For every good piece of weight-loss information out there, there’s also bad. In this day and age, everyone’s an expert on just about everything. For every person who tells you to do this, not that, there’s another “expert” telling you to do that, not this. Will the madness ever end?
Sure, conflicting words of wisdom can be frustrating, but it’s up to you to sift through all that BS. Determine what works for you, and stick with it. And now, it’s time to blow the whistle — here are five of the worst weight-loss tips we’ve heard.
1. Eat low-fat foods
Coconut oil is considered a good fat. | iStock.com
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, filling your shopping cart with only foods whose label read “low-fat” was common practice. People were willing to jump on the low-fat food bandwagon, because after all, if a product had those magic words on its label, it had to be good for you, right? Wrong.
We now know that eating whole foods is often healthier than consuming their counterparts. When a company removes calories from a product, for instance, they often replace those calories with other unhealthy ingredients to make up for lost taste. And furthermore, it’s no surprise that marketing plays a major role in food packaging and how we, as consumers, view a product. In fact, research shows that low-fat nutrition labels increase food intake by increasing perceptions of the appropriate serving size, and by decreasing consumption guilt.
Additionally, most people know some fats are good, and certain foods considered high in fat are an important part of your diet. So skimping on food simply because it’s high in fat, or has been donned a “fat-free” alternative, doesn’t make much sense in the long run.
2. The more you sweat, the more weight you lose
While working up a good sweat is definitely a sign of a workout your body’s been craving, the amount of sweat you produce doesn’t necessarily equate to the number of calories you’ve burned. If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class after a night of partying, you know the feeling. Luckily, you’re sweating out a bunch of those toxins, but all that perspiration isn’t always a good indicator of how good your workout actually is. It’s more about the length and intensity of your workout, and less about the number on the scale immediately following, as any before and after scale discrepancy can be attributed to water weight.
If you only last 10 minutes in that hot yoga studio before bailing, chances are you’ll still leave dripping a fair amount. If you go for a 30-minute run in the fresh air, you may not sweat as much, but PopSugar says you’ll burn almost 300 calories.
3. Cut carbs completely
The days of white Wonder bread are long gone (for most health-conscious people, anyway), but that doesn’t mean you should toss all carbs completely. Most people can agree that gorging on pasta, white bread, and white rice isn’t the healthiest way to go. If the basis of your diet is largely made up of pantry-style cuisine, you’re already in the know about just how poorly processed carbs can make you feel.
You bank on carbohydrates to deliver important nutrients, but when they’re delivered as refined grains (i.e., white bread, white rice), they lack key essentials, like folic acid. So, it’s not wise to totally cut carbs from your diet, Marjorie Nolan, R.D. and American Diabetes Association spokeswoman, tells WebMD. Additionally, carbs give you energy and are a great source of fiber.
4. If you’re starving, you’re losing weight
Anyone who’s ever tried a diet knows it can be a challenge, but depriving yourself of food completely won’t help your weight-loss case, either. In fact, it will most likely hinder it. If you’ve ever mistaken that starvation feeling as an ah-ha moment, consider this: Rather than actually nailing your diet, you’re only interfering with your weight-loss goals. Your body needs its fuel, and when it doesn’t get the proper amount, it will kick into protection mode. You will actually end up storing fat, and your metabolism will slow down. And who has time for that?
5. Cardio is all you need to lose weight
While running will most likely help you drop pounds and keep your cardiac health in prime condition, losing weight stretches far beyond the treadmill. If you’re hell bent on sticking to cardio alone, you could be doomed for a weight-loss plateau. “Strength training builds lean muscle mass, which both increases your metabolism and decreases fat,” Elizabeth Hendrix Burwell, celebrity trainer and co-owner of High Performance Gym, told Shape. “So the more muscle you build, the more calories you burn on a day-to-day basis.” Either way, mixing up your workouts is usually pretty key to an overall healthy lifestyle.