The Worst Diet Myths

A smiling woman holding a scale and an apple( – You dream of one day fitting into that new dress or those new pants that you bought a couple sizes too small, figuring it would give you the incentive to lose those extra pounds. But that was a year ago! What happened? You may have been lured in by one of five convincing, yet untrue, weight loss myths that are just a little too tough to live up to. Here’s the truth about them:

Myth 1: Your Ideal Weight Is What You Weighed Twenty Years Ago

If you’re hoping to get back to what you weighed a year or two ago, that’s fine. There’s a chance you really might get close to that weight again. But if we’re talking 15 or 20 years ago, you might want to reconsider. Many people put on weight as they get older. And no matter how hard they try, they have a tough time being as active as they might have been in their early twenties. Don’t live in the past. Set a weight-loss goal that’s appropriate for the way you live now.

Myth 2: Your Ideal Weight Is the Number Listed On a Standard Height and Weight Chart.

True, height and weight are often related. Taller people weigh more than shorter ones, in general. But many other factors play a role in determining what you weigh. For example:

  • Your body type: Big-boned and solid, small-boned and light, or in between
  • Your metabolism: Whether you naturally burn brightly and move a lot, or take things more slowly
  • The number of fat cells you have
  • How much your parents and other relatives weigh

The number listed for someone your height on a standard weight and height chart is just an approximation of what your healthy weight should be. Don’t let this one number be the way you determine if you’ve succeeded or failed.

Myth 3: Your Ideal Weight Is The Lowest Number of Pounds You Can Possibly Lose

Okay, so you’ve lost that much weight. But the fact that you’re dieting again says you gained at least some or perhaps all of it back again. If you set a weight-loss goal that’s too low for you to maintain, you’ll get caught in the trap of yo-yo dieting, losing weight, gaining it back, and trying to lose it again. The best weight goal is one you can live with for a very long period of time.

Myth 4: The Less You Weigh, The Healthier You’ll Be.

Not true. In fact, many studies show that if you’re overweight, even seriously overweight, losing just 5 percent of your current weight is all you have to do to get the bulk of the health benefits. Lose that much and you’ll dramatically lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer. In fact, most of the health payoff comes in that first 5 to 10 percent.

Myth 5: If You Don’t Fit Into That Smaller-Sized Dress/Pair of Pants, You’ll Never Be Happy.

You don’t believe that, do you? A number is just a number. And if it’s a number that leaves you frustrated and stuck in an endless cycle of losing weight and gaining it back again, it’s time to exchange it for a more reasonable one.

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