Debunking Weight Loss Myths
This is part one of a two part series dedicated to debunking weight loss myths.
At Sound Medical Weight Loss, our patients come to us for support for their weight loss journeys. However, patients also sometimes arrive with false beliefs about nutrition, the body, and weight loss in general. At best, these myths can be distracting during a patient’s journey toward holistic health; at worst, they can be derailing and/or harmful.
Today’s post seeks to debunk some of our most commonly heard myths about weight loss.
Myth: you should eat every two hours to keep your metabolism going.
Reality: it all depends on your body.
Nutritionists, dietitians, doctors and wellness experts have flip-flopped all over the place over the years about eating frequency, but lately, there’s been a “snack constantly” craze. The underlying belief is that if you feed your body consistently – every 2-3 hours max, you’ll never go into “starvation mode,” avoiding hypoglycemia, thus keeping your metabolism churning efficiently and effectively.
The reality? This may work for some people, but for most, the opposite seems to be more effective during weight loss. Giving the body more time to recover in between meals – i.e. fasting between meals – can be better suited to some patients. Studies show that for some, hormone regulation, insulin sensitivity improvement, cellular repair and other important processes happen during a fasting period in between meals. At the same time, skipping meals may lead to overeating at the next meal. So, finding a balance is important here.
How to know what’s best for you? Check in with your doctor or make an appointment with Sound Medical Weight Loss. Our healthcare providers work to customize a plan that’s specifically suited to your lifestyle, metabolic profile, food sensitivities, hormones and medical needs. You’ll emerge with a sustainable lifestyle that gets you closer each day to your optimal health!
Myth: if I fail at losing weight, it means I lack willpower.
Reality: there are many factors that could be at play; willpower is the least likely of them.
The more patients we see at Sound Medical Weight Loss, the more we agree with the multitude of studies that are plainly finding this: losing weight has very little to do with willpower.
What is at play, then?
There is, first, the “nature” side. This includes genetics, food sensitivities, and other factors you’re born with. There’s also “nurture” – the beliefs you have about yourself based on what your parents told you, your behaviors as mimicry of the environment in which you grew up, etc.
Finally, there’s the thought-based factor – the vicious cycle of self-shame and self-blame. Here’s how the vicious cycle works:
- First, you’re preoccupied with thoughts of food, your weight, and the relationship between the two. This causes stress (emotional and physical).
- Then you overeat because you’re stressed, or you under-eat to overcompensate, which eventually leads to overeating. You lose control over your food intake.
- Then you feel guilt and shame.
- Then you, again, obsess with thoughts about food and your weight.
- Rinse and repeat.
This shame can be intensified by societal prejudices, lack of support from friends/family, lack of support from the traditional healthcare system, and having grown up with a hypercritical parent.
This long list of interconnected and powerful factors impacting your weight is not at all about will power. Once you recognize that, you can quickly pivot to a more efficient use of your time – mitigating the actual roadblocks in your way (i.e. addressing your thought and emotional eating patterns) -- rather than shaming yourself for lack of willpower. Also, spend your time on organization – e.g. meal prepping, habit tracking, etc. – which will be another productive use of your time!
Myth: drinking diet beverages won't have any impact on my diet (or health).
Reality: not only may artifically sweetened drinks hinder your weight loss - but they also may cause weight gain AND a higher risk of death!
The evidence is clear -- consuming soft drinks (sugared AND artificially sweetened) is linked to a higher mortality rate.
A 451,743-participant study observed respondents over a mean of 16.4 years and across 10 countries. It showed higher risks of "all-cause" mortality in respondents drinking more than just HALF a glass of artificially-sweetened soda daily! The study also showed that participants who drank artificially sweetened sodas were more likely to have higher BMIs.
We encourage patients to stay away from sugary sodas, of course, but diet soda is proving to have negative health impacts, too. Resolve to replace your habit with water today. Add bubbles, infuse with fruit, make it fun. Your body will thank you!
Myth: taking weight loss medication is taking the easy way out.
Reality: prescription weight loss medication can be the safest and most effective way for some patient to lose weight.
No weight loss journey is easy, regardless of methodology. Whether choosing bariatric surgery, a holistic weight loss program like Sound Medical Weight Loss (which can include weight loss medication), or a program on your own, there’s a great deal of inner and outer work required to lose weight.
Medical staff at Sound Medical Weight Loss will consult with you to determine your unique needs. We’ll review your medical history, lifestyle, and other details to get to know you and determine if weight loss medication is right for you.
Prescription weight loss medications may be considered if your BMI is 30 or more, or if your BMI is 27 – 29 and you have one or more weight related conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc. If you meet these requirements, weight loss medications may be used to help reduce severe hunger, cravings, binging, and portion control making it easier to stay on plan and successfully lose weight. There are also a number of off-label prescription medications (not specifically used for weight loss) that can aid in weight reduction along with diet and lifestyle modifications.
You may also consider natural, non-prescription appetite suppressants which can reduce hunger and make it easier to follow your healthy eating plan.
Our team includes not only our medical weight loss providers, but also mindfulness coaches and aesthetics specialists. Weight loss is a long-term commitment, and we support our patients during and after they reach their goals.
Which other weight loss “facts” would you like proven true or debunked? Share with us in comments below for our next installment!