Losing weight is hard. It's not just about what and how often you eat. It's also about getting into the right mindset.
That being said, the internet is filled with poor advice re: dieting. And sometimes we're dumb enough to follow it.
Luckily, Dr Sally Norton, a UK health expert and a NHS weight loss surgeon, helped us clear some of these weight loss myths.
1 Myth: Scales don’t lie
The fact is, scales can be deceiving because they don’t take into account changing fat to muscle ratios. Muscles simply weigh more than fat.
That's why waist size, not weight, is a better measurement.
2 Myth: I just need to find the right diet
There is a school of thought that people’s individual metabolisms respond differently to food. That's why some people believe they need to try many different diets to find the one that will eventually work for their body and metabolism.
But the truth is, there's very little evidence that that's even true.
Let's face it - quick-fix diets don’t work. It takes time and hard work to lose weight. But most importantly, it's about changing your habits and mindset.
3 Myth: Exercise isn’t helping
It’s true that exercise doesn’t burn off as many calories as we assume. But don’t stop exercising altogether, because it’s great for your mood and concentration and keeping anxiety down - exactly what you need to stick to your weight loss plan.
What’s more, the muscle you build through exercise increases your metabolism so you burn more calories, even when you’re not working out.
Not to mention it makes your body look more shapely and toned.
4 Myth: A radical exercise regime is the only way to lose weight
Definitely not true.
Successful weight loss involves making small changes that you can stick to in the long run.
Adults should get at least 150 minutes of physical activity - such as fast walking or cycling - every week, and those who are overweight are likely to need more than this to lose weight.
No need to to attend extreme exercise bootcamps.
5 Myth: Staying busy helps me lose weight
Not if staying busy means increasing your stress levels.
We tend to reach for fatty and sugary foods when we’re stressed because they trigger reward centres in the brain that make us feel better.
What’s more, the stress hormone cortisol encourages weight gain around our waist, which is very bad for our health.
When time is short we also tend to be less mindful of our eating. So in fact, in many cases, the answer to losing weight can be: slow down.
6 Myth: Small nibbles don’t count
It’s easy to hoover up the left overs from last night or grab a morsel of cheese while passing the fridge, but don’t forget these calories count too.
Make sure every bit of food you eat is a conscious decision. Try to sit down every time you eat to ensure you appreciate every calorie properly. You will feel more full - and be more aware.
7 Myth: Drinks don’t count
There can be more calories in a high street coffee than a doughnut! Not to mention alcohol and all those sugary drinks you probably like so much...
Unless you are drinking water, or 'diet drinks' (which come a poor second place to pure and simple H2O), the calories in those drinks count too.
8 Myth: You can't get fat eating lots of fruit and vegetables
Believe it or not, you can have too much of a good thing.
It’s easy to think that just because a food is healthy, you can eat as much as you like. But the truth is, portion control should apply regardless of what you’re eating.
A lot of fruit and vegetables are still heavy in calories, so don't go stuffing your face with e.g. bananas or potatoes if you want to lose some weight.
9 Myth: Healthy foods are too expensive
It may seem that healthier foods are more expensive than their unhealthier alternatives. But that's not always the case.
If you really look at the prices of fruit, vegetables, or full-grain products such as pasta and rice, they are not that costly at all: £0.10 for a banana, £1 for six tomatoes, or £1.50 for 500g of full-grain pasta isn't much now, is it?
10 Myth: Foods labelled 'low fat' or 'reduced fat' are always a healthy choice
Not always, actually.
If a food is labelled as 'low-fat' or 'reduced fat', it should contain less fat than the full-fat version, true. BUT that doesn't automatically make it a healthy choice - some low-fat foods can be still quite rich in fats or may contain high levels of sugar instead.
Always read the label.
11 Myth: Some foods speed up your metabolism
Metabolism varies between individuals depending on factors such as body size, age, gender, and genes.
But the claim that certain foods and drinks can increase your metabolism by helping the body to burn more calories and aid weight loss has little scientific evidence.
Beware that some of the products advertised as metabolism enhancers may contain high levels of caffeine and sugar too, both of which can actually contribute negatively to your weight loss plan.
12 Myth: Fat in food makes you fat
There is nothing uniquely fattening about fat, except that it is often found in calorie-dense junk foods.
Actually, there are numerous, very effective diets that are high in fat (but low in carbs and sugar).
Although, be careful with those, they are quite heavy on your liver and can increase your cholesterol levels.
13 Myth: People with obesity are unhealthy, thin people are healthy
Scientists have finally agreed that BMI is complete bollocks. Sure, obesity is associated with an increased risk of several chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease or some types of cancer. BUT there are still plenty of people with obesity who are metabolically healthy.
Similarly, there are plenty of thin people who suffer from the chronic diseases mentioned above.
What's more, plus-size people can be very good at sports and be active daily just like a lot of skinny people are.
A person’s weight does not define them. So unless you see someone's lab results, you shouldn't assume anything.
Feature image © NBC