The dirty dozen of weight loss myths

Author: Andrey Pilipets – Date 10 Nov 2020 on 13 myths about weight loss including food, exercise & lifestyle myths.

“Fitness starts in your head. You just choose to eat clean, exercise regularly, and treat your body with respect.” – Anonymous

I was lucky enough, thanks to my parents, to spend my high school years at an experimental school. One of the things they managed to teach us is called “critical thinking”. To check any information you receive, separate facts from opinions, and always create your own opinion. Respect opinions of other people, without necessarily agreeing to them. In this article I want to share with you my opinion on most common myths about weight loss concerning food, exercise and lifestyle.

Food myths

“Good food is the foundation of genuine happiness” – Auguste Escoffier

Myth #1. You need to starve or skip meals
Truth. Starving or skipping meals puts your body into a stress mode. That easily leads to cravings and overeating once it’s over.
Solution. Regular meals bring you consistent long term results

Myth #2. It’s all about the number of calories.
Truth. What you eat is more important, as well as the balance between proteins, carbs and fats.
Solution. A well-balanced meal, rich in protein, with lots of fruits and veggies

Myth #3. Diet food options help with weight loss
Truth. A lot of ‘diet’ foods are junk marketed as healthy. Fat-free, low-fat, gluten-free, etc… all these are usually clear indicators that you are being victimized by marketers. They have to print what’s inside on the label though, so please read it.
Solution. It’s about how processed the food is. A fat-free piece of junk is still just a piece of junk.

Myth #4. Diet or sports drinks help with weight loss
Truth. Drinks are digested way better that the solid food. Most of these diet or sports beverages contain a lot of liquid sugar. Many of these drinks can get you addicted as well. People need to sell, it’s their job.
Solution. Just like 9000 years ago, plain water is still the best drink ever. Feel free to add a slice of lemon or lime for taste. Milk is an option for lactose-friendly people. Fruit juices which you make yourself (try to add honey instead of sugar, you sweet teeth). Tea and coffee are OK in moderation.

Myth #5. Fast food is always bad. You need to cook at home or eat ‘slow’ restaurant food 100% of the time.
Truth. Hey, even McDonald’s has healthy options now, notably in the salad menu.
Solution. Look for what you eat, not how fast/slow it is. Choose healthy options such as salads when fast food is your only available option. Still better than skipping meals.

Exercise myths

“Today I will love myself enough to exercise.” – Anonymous

Myth #6. You need to exercise a lot, like 2-3 hours a day 6-7 days a week
Truth. Leave that kind of routine to professional sportspeople. You can start with just 3 hours a week out of 168 hours of your weekly time. As you get fitter, you can increase that to 5-6 hours a week. Enough for most people. Too much exercise only leads to over training and injuries.

Solution. Make sure you keep the right pace when you work out. My students manage to exercise up to 32 minutes out of 40 minutes’ main exercise. It’s typical to see people in gyms exercising for a minute and then resting for 3-5-10 minutes, checking the phone, taking selfies and talking to other people. I once saw a guy in one of Singapore parks smoking a cigarette in-between his exercise rounds.

Myth #7. You just need to do a lot of cardio
Truth. Cardio is great and you need to do it, it’s just cardio alone is not enough and most types of cardio leave certain muscle groups unattended.

Solution. Combine cardio workouts with resistance training and watching your food for long-term effect.

Myth #8. Running is the best cardio
Truth. Running is definitely effective. You just have to consider the risks involved with running on hard surfaces (such as most roads). They have medical institutions that specialize on running injuries for a reason.

Solution. Run on soft surfaces (such as stadium rubber tracks, trails or grass) to be safe. Try running on sand or snow of you can. Feel free to consider different types of cardio, such as cycling, stair climbing, swimming, rowing or just brisk walking.

Myth #9. You need to lift weights

Truth. Weights are good yet tricky. They don’t suit some people for medical or constitution reasons (such as different arm length – happens more often than you think) and you need to buy weights or go to a gym to lift. Also, the risk of injuries is quite high. Some very strong people I
know got injured doing things like bench press without a spotter or a power rack.
Solution. You definitely do need resistance training. Lifting weights is just one part of it. You can also use body weight , train with partners and things like resistance bands. Check my article ‘5 things you can use to exercise at home’ for more information

Lifestyle myths

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live in.” – Jim Rohn

Myth #10. Overweight/obese people are unhealthy, and normal weight/underweight people are healthy

Truth Yes, being overweight+ creates additional risks for your health. Yet skinny folks can be unhealthy as well. It’s all about the lifestyle.

Solution. Put your goal as becoming healthier every day. Getting your weight back to normal is a side effect of health.

Myth #11. You can lose weight very fast

Truth. Healthy weight loss rate is up to 4 kg/8.8 pounds a month. Even 1 kg loss a month is a good result – hey, that could be 12 kg in a year! Read how they cut weight in combat sports. Does it make any sense for 2 people who walk at 90 kg (200 pounds) to fight at 70 kg (155 pounds)?
Solution. Want a long-term weight loss? Pace yourself and take your time. Consistency is the key. Weight loss is a marathon rather than a sprint.

Myth #12. Just eat less and move more
Truth. A farmer is asking a mathematician: ‘How do I make my cow eat less and produce more milk?’ Mathematician: ‘Milk your cow more and feed it less’. Do you just tell people with depression to cheer up or alcoholics to drink less? A mathematician’s answer is absolutely right and absolutely useless here.
Solution. What and how you eat and exercise is important.

Myth #13. Weight loss diets work
Truth. That’s what marketing people say. Some diets work in short-term but most people gain the weight back once it’s over.
Solution. Forget about the dieting concept, it’s a short-term mindset. Aim to change your lifestyle permanently and become a healthier you, fitter you, happier you.

Questions? Feedback? I love to hear from you!

4 thoughts on “The dirty dozen of weight loss myths

    1. You are welcome Alexis! What topics would you be interested to read about in the future? Your opinion is very important for me!


  1. Thank you very much Sayra. Please let me know about other things you would be interested in. Your opinion is very important for me!


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