Trying to lose weight? 24/7 Our team consulted several nutritionists and fitness trainers to identify at least 28 myths about weight loss that can result in weight gain. Scroll through to learn more.
1. Exercise is enough
It's hard for some people to accept that they have to work out to lose weight, but it's equally hard to convince those who think exercise is all it takes to lose weight that exercise is a relatively small part in weight loss. "In reality, it's more like 80% nutrition and 20% exercise," Susan Fink, a personal trainer in Los Angeles, said. People underestimate how much they eat and overestimate how much they exercise, she added. This makes them think it's OK to eat more and the result is no weight loss at all or even weight gain, she noted.
2. Eating late at night is bad
Many people have heard that eating after 7 p.m. is going to lead to weight gain. But eating at night is like eating at any other time of the day. "You should absolutely have dinner if you haven't eaten," Shira Hirshberg, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Rhode Island, said. Every person needs a certain amount of calories a day, and if you don't exceed them, then eating at night will not lead to extra inches around the waist, she noted.
3. Working hard is all it takes
"People often think that all they need to do is work hard, and that will lead to results," Tracy Brown, a registered dietitian in Florida, said. "But the body will resist changes and perceive them as famine." This is why some people are struggling to lose weight – they get discouraged when they actually need to look at the real motive behind their weight loss goals and see if there are other lifestyle changes they can make to achieve their goals, she added.
4. Sudden changes work
You want to lose weight and decide to make some changes, but implementing them all at once can be counterproductive. For example, if you lead a sedentary lifestyle, then certainly starting to go to the gym will help, but you can't do that seven days a week right from the start, Fink noted. "In order to lose weight and maintain your new healthy weight, you have to make a lifestyle change," she said. Sudden drastic changes are not sustainable and a rebound is very likely, she added.
5. Limiting carbs leads to burning fat
People who go on a low-carb diet do see some progress quickly, but it's not fat they're losing, according to Hirshberg. "The glycogen in the liver holds water, and this is what you're actually losing," she noted. So you see a lower number on the scale and think this diet is working. Numbers, in this case, are incredibly deceiving.
6. You can only be happy and healthy if you're thin
The idea that you can only be happy and healthy if you're skinny is a dangerous one. Eating can easily become something people feel guilty about, which can make them try unhealthy ways to lose weight, according to Brown. In more severe cases, it may even lead to eating disorders. Research has shown that social interactions, traveling, having friends, meditating and positive attitude – none of which have anything to do with weight – play a key role in being happy and healthy, she added.
7. Spot reduction is possible
Spot reduction is the idea that you can target a particular part of the body and exercise in a certain way that would make you lose weight specifically there. "There is no such thing," Fink said. Working on a certain muscle will only change its shape, but just a little bit, she added. Doing exercises that work several muscle groups is a very efficient way to lose weight over your entire body.