Debunking 6 of the Worst Weight Loss Myths

There is a lot of weight loss advice on the internet, but most of it is unproven and ineffective! We break down 6 common myths, and what to do instead to help you build a sustainable weight loss plan!

Debunking 6 of the Worst Weight Loss Myths
María Rubio María Rubio
6 min read

When it comes to wanting to drop a few pounds, everyone wants to dive headfirst and do whatever it takes to rev up fast weight loss. Although you technically can lose weight fast, most of the advice given for fast weight loss is not healthy or helpful. In fact, a lot of weight loss advice is filled with misconceptions that can make achieving weight loss or any other fitness goals more difficult!

So, if you've been trying to lose weight, but keep failing at it then chances are you probably believe one of these common weight loss myths. To help you build a better healthier, and sustainable weight loss plan we're breaking down common myths about jump-starting weight loss and giving you tips on what to do instead!

You have to drastically cut calories

When one wants to jump-start weight loss, the first thing they do is drastically cut their caloric and food intake. Although calorie restriction is necessary when following any weight-loss program, it doesn't have to be as drastic as you may think. Sevelery cutting down on the number of calories you eat often backfires and can lead to yo-yo dieting. This involves a pattern of losing weight fast, regaining it, and dieting again to lose weight. Not only is this not sustainable, but it can also create a bad relationship with food and deprive your body of nutrients need!

What should you do instead?

Stop thinking short-term, and start thinking long-term. There's no need to lose 10 pounds in five days! If there's an event you want to get ready for, then plan ahead and aim for a healthy pace of losing 1-2 pounds per week. This can be done by cutting down your caloric intake by only 10 percent! To ensure you're eating enough to fuel your body with what it needs, use a macro calculator to help determine how many calories and macronutrients you should eat. Because calories aren't all that matters, which brings us to the next common misconception...

It doesn't matter what you eat as long as you count calories

The number of calories you eat isn't all that matters, your food choices matter too! Not all sources of calories have the same effect on your weight and health. Foods go through different metabolic pathways that can affect your hunger and other hormones that help regulate your weight. For example, eating a sweet potato which is a complex carbohydrate filled with fiber and other nutrients, and grilled chicken (or any other protein source), will keep you full longer than a fast food meal that has been processed and refined. Choosing healthy foods like the one mentioned over refined foods will also make sure that your insulin levels don't spike, and that your blood sugar is stable enough to leave you satisfied thus discouraging overeating. So, although you can lose weight by simply eating fewer calories, filling up on refined foods can actually cause you to eat more in the long run and possibly lead to weight gain!

What should you do instead?

Focus on the quality and quantity of your diet. Do this by tracking your macronutrients on top of your calories. Use a food journal or a food tracking app to input what you're eating to ensure you're staying within an appropriate range of calories for the amount of fuel you're burning and that you're eating a diet that is nutrient-dense. The best part is, tracking macros is a form of flexible dieting, meaning there are no restrictions! However, unlike with tracking calories, when you track your macros you're able to fit in treats here and there while still maintaining a healthy diet filled with whole foods!

You can spot reduce fat

This is a common misconception that most women believe to this day but its one that needs to be put to rest forever. There are three problem areas that people hate - belly fat, back fat, and hip dips. There are countless videos on Instagram, Youtube, and even TikTok that show various exercises that claim to help you get abs in place of belly fat, or that help get rid of that bra bulge you hate. Sorry to break it to you, but there is no exercise or a specific food, spice, or whatever that will help reduce fat in one specific area.

What should you do instead?

Targeting fat loss in specific areas is impossible, but this doesn't mean you won't be able to reduce the fat in the area you want the most. The best way to reduce overall body fat is by tracking your macros, restricting calories (not drastically), and exercising. There are no specific exercises you can do to spot fat, but the best way to reduce overall body fat is by building a workout routine that includes cardio and strength training. Strength training exercises can help build muscle which translates into specific body parts like your back or arms to appear slimmer! And apart from slimming down, you'll be getting stronger in the process!

Cutting out X will help you lose weight fast

A lot of dieting advice involves cutting out specific foods, and sometimes an entire food group, in an effort to promote fast weight-loss. For example, the keto diet cuts out a majority of carbs from your diet to promote effective fat burning and other health benefits. Another similar diet is the gluten-free diet that became popularized due to the fast results people got. Both of these diets aren't necessarily bad, but they weren't specifically designed for fast weight loss. They were actually created for people with certain health-related issues. Other ways people try to lose weight fast is by cutting out sugar, dairy, fat, etc. Cutting out certain foods or food groups for a period of time will get you results, but it will also leave you feeling deprived, and rev up your hunger and cravings. That's why so many people following fad diets like these end up gaining the weight back. They end up just going back to their old unhealthy eating habits and indulge in all the foods they cut out for 30 days or more!

What should you do instead?

You don't need to follow an extremely low-carb or low-fat diet to get the results you want. You can enjoy all the foods you love, as long as you prioritize healthy foods like veggies, fruit, protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats! So, when planning your meals and snacks, make sure to prioritize nutrient-dense foods before you reach for treats. This will help you to naturally cut down on eating added sugars and other not-so-healthy foods while allowing you to still enjoy them from time-to-time and thus helping you build a better relationship with food!

Weight loss equals fat loss

Highly restrictive fad diets can help jump-start your weight loss, but that doesn't necessarily mean you lost fat. Those who follow a juice cleanse or a low-carb diet like keto can experience fast weight loss at first, but chances are it was due to a decrease in water weight, not fat. Water weight is extra water that hangs around the tissues, joints, and body cavities between cells. This extra water has nothing to do with how many calories you're consuming, instead, it has to do with a change in hormones or eating too much sodium.

What should you do instead?

Again, don't focus on the short-term. If you want to lose 10 pounds of fat, not water weight, then focus on creating a long-term weight loss plan. You might not lose 10 lbs in a week, but on the upside, you will eventually lose it and lose it for good!

High-intensity cardio is the only way to burn fat

Probably the biggest myth in the fitness world is that cardio, especially high-intensity, is the only and best way to lose weight, rev up your metabolism, and burn fat. High-intensity exercises like HIIT, cycling, and other group fitness classes are great for burning calories during and even after, but it's not the only way to generate fat loss.

What should you do instead?

Choose a type of training that you enjoy and that you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life! Healthy eating and physical activity is something you should be practicing whether you're trying to lose weight or not, so find something that you actually enjoy!

If high-intensity cardio is too hard on your joints try low-impact cardio! If you hate cardio altogether, then consider doing strength training! Strength training can help you build muscle, maintain it, improve your metabolism over time, and help with fat loss. Unfortunately, just like with weight loss, there are a lot of misconceptions about lifting weights that hold a lot of women back from even starting. So, to clear up the biggest one... Lifting heavy is not going to make you look manly. On the contrary, it'll help you build muscle, slim down, and can even give you the curves you've been wanting! Like we mentioned earlier, you can't spot-reduce fat, but strength training exercises can help you lose overall body fat. But find something you enjoy! Give the weights a shot, and if it's not your thing then find something else you might enjoy like pilates, rock climbing, kickboxing, team sports, there are so many physical activities to choose from!

Bottom line, if you want to "jump-start" weight loss start thinking long-term. Jump starting it by drastically cutting your calories, cutting out certain foods, and following any of the bad diet advice above, will just lead to short-term weight loss, bad eating patterns, and possibly weight gain. Improve your health, wellness, and maintain a healthy weight by building good eating habits, working out consistently, and being kind to yourself. And if you need more help building a sustainable weight loss plan that doesn't involve fad diets, check out >> How To Achieve Weight Loss Without Following a Fad Diet <<