Myth 1: Anyone who is overweight is obese.
Fact: Obesity means having an excess of body fat. According to the Body Mass Index (BMI), which is used to determine your normal weight based on your height, you are considered overweight if your BMI is 25-29; if you have a BMI of 30 or over, you're considered to be obese.
Myth 2: Obesity is a cosmetic issue -- not a health issue.
Fact: Obesity can increase your risk for many serious health conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and certain types of cancer. It can also contribute to other health problems, such as adding extra pressure to your joints if you have arthritis.
Myth 3: If you are overweight or obese, you have to lose a lot of weight to improve your health.
Fact: Losing as little as 5 to 7 percent of your body weight may boost your health and quality of life. It could also help stave off weight-related health conditions, like type 2 diabetes. That means if you weigh 200 pounds, for example, losing just 10 to 14 pounds could make a difference in your overall health.
Myth 4: The main cause of obesity is out-of-control overeating.
Fact: This is very inaccurate. Many factors can contribute to being overweight, such as being a couch potato or eating a steady diet of processed foods. Any one or any combination of these elements can lead to obesity. So can hormone problems, medications, a slow metabolism, and your genes. That said, what, how, and how much you eat still plays an important role in your weight. Work with your doctor or a nutritionist to tailor a diet and nutrition plan to meet your needs, in addition to getting exercise and reducing your stress.
Myth 5: The best way to lose weight is to skip one meal a day.
Fact: Eating more often -- even having smaller, more-frequent meals -- can keep your metabolism on an even keel. On the other hand, skipping meals will slow down your metabolism, because your body will save up energy to keep you going throughout the day. The result: a slower metabolism means you burn fewer calories, and keep more weight on.