Weight Loss Myths Busted

Medically reviewed in September 2021

I’ve heard just about every weight-loss myth imaginable. It’s time to set the record straight! Don’t let these common misconceptions keep you from successfully losing the weight and keeping it off.

Weight Loss Myth #1
"I can’t lose weight if I was overweight as a child."

You can always lose weight! You are not your childhood or your genes. Your genes account for about 25 percent of your health. Your lifestyle choices account for about 75 percent! If you implement proven strategies, you can successfully lose weight at any age and keep it off. In fact, the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) reports that over 70 percent of successful weight-loss maintainers were overweight as children and teenagers.

Weight Loss Myth #2
"I can’t lose weight if I’ve tried diets in the past and they didn’t work."

It may be time to change your approach. More than 90 percent of those surveyed by the NWCR reported previous attempts at weight loss. In fact, over 60 percent said that they tried four or more times to lose weight before they were able to lose the weight and keep it off.

Often times, weight loss and weight maintenance is unsuccessful because people try weight-loss fads that lead to yo-yo dieting instead of proven methods. If you implement the right strategies you WILL lose weight, and if you consistently maintain these healthy behaviors you WILL keep it off.

Weight Loss Myth #3
"If I lose weight I’ll have to starve myself to keep it off."

Here’s something to chew on: A vast majority (85 percent) of successful weight maintainers reported that they eat three healthy meals per day, with breakfast being the most important meal. They also reported that they did not feel deprived; in fact, they felt they were happier, had more energy and exhibited more self-confidence.

If you follow a healthy eating plan that includes an abundance of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, low fat dairy and healthy fats, you can feel totally satiated while providing your brain and body the key nutrition that it needs to optimize your health.

Weight Loss Myth #4
"To lose weight I have to become an exercise fanatic."

Not true, unless you consider walking fanatical. Successful weight loss maintainers reported that they generally exercised for three times per week, for 30 minutes at a time. Walking was the most reported physical activity.

This is still less than what is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and the National Academy of Sports Medicine. I recommend that you get 10,000 steps per day (or accumulate 70,000 steps for the week) and at least 20 minutes of physical activity a day that makes you sweat and gets your heart pumping. This can activity can take the form of fast walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, using an elliptical machine, resistance training, yoga, and recreational sports.

Weight Loss Myth #5
"I can’t lose weight because I’m over 40."

Age isn’t a valid excuse. It is true that your metabolic rate decreases as you age. It’s also true that you lose lean muscle as you age. But regular physical activity slows and/or prevents a decline in both. If you incorporate regular cardiovascular training, resistance training, and flexibility training, you can maintain and enhance your metabolism and lean muscle mass.

Live healthy!

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