Dieting for me was:
A past time, a constant in my life, a drain on our finances, and constantly frustrating.
During my 10 year struggle with extreme obesity, I tried more diets than I can even remember. I struggled to lose weight and instead ended up gaining weight after the diet ended or I gave up.
I realize that I bought into some common dieting myths that were detrimental to my weight loss efforts.
I thought it might be helpful to those of you on your own journey to take a peek into some of the dieting myths I believed in and debunk each of those myths.
Dieting Myth # 1: A Very Low Calorie Diet Is Always the Best
Reality: Whenever I tried to cut my calories too much, instead of seeing the pounds drop and stay gone, I would lose a few pounds, find it really hard to stick with such a low calorie diet, and then gain weight. Talk about frustrating.
The Reason This Doesn’t Work: Eating too few calories can cause you to initially lose pounds, but it also causes a loss of lean muscle and tissue over time. Also, when you try to subsist on too few calories, you can find yourself very tired, have trouble sleeping, and get so hungry you overeat.
Recommendation: Always ask your doctor about a calorie level, but I ate about 1,500 calories a day when I was losing weight. I consistently lost pound after pound and exercised 30 to 45 minutes each day. Each person is different and your appropriate calorie level might be more or less than mine was.
Dieting Myth #2: Eating At Night Caused Me To Get Fat
Reality: As a morbidly obese person, I ate a lot of calories all day long. Morning, afternoon, and night. I often blamed the fact I ate after dinner as a reason for my obesity. I had read articles about nighttime eating causing weight gain and decided in my head that that was my problem. The truth was that nighttime eating did not cause my weight problem. My weight problem was caused by inactivity and eating too many calories overall.
Recommendation: Over and over studies have shown that it’s not when you eat, but what you eat that makes us gain weight. Nighttime eaters tend to be eating out of boredom, habit, and the desire for high fat foods. For me, I ate for all of those reasons and more. Remember, that although the nutrient value in calories is important, the bottom line is a calorie is a calorie.
Dieting Myth #3: Fat Free Foods Caused Weight Loss
Diane’s Reality: Choosing fat-free or low-fat cookies did not help me lose weight. Nor did eating a whole box of reduced fat Cheese Nips. It wasn’t the fat that was my problem, it was the calories. I fell into the myth that because a product was fat-free, it was automatically good for weight loss.
Recommendation: There is nothing wrong with choosing a lower fat food, but be aware that the food manufacturers have to replace the fat with something. That something is often sugar. Thus, the fat content goes down but the sugar goes up. Plus, there is often little difference in the calorie content of the different versions of foods. Always read the label and make your own comparisons based on what you see.
What’s the bottom line for me? These myths stood in my way for successful weight loss.
The reality is that the way to lose weight is by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and dealing with the emotions that contribute to your weight problems. If you miss any of these three components, you may find it hard to lose weight and keep it off.
Myths hold you back. Reality moves you forward.
Care to share any dieting myths you’ve heard of lately? Or any dieting myths you used to believe? I’d love to hear them. Diane