With a wealth of misinformation and media hype about what is the right way to approach weight loss, it can be overwhelming to even get the ball rolling. Find out the real truth about some major diet myths and set yourself up to succeed.
Myth 1: Diets Don’t Work
Diets are designed based on a simple mathematical principle: If calories consumed are less than calories burned then you’ll lose weight. It doesn’t matter if those calories are from grapefruit juice, cabbage soup or a nutritionally balanced meal plan – as long as the diet is designed to provide a calorie deficit, it works. In theory, anyway. In reality, most people will not be able to effectively manage their hunger on a diet of juice and broth, and don’t have the time to prepare a cuisine of strictly raw foods for weeks or months, and so, many of these “miracle diets” might be unachievable, non-practical solutions for meaningful weight loss. To set yourself up for lasting success, when you’re considering weight loss plans, the first question you should ask yourself is, “Does this plan make sense for me and my life?” The best, most effective, weight loss plan is going to be the plan that you can realistically stick with.
Myth 2: You Can Do it On Your Own
Losing weight, in theory, is simple (as seen above). Most people have done it before, and know the basics of what needs to be done: Eat less, Exercise more. The “what to do” is straight-forward, it’s the “how to do it” that’s the challenge. When it comes to managing how much we eat, we notoriously underestimate portion sizes, and sometimes completely forget hundreds of calories (“oh..you mean that Frappuccino counts?”). In fact, a number of studies have shown that study participants underestimated their daily calorie intake by about 20%. Having a structured plan that helps to simplify food choices and control calories can be key to weight loss success. In fact, compared to “Do-it-Yourself” Dieters, those who follow structured weight management plans consistently lose more weight.
Myth 3: The Number on the Scale Doesn’t Matter
Don’t dodge that bathroom scale. Weighing yourself is one of the most objective ways to keep track of your progress and hold yourself accountable to your goals. Data from the National Weight Control Registry report that 75% of individuals who have successfully lost weight, and kept it off, weigh themselves at least once a week. The number on the scale isn’t the only way to track progress, however, to get a fuller picture of how you’re doing, keep track of your waist, hip, chest, thigh and arm measurements, and track achievements in your fitness levels as well. Each victory will be proof of what you’re capable of, and each slip up will help you refocus and push forward towards your goal.
Meghan Nichols, R.D., is a registered dietician and part of the Research and Development team at Nutrisystem Ms. Nichols draws from evidence-based best practices, as well as her practical know-how, to deliver positive nutrition communications that dieters can use to ensure weight loss success. She a frequent industry speaker, helping health care professionals implement solutions for their patients’ nutrition and weight concerns.