Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Top 6 Weight Loss Myths

There is this article over on the Weight Watchers website that I found interesting. It is basically about some of the weight loss myths that we convince ourselves to believe while we are trying to drop some pounds.

Here are the myths and my thoughts about each myth:

Myth #1: I need to go on a "diet"

Shelley's Response: I have conflicted feelings on this one. Yes, it should all be about lifestyle changes. If people go onto a "diet" and then once they lose the weight, go back to how they were eating before....then, we know what will happen. That's the classic yo yo dieter. Losing weight should be about incorporating healthy eating and moderate exercise. It should be about a healthy lifestyle, not just about doing whatever the next fad diet says in order to get the results on the scale. Ok, so I agree there. However, I also think the "it's a lifestyle change" can be a cop out in order to fudge on your eating plan from time to time. "Yes, I ate a ton and a half of salsa and chips this weekend (I did), but it's ok, but this isn't a diet, it's a lifestyle change." I think sometimes it can set you up for along the way sabotage. Sometimes...I think when losing weight, it should be a diet. Transition (which in my experience) most people don't make things a lifestyle and that has a lot to do with why only 5% of people who lose weight maintain it long term.

Myth #2: I'll get back on track on Monday/after the holidays/when the sun comes out.

Shelley's Response: Been there, done that. That fateful Monday when everything will come back together and you'll start again...with a...wait for it....wait for it...CLEAN SLATE. I went to see Kevin Smith speak at a Q&A once (awesome BTW). He talked about just that. He would go on his diet each Monday, fall off sometime on Tuesday if he was lucky and binge to his heart's content until the following Monday where he would START AGAIN WITH A CLEAN SLATE. As I said...been there...done that. I've made such a conscious effort...if I screw up, start again...IMMEDIATELY. Nothing is incredibly special about Mondays.

Myth #3: All my problems will be solved when I lose weight.

Shelley's Response: Sighs. Don't we wish that was the case? I'll admit, some of my problems/issues were solved with losing weight. My life is better now than it was when I weighed over 200 lbs. However...skinny people can be unhappy too. They don't just float through life with not a care in the world. I think I had this delusional idea that life would be sunshine and rainbows once I had lost weight. If you ever need an example that skinny does not equal happy...Olsen twins. I rest my case.

Myth #4: Heavy people don't deserve to eat.

Shelley's Response: I don't believe for one second that heavy people do not deserve to eat. That's just silly. Ok, but it's honest time, right? I will fully admit, I judge what overweight people choose to eat. I am not proud of it. I did it when I was overweight as well. It's not a new habit. When I see an overweight person in the grocery store, I look in their cart...and judge the items they are choosing to buy. It's not right. It's wrong. Who am I to judge what someone else is buying? I don't know them...nor do I have any right making snap judgments on their shopping cart of food. And, I know how crappy it felt when I KNEW people were doing it to me. I can remember once buying a candy bar, some ice cream and a bag of chips. I was not a skinny minnie by any stretch of the imagination. I walked up to the express line, plunked down my items and then the cashier said, "I wish I could eat food like that!" and then completely looked me and my fat ass up and down. I wish I could say that I no longer am judge-o-rama when it comes to what people choose to eat, but I am. I try to spin it as I look in their cart...and judge their cart in the perspection that I wish they were making healthier choices. Yep, nice spin. It's still wrong. WRONG.

Myth #5: I shouldn't wear a bathing suit (shorts, a tank top) until I've lost all the weight.

Shelley's Response: I wish that I hadn't believe this myth hook line and sinker. When I was heavier, my fashion style was non-existent. It was all about hiding myself, my body. If I could go back and do anything differently...of course, I would have gotten healthier a LOT sooner. Moreover, I would have forced me to love myself, no matter the shape and size. That is key. It's taken me a long time to realize that I am more than the number on the scale and the size on the back of my jeans. Sighs. This myth is a kicker...because for most people, it isn't a myth. For those people that are heavier and love themselves and their bodies...I have such respect and admiration for them.

Myth #6: The less I eat, the faster I'll lose.

Shelley's Response: Who doesn't secretly believe that? Of course, it's not true. Anyone watch the horrible Style show, Ruby...about the southern woman losing weight. I can remember her nutrition people telling her she needed to add more food in order to lose weight. Her reaction...classic. With the most annoying Southern drawl, she said, "EAT MORE TO LOSE WEIGHT? What do you mean Y'ALL?" Ruby could not comprehend what was being told to her. If we starve our body...our body gets the message that we are trying to kill it. Our body does not like it when we try to kill, it decides to take pre-emptive measures and slow down our metabolism and turn anything excessive into fat. And if we workout tons....we need to feed our bodies more. We need to give our bodies the energy to continue performing at that level.'s an interesting little article...about those things we know aren't true, but probably deep down inside...on our most honest days....we secretly believe.