Weight Loss Myth #1: You can’t eat after 8pm
This weight loss myth is so common that I’ve actually written an entire article about it! You can find it here: Can I Eat after 8pm?
The general run down though is that you can absolutely eat after 8pm if you’re feeling physically hungry. In fact, I almost always eat after 8pm as I am almost never home from work until about that time.
Focus more on eating when you feel physically hungry and stopping when you feel satisfied. If you are eating late at night and there isn’t a whole lot of time before you need to go to bed, sometimes something light might be advantageous so you have an easier time going to sleep but try to avoid letting the clock dictate when you eat.
If you are physically hungry, you should have something to eat. Simple as that.
Weight Loss Myth #2: Weight loss is a linear, predictable process
A lot of the advertising for weight loss programs out there would love to have you believe that the process is linear and predictable. If you follow this program you will lose 2kg per week type stuff.
These claims don’t take so many factors into account, it’s really a little bit crazy. They are basing this purely on simple maths of calories in and calories out but forget about all the factors that make you, you! All bodies work differently based on a unique set of circumstances – your current weight, your height, your age, metabolic rate, hormone balance, chronic or acute illnesses, past illnesses – just to name a few.
Weight loss is almost never a linear process. There will be ups and downs and your body will react differently to your best friend or your mum. Some weeks might go ‘to plan’ and other weeks will not.
Instead of getting upset if things aren’t following how you predicted, focus on taking steps toward your health and fitness goals that fit in with what you can manage and what feels right for you. Consistent steps toward your goals will get you there in the end, it doesn’t have to be a straight line from A to B.
Weight Loss Myth #3: Skipping meals is helpful
This is a really common weight loss myth as well. It’s so easy to be tempted by the idea that skipping meals will save calories and you will lose weight faster. I guess you might, for a little while, but it’s far from sustainable.
If you do this often, you’ll eventually get hungry and one of two things are likely to happen:
- you’ll resist the urge and ultimately your body will likely start to try to hold onto your body fat to use for energy because not enough is going in on a regular basis
- you’ll give in and overeat later in the day. Because you’re so hungry you’re more likely to make choice based on immediate gratification which may not always be the foods that will most satisfy you
There is no need for you to spend half the day feeling hungry when you are trying to lose weight. Like out earlier point, focus on eating when you feel physically hungry and stopping once you reach a point of satisfaction.
Weight Loss Myth #4: You should cut out particular food groups
This is another weight loss myth that I have written an article about, specifically about whether you need to cut out carbohydrates. You can find it here: Should I Cut out Carbs?
Unless you have an allergy or intolerance to a particular food, there is no reason why you need to exclude it from your diet. Even in the case of intolerances, it’s unlikely to be an entire food group that needs to be restricted. All foods should be allowed in moderation with a balanced diet. All food groups most certainly have their place.
Instead of labelling foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, try to work with language like everyday and sometimes foods. Eating lollies, for example, every day probably isn’t going to be ideal but there is no reason why you can’t have lollies sometimes. Work toward removing the guilt and emotion associated with eating particular foods or food groups by changing the language you use.
Weight Loss Myth #5: Quick weight loss is best
This is another one that bugs the hell out of me, to be honest. It’s always been my thought that a more gradual approach to weight loss is ideal, from a psychological perspective if for no other reason.
Taking a more gradual approach places less pressure on you to just push through if you’re struggling and forces more focus than I think is desirable on the number on the scales. It also allows you to adjust both physically and psychologically to the changes in your body size and shape along the way.
When you lose weight quickly, your body can change so quickly that it can take a while for your brain to catch up. Your self image takes a bit of a battering. Take the time to let your mind adjust as your body does.
Weight Loss Myth #6: You have to exercise yourself into the ground to get results
This weight loss myth is part of the reason why I started this blog as well as my personal training business, Slim Force. You can gain real benefits from all sorts of movement and when you’re just starting out, flogging yourself in workout sessions is definitely not necessary.
In fact, I believe that going too hard, too fast is only going to be detrimental to your journey. You’re more likely to get really tired and sore and stop all together if you push yourself hard, particularly in the early stages.
By all means, challenge your body over time but aim for a more gradual approach. It’s not all or nothing. Consistent, positive steps in the right direction will likely see you attain long lasting results without having to run yourself into the ground.