Folk wisdom about weight loss is rarely a good source of information. Many diet tips are based on misinformation and misunderstandings. Increasingly, medical studies are finding that it’s unnecessary to lose huge amounts of weight to be healthy. If anyone tells you that you need to conform to a certain diet plan, don’t be too quick to trust them, as even doctors have been taken in by some of these nuggets of folk wisdom.
For those already eating well, exercising, and cutting out artificial ingredients, that doesn’t mean you should just give up. Your weight loss goals may be within sight if you know what myths to avoid. Here are the top three diet tips to avoid.
Shoot for a specific healthy BMI
BMI is a hugely inaccurate measure of your weight and health. Athletes in particular find it very inaccurate, as very active, heavyset people can have higher BMIs than thin, inactive people, yet be in far better shape. Don’t aim for a specific BMI when you’re trying to lose weight, or you’ll find yourself shooting for a number that just might not be realistic for your body weight.
Focus your weight loss goals on the habits or goalposts you want to establish or reach. For instance, you might want to get to a point where you no longer crave artificial sugary snacks, exercise three times a week, or be able to lift fifty pounds easily. Even if you want to lose ten pounds, focus your goals on the habits you want to establish and you’ll reach your goal before you know it.
Cut calories to lose weight
This is one of the most dangerously misinformed myths out there. A lot of people think that if you simply consume fewer calories, you will lose more weight. The body detects unnatural weight loss this way and corrects by changing your metabolism, however, and you will find yourself plateauing quickly as your body attempts to keep you from starving – which is what cutting calories is.
Check a reputable source like the Choose My Plate website by the US government to see how many calories you should be taking in, and go no lower than ten percent under that number. More important than adhering to an artificial number is focusing on the empty calories you take in – pop, junk food, chocolate bars, and so on contribute calories without any nutritional benefits. If you consume the same number of calories but ensure they all come from healthy foods, you will change bad habits and lose weight.
Take supplements and diet pills
Any diet pills that sound too good to be true usually are. While some supplements such as 5-HTP or psyllium may actually help reduce your appetite, they won’t make you magically shed weight. A diet pill or supplement that promises that you’ll lose a certain amount of weight is a hoax and a waste of money.
Focus your diet on whole, healthy foods, increase your consumption of vegetables and fruits, and be suspicious of packaged or processed food in general. You may find yourself eating more veggies and fruits, but your body will also drop weight if you cut out the Kraft Dinner and focus on health.
The diet industry is fraught with bad information, but if you avoid following these common and inaccurate or even dangerous diet tips, you can increase your chance of shedding the pounds without unexpected health risks. You don’t need to starve yourself to meet your weight goals!
Leonardo is a nutritonist. He loves sharing his health and diet tips on nutrition blogs online. Click to learn more about Skinny Limits.