Or perhaps you’ve already started one, but want to make sure that you’re on the right track. It’s important that you avoid the many weight loss myths that are commonly shared. Here are just six of those myths and a little bit of the truth behind them.
Myth 1. Healthy Foods are More Expensive
This might be true if you spend your time shopping for foods that are attempting to market just how healthy they are. That’s because those suppliers use the idea of healthy foods as a tactic to prey on people who are trying to get healthy and lose weight.
Luckily, you can buy healthy foods without ever visiting the “healthy” or “organic” aisle at your local grocery store. For example, chicken is considered a very healthy meat and it’s often one of the cheapest meats available.
The best way to control the price of your food is to buy all of the ingredients yourself and cook at home. Don’t be tempted to purchase pre-made meals that claim to be healthy.
Those meals will be 2-to-4 times more expensive than if you had bought the ingredients and made the dish yourself. Not to mention, pre-made meals rarely taste as good as the real thing.
Chicken, pork, eggs, frozen vegetables, and beans are all healthy and affordable foods to start with. When buying beef or other meats, don’t be afraid to invest in the cheaper cuts.
They may be tougher, but they are just as healthy and there are often multiple ways you can prepare them so that they end up tender and juicy.
On top of that, there are plenty of diet plans that are affordable too! Nutrisystem is one of the most affordable diets I have tried (get the pricing details here), but a lot of people tend to think that it’s very expensive. Just be sure to check out the prices of foods or diet plans, before automatically assuming they’re going to be outside your budget.
Myth 2. All Carbs are Bad For You
People often see the relationship between carbohydrates and weight gain as black and white. After all, studies have shown that low carb diets can help greatly with weight loss.
That must mean that carbs are bad for you and cause you to gain weight. But it’s not quite that simple. Not all carbohydrates are created equal and they are not all handled the same way once consumed.
Carbohydrates can be divided into two groups labeled as simple carbs and complex carbs. The simple carbs are responsible for the negative reputation that carbohydrates have received.
A simple carb is a sugar, such as glucose, fructose, raw sugar, brown sugar, and high-fructose-corn-syrup. Many studies have linked simple carbs to weight gain.
A complex carb is high in fiber and is digested more slowly by the body. This means that a complex carb is more filling and leaves you satisfied for longer. Ideally, you want to replace most of the simple carbs in your diet with complex carbs.
In any case, you can never cut carbohydrates out completely because they are necessary for our survival. Even the keto diet includes 20 grams of carbs per day (learn more about it here).
Myth 3: All Fast Food Must Be Avoided
In general, preparing your own meals at home is the best way to ensure you are eating healthy. But that doesn’t mean you need to avoid eating at restaurants altogether.
As a matter of fact, attempting to do so could cause you to resent your diet and eventually give it up. Treating yourself to fast food on occasion is perfectly acceptable.
Many fast food chains and sit-in restaurants understand that customers want to eat healthier. That is why they tend to have sections of the menu that list healthier foods.
You can even order a healthy grilled chicken salad at most fast food restaurants.
Myth 4: You Can Shed Pounds by Only Walking
Is walking good for you? Absolutely. And it’s a great place to start if your exercise routine is currently non-existent. But it’s not going to be enough to get you into beach shape before the summer months arrive.
Walking should never be your ultimate fitness goal. Instead, it should serve as a starting point from which you will expand.
If you are just starting a weight loss plan, then it’s okay to stick with a short walk each day. However, your goal should be to increase the distance of the walk by at least ten percent each week. Within a month you need to consider upgrading to a more intense cardiovascular exercise.
You need to get your heart rate increased if you plan on shedding serious pounds.
You should also begin considering strength training after the first month. When you lose weight you also lose some portion of muscle mass. Strength training is needed so that you can keep your muscles while melting away the fat.
Myth 5: You’re Always Hungry When Losing Weight
Many people start their weight loss routines incorrectly and it leads to serious hunger pains. The problem that many people have is trying to restrict their calorie intake while increasing their physical activity simultaneously.
Both of these are important for losing weight, but they also both stimulate the appetite. Instead, these obstacles need to be approached one at a time until a healthy pattern is created.
The first step should be to adjust your eating habits. This doesn’t mean to eat less or to eat smaller portions. It means you need to make healthy substitutions with your meals.
You may need to cut out some starchy vegetables and simple carbs while increasing greens and sources of protein. After you can stick with eating healthy meals on a schedule for a few weeks, then you can take the next step and begin your exercise routine.
Myth 6: Fat-Free Foods are the Way to Go
You’re trying to lose fat so when you see a food labeled as “fat-free” it seems like it must be the healthy choice. Unfortunately, those fat-free foods are rarely any healthier than their full-fat alternative.
They are often actually worse because they add sugar, salt, and other additives to make up for the lack of fat. And they still have the same overall calorie count at the end of the day.
Don’t let buzzwords like “fat-free”, “organic”, or “health food” fool you into purchasing a food. Instead, you need to read the nutritional information on the label and use that to decide if the food is right for your diet.
By understanding these myths and what is really happening in the body you are one step closer to meeting your weight loss goals.
You may hear new weight loss advice, tips, or tricks from friends in the future. It’s up to you to research what you learn and decide if it’s really the truth or if it’s just another myth.
Ben Corbin brings more than 20 years of experience as a health and wellness author and writer. He holds a master’s degree, has a passion for health and fitness, and is driven to provide readers with accurate and honest information. Learn more about Ben and the DadQuarters mission at our About page.