There’s no question that there's an obesity epidemic in America. More than half of the women, almost two-thirds of the men, and a quarter of the children in our country are overweight, giving us the dubious distinction of being the fattest country on the planet.
How did we get so out of control? Well, one of the biggest reasons is all of the bogus information floating around out there. I want to set the record straight—and debunk some of the most common weight loss myths, so you won’t fall victim to them.
Weight Loss Myth #1: Don’t weigh yourself every day. Most healthy weight loss programs do not recommend weighing yourself every day—but daily weighing could actually be the key to success. Researchers enrolled more than 3,000 overweight people who were on weight loss or weight maintenance programs and followed them for two years. People who weighed in daily lost twice as much as those who weighed only once a week—and those who never stepped on a scale actually gained weight.
Weight Loss Myth #2: Avoid carbohydrates. Carbohydrates have certainly made headlines over the past few years and with all the information out there, unraveling the carb conundrum can be confusing. There’s no question that in order for healthy weight loss to occur, sugary and starchy carbohydrates have to go. That means no bread, pasta, potatoes, desserts, etc. You should also limit your intake of high-glycemic index (GI) fruits, which cause the same dramatic rise in blood sugar levels that refined carbohydrates produce. However, fiber-rich, low-GI vegetables, along with lean protein, should be dietary mainstays for healthy weight loss.
Weight Loss Myth #3: We’re eating too much fat. The truth is we’re not eating enough of the right fats. While I encourage you to restrict your intake of saturated and unhealthy trans-fats, what most of us are lacking are the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids (EFAs), which are critical for healthy weight loss, can only be obtained through foods or supplements because the body is unable to produce them on its own. Fresh raw nuts and seeds are rich in omega-6 fatty acids, while cold water fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, tuna, and trout) and flaxseed are the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Weight Loss Myth #4: “Healthy” sugars like honey are okay to eat. Sugar and weight loss just don't mix. Whether it’s white or brown sugar, honey, agave, or corn syrup—they all break down rapidly in the bloodstream and can wreak havoc on your metabolism. These high-GI sugars cause surges and plunges in blood sugar levels, food cravings, and constant hunger. Instead, try a natural, non-caloric sugar alternative such as stevia—an herb that has been used as a natural sweetener in South America for hundreds of years.
Weight Loss Myth #5: Diet sodas are a healthy weight loss aid. Most artificial sweeteners like you get in diet soda feed your sweet tooth, but they may end up causing you to crave even more sugar. Plus, many of these chemicals have unwanted side effects. If you have a hankering for a soda every once in a while, I recommend Zevia, which is sweetened with the natural sweetener stevia and erythritol (a sugar alcohol).
Now it’s your turn: What weight loss myths have you come across that can sabotage healthy weight loss efforts?