Unsurprisingly, weight loss is one of the most popular fitness goals among Americans with more than half of U.S adults (51%) reportedly wanting to lose weight by making healthier lifestyle changes.
In another survey, conducted by Cleveland Clinic, a staggering 84% reported they have tried at least one weight-loss method in the past. About one-third of the respondents admitted they typically stick with their weight loss plan between one week and one month.
Setting unrealistic goals, unhealthy misconceptions and lack of proper resources, supervision and support are some of the biggest barriers that can derail your weight loss journey.
“If you’re looking for a quick fix to lose a lot of weight, you’re not going to find it. In order to lose weight safely and sustainably, you need to start by changing your everyday habits and not all at once,” says Michael Garrico, a personal fitness trainer at Total Shape.
Instead of trying to change your whole life in a day, start by adopting small habits that work well with your lifestyle. “Maybe decide you will go to the gym three times a week. Or try limiting your consumption of processed foods,” suggests Garrico.
Also, ask yourself why you want to lose weight in the first place. “Having a clearly defined reason will help you stick to your journey when you’re feeling less motivated—which is a normal part of the process,” Garrico explains.
“It’s a trial and error process of seeing what type of diet and exercise routine works for you,” notes Garrico. “It might take a while, but the results will be worth it,” he assures.
In hopes of making your weight loss journey easier Garrico reveals the truth behind the most common myths about weight loss that could be holding you back from your goals:
Myth#1 Avoid Carbs If You Want To Lose Weight
Fact: Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are the essential macronutrients that have to be a part of any healthy and sustainable diet. They each play a very important role in your body. Carbohydrates are a major source of energy for your body and they allow it to function properly.
Carbohydrates can be simple and complex, and what you want to do is limit your intake of simple carbohydrates. They are found in processed foods and because of their simple chemical structure, they spike your blood sugar levels.
Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are processed more slowly, which means that they provide sustained energy and there are no sudden spikes in your blood sugar levels. Peas, beans, lentils, whole grains, and some vegetables are all great sources of complex carbs.
Myth#2 If You Want To Lose Weight, You Need To Starve Yourself
Fact: Skipping meals and snacks is not the solution, for several reasons. For one, not eating when you are hungry leads to irritability, dissatisfaction, and inevitably to binging. Furthermore, when you are hungry, your body automatically slows down your metabolism, as a way to ensure survival through an extended period of starvation.
Rather than ignoring your hunger, you should eat mini-meals and nutritious snacks every 3 to 4 hours throughout the day. Try including high-quality protein and different kinds of vegetables in every meal.
Myth#3 Exercise Is The Key To Losing Weight
Fact: Putting all your efforts into exercise is a waste of time and will lead to no results in the long run. However important physical activity may be, not only for losing weight, but for general wellbeing as well, nutrition is the key factor. Workouts account for only a small percentage of calorie burning, so what it comes down to is the quality of food you consume.
Myth#4 Diet Pills Or Surgery Help To Lose Weight Quickly
Fact: Both diet pills and weight-loss surgery are extremely risky and often don’t give the desired results. Diet medications are ineffective and can cause serious harm to your body; high blood pressure, fast heart rate, and other heart and lung problems are common side effects.
Weight-loss surgery can be effective for highly obese individuals, but it takes serious preparation and not everyone is a suitable candidate. Furthermore, it is a surgical procedure, which means it carries substantial risks such as blood clots and infections. Unfortunately, the majority of those who undergo weight-loss surgery regain their weight.
Myth#5 Consuming Fat Makes You Gain Weight
Fact: As previously mentioned, fat is an essential macronutrient that hat has a unique role in your body. It helps the proper functioning of your cells, keeps you warm, and supplies you with energy. It is also important for your brain and skin health.
Incorporating low-fat foods such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil into your diet will support your weight loss. These unsaturated fats make you feel fuller for longer, thus reducing your food cravings. It is important to mention that consuming excessive amounts of fats will lead to weight gain, as it leads to a high-calorie intake.
Myth#6 Only Those With Strong Willpower Can Lose Weight
Fact: Your weight loss journey is not a reflection of your character, and not achieving your goals is not proof of your lack of willpower, motivation, or work ethic. More and more research proves that factors such as genetics and environment also play a role in your weight gain or loss, meaning that while it is easy for some people to influence their weight, it can be very difficult for others.
Myth#7 Investing In A Fitness Tracker Is A Must
Fact: Although they may be an appealing accessory, studies indicate that they have no significant effect on the outcome of your weight-loss journey. In fact, a study from 2016 which monitored its participants who were trying to lose weight for 2 years showed that those who used fitness trackers dropped around 7.7 pounds, while those who didn’t drop an estimated 13 pounds.
Myth#8 Increase Your Protein Intake If You Want To Lose Weight
Fact: This one is not entirely false. As we have established, proteins are essential nutrients and they keep you full, help repair and build your tissues, and coordinate bodily functions. Although some studies suggest that higher protein intake can contribute to weight loss, it is debatable just how much protein your body actually needs.
Protein needs are different for everyone, as they depend on age, gender, degree of physical activity, and whether you are pregnant or nursing. Instead of obsessing with grams, focus on choosing nutrient-dense, lean sources of protein like lentils, tofu, eggs, and poultry.
Myth#9 Small Changes In Physical Activity Lead To Long-Term Weight Loss
Fact: We’ve all heard the famous “Use the stairs instead of the elevator.” Although choices like this are not bad, they will also not have any major impact on your weight loss. Taking the stairs will often get you faster to your destination instead of the elevator, and it is certainly beneficial to get that extra physical activity during your day, but this will not impact your long-term weight loss in any significant way.
Myth#10 It’s All Or Nothing
Fact: All the information about weight loss
can be overwhelming, especially if you are at the beginning of your weight-loss process. If excluding all processed foods from your diet and exercising every day are major changes to your routine, it is going to be very difficult to implement them, and this always leads to burnout, lethargy, loss of motivation, and a sense of failure.
“Your weight loss journey is a trial and error process of seeing what type of diet and exercise routine works for you,” notes Garrico. “It might take a while, but the results will be worth it,” he assures.