I can’t believe that’s me up there. 4 Years ago I lost nearly 100 pounds. Before I could shed my pounds I needed to shed 7 common dieting myths I held:
1. It’s Just a Matter of Willpower
When I was younger I was so determined to lose weight I fasted for several days until I fainted. I would berrate myself for not having the willpower or character to lose weight and keep it off. What I discovered is willpower won’t work. Still eating processed food on my diets, I wasn’t giving my body what it needed. I was fighting my body and my body always won.
2. A Calorie is a Calorie
The best lies always have a bit of truth to them. It’s true, if you burn more calories than you eat you’re going to lose weight. What I didn’t appreciate is certain foods/calories don’t fill you up and make you hungrier. Foods should be judged not by calorie counts but whether they nourish and satiate you. Calories in highly processed foods contain tons of sugar and salt and very little healthy fats or fiber which fill you up. Processed foods kicked off a cycle of binge eating to counter the blood sugar swings they caused. Empty calories make you consume more calories.
3. Healthy Food Sucks
I’m never going to eat good again. What could compete with burgers, fries, and potato chips? Salads suck right? To lose weight I gave up nearly all processed food and decided to start cooking real food. At first my pallette was so overloaded from the high doses of sugar and salt in processed foods I couldn’t taste real food. Trying to appreciate a fresh salad when you have eaten a ton of processed food was like trying to listen to classical music over heavy metal. Slowly, after months of eating real food my pallette adjusted and I was able to taste a much wider and subtler range of flavors. A new world of flavors and dishes opened up to me. I love Salads! I can’t imagine going back into the bland darkness of a diet dominated by processed foods.
4. Exercise More
It starts with food! The bargain I tried to make with myself was I could still eat the junk as long as I exercised more. The calories burnt from more exercise would take care of those extra snacks. This never worked. The more I exercised, the hungrier I got, the more I ate. Trying to push myself to exercise more with poor underlying food habits only served to exacerabate my problems and caused my weight to Yo-Yo. Excercise was a key part of my weight loss but it came after getting healthy food habits dialed in.
5. If it Says “Diet” it’s Good For You
If I see the words “Diet” or “Low Cal” on a box of food my first instinct is to run. Food marketers are great at formulating their foods to whatever the latest diet craze is. These low calorie foods are typically created by taking out the fiber and fat from foods. All the healthy stuff that is going to make you feel full. What’s left tastes so bad they have to add a ton of sugar and salt to cover up the taste. All packaged food should be treated guilty until proven innocent.
6. You’ll Be Hungry All the Time
The craziest thing I learned was I got fat by starving myself. I was overweight because I was eating too much. The reason I was eating too much was because all the empty calories in processed foods never made me full. I was starving my body nutritionaly. When I switched to eating real food I felt satiated. I can’t remember a single day I was hungry during the time it took me to loose 100 pounds. I got this one completely backwards.
7. You Need to Go on a Diet
Saying you’re “going on a diet” kind of feels like saying you’re “going on a vacation”. There’s a start and end date – it’s temporary in nature. It was this temporary mindset that kept me from keeping weight off. What worked was focusing on building good food habits rather than trying to follow the latest fad diet. I told myself that everything I did to loose weight was something I had to be able to do for the rest of my life. I couldn’t have forbidden foods like pizza or ice cream because I knew I couldn’t live without them. So I had to find ways to work these into my diet. Shifting my mindset from temporary to permenant was a small but critical change that led to my success.
I will be sharing more of my weight loss journey and the tips I learned along the way. Please sign up for our newsletter to receive future tips.