out my online program Nourish and Thrive, where you’ll learn how to eat right, exercise according to your goals, manage stress, and develop a mindset that allows you to thrive long-term.

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