MYTH 1: Restricting calorie intake will lead to weight loss.
FACT: Restricting calorie intake will decrease leptin levels, the hormone that regulates hunger cues. When leptin levels DROP, you get more HUNGRY. Once you are at a healthy weight your body will fight against further weight loss. The best way to go about healthy energy intake is through PORTION CONTROL which is important for everybody for good health.
MYTH 2: Weight is hereditary.
FACT: This is a SUPER controversial subject and there are many different views and opinions on this one. Although there are definitely genetic components, such as your ‘set point’, our environment has a strong influence on how much we weigh. Although low leptin levels was thought to be a genetic issue, only 10% of people who are obese have an issue with genetically-induced low leptin production.
MYTH 3: Weight is related to chronic illness and poor health.
FACT: The number on the scale is not related to chronic illness unless the person is obese (BMI over 30). The distribution of the weight is more important. The more weight you carry on your mid-section, the higher risk you have of diabetes and heart disease, liver disease and other chronic illnesses due to inflammation and hormone imbalances. Look to waist size and waist:hip ratios rather than the number on the scale.
MYTH 4: Weight loss will lead to better health.
FACT: A lower body weight is only related to lower risk of chronic illness if:1) the person is obese.2) If the weight is centred around the mid-section.3) If there is a high percent body fat (low muscle tone).
MYTH 5: Focusing on calorie intake is a good way to lose weight.
FACT: 95% of people who lose weight on a calorie restrictive diet will gain the weight back in 5 years. Calorie restriction is NOT a sustainable way to lose weight. In fact, foods lower in calories are not healthier (other than vegetables).
MYTH 6: Weight loss is all about mind set and perseverance.
FACT: Trying to lose weight is VERY difficult because once we reach our set point (which is generally genetic), our body will do whatever it can to keep or to gain weight back to the set point. Luckily, most people’s genetically determined set point is at a healthy weight. Maybe not society’s skewed idea of what a healthy weight is, but a healthy weight nonetheless.
MYTH: BMI or body mass index is a great tool for assessing health.
FACT: BMI is a popular tool to assess health. The problem is, this tool ONLY assesses a ratio of weight:height. This is NOT a predictor of health as health and wellness comes at many shapes and sizes.
MYTH 8: Being ‘overweight’ means you lack willpower or you are lazy.
FACT: Someone can still ‘look’ overweight in terms of societal standards, yet exercises regularly and has a healthy diet. Both of these habits are MUCH better indicators of health than a simple number on the scale.
MYTH 9: Reducing the intake of carbohydrates will allow you to lose weight.
FACT: While low carbohydrate diets do prove to help with weight loss short term, regardless of the diet, any type of deprivation is unsustainable for the vast majority of people. As mentioned before, 95% of dieters gain the weight back in 5 years. Portion control and intake of nutrient rich foods is and always has been the best way to attain a healthy weight and a healthy body.
MYTH 10: Being overweight means you are unhealthy.
FACT: Where fat is on the body and percentage of body fat is a MUCH stronger indicator of disease. You can be ‘overweight’ in societal standards and be at a LOW risk for disease as long as you live a healthy lifestyle – Eat a nutrient-rich diet and supplement where necessary, exercise, sleep well, manage stress well and take care of yourself.Thank you for reading and I hope this is helpful!
Happy New Year & Eat Well NS!
Nicole Marchand, RD