10 Common Weight Loss Myths Busted

10 Common Weight Loss Myths Busted

10 min read


06 May 2024

What you’ll learn here…

  1. Myth #1: You have to cut out all carbs to lose weight
  2. Myth #2: Skipping meals will help you lose weight faster
  3. Myth #3: You can spot reduce fat in specific areas
  4. Myth #4: Eating after 8pm will make you gain weight
  5. Myth #5: Weight loss supplements are a miracle solution
  6. Myth #6: Crash diets are an effective way to lose weight
  7. Myth #7: You can't eat out while trying to lose weight
  8. Myth #8: Weight training will make you bulky
  9. Myth #9: You have to spend hours at the gym to lose weight
  10. Myth #10: You can't enjoy your favorite foods while losing weight
  11. How to get (and stay) on the right track with weight loss

You've probably heard countless weight loss tips throughout your life.

From fad diets promising quick results to magic products that claim to be the next big thing—it's easy to get caught up in the hype.

It can also be really hard to know what advice to listen to and what is just plain wrong— especially when so much of the information conflicts with other things you might hear.

So we want to set the record straight on a few of the most common weight loss myths that we encounter on a regular basis.

Let’s get straight into it and debunk some misconceptions, exaggerations, and little white lies, and uncover the truth behind weight loss success instead.

several slices of bread

Myth #1: You have to cut out all carbs to lose weight

Carbs have gotten a bad reputation when it comes to losing body weight.

Lots of people will tell you that cutting out carbs entirely is the key to shedding pounds, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

While it is true that some carbs, like refined sugars and white bread, aren’t very healthy and can lead to weight gain—they’re not all created equal.

Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are all great sources of healthy carbs— and they should definitely feature in a well-balanced diet.

Complex carbs, such as oats, sweet potatoes, beans, and leafy greens, provide essential nutrients and fiber, which can actually aid weight management by keeping you feeling fuller for longer.

Not to mention the slow-release of energy they provide to fuel your exercise sessions and keep you going throughout the day.

What to do instead: Eat a balanced diet that contains complex carbohydrates, alongside lean protein and healthy fats. It also helps to plan your meals ahead of time and to calculate how many calories and macronutrients you should consume each day.

Myth #2: Skipping meals will help you lose weight faster

Skipping meals might seem like a quick and easy way to cut extra calories, but it can actually harm your weight loss progress.

When you skip a meal, your body goes into starvation mode, slowing down your metabolism and holding onto its fat stores—which is the exact opposite of what you want.

Another problem with skipping meals is that it often leads to overeating later in the day. When you become overly hungry, you want to binge eat more calories than you would’ve if you had not missed a meal in the first place.

What to do instead: Focus on eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. This will keep your metabolism revved up and help prevent overeating or snacking on unhealthy treats when the hunger gets too much.

measuring tape around belly

Myth #3: You can ‘spot’ reduce fat in specific areas

One of the biggest misconceptions about weight loss is the idea that you can target specific areas for fat loss.

Doing endless sit-ups or thigh exercises will not magically melt away fat from those regions, unfortunately.

But the good news is that when you lose weight, it happens all over your body, not just in one spot.

What to do instead: To reduce fat in specific areas, focus on overall weight loss through a combination of healthy eating and regular exercise. That’s the way to deal with stubborn body fat, no matter where it might be.

Myth #4: Eating after 8pm will make you gain weight

The time at which you eat doesn’t determine whether or not you gain weight. What matters most is the quality and quantity of the food you eat.

Gaining and losing weight both happen over a period of time, and it depends on good habits as well as small changes that you make to your daily or weekly routines.

Weight gain happens when you consume more calories than you burn, regardless of the time of day. Just like weight loss will occur when you regularly burn more calories than you consume.

Your body isn’t particularly bothered if you eat at 7.00pm, 9.00pm, or 11.00pm. It’s all about that slow and steady progression that adds up over time.

What to do instead: Stop focusing on the clock. Just pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied, regardless of the time. Certain foods are better than others to eat before bed (or any time), though. So keep on making those smart choices and you’ll be well on your way to successful weight loss.

hand holding lots of supplements

Myth #5: Weight loss supplements are a miracle solution

Weight loss supplements are often marketed as a quick fix for shedding pounds. But there is no “magic pill” when it comes to weight loss. So if a supplement promotes itself as one, run like the wind, because it’s just not true.

Thankfully, there are some really great supplements that can kick your weight loss results up a notch when taken alongside a healthy diet and with regular exercise. That’s what the word “supplement” means, after all.

Any products worth their salt will be completely upfront and honest about how they work, will display the full list of ingredients (including the quantities per serving), and won’t make any outrageous or impossible claims (like it will melt all of your body fat away in a matter of days or hours).

A healthy rate of weight loss is around a pound or two per week, so a high-quality supplement will help you reach and maintain this level of fat-burning by raising your metabolism or suppressing your appetite.

What to do instead: Choose a safe and proven supplement that can boost your metabolic rate, reduce fat accumulation, and curb hunger cravings. Taking a supplement like PhenQ alongside a healthy diet and exercise habits is an effective and realistic way to enhance your fat-burning that actually leads to results.

Myth #6: Crash diets are an effective way to lose weight

Crash diets, which involve drastically reducing your total calorie intake, can feel tempting as a way to see some quick weight loss results. But they’re really not a sustainable or healthy approach to follow.

As we saw above with the meal-skipping myth, when you drastically restrict your food intake, your body goes into survival mode and slows down your metabolic rate.

This can lead to muscle loss, nutrient deficiencies, and even weight gain once you revert back to normal eating habits.

What to do instead: Resist the temptation of crash dieting. Focus on making little lifestyle tweaks that are sustainable and enhance your overall health. Eating better, regular physical activity, and speeding up your metabolism are the keys to burning body fat.

woman eating salad in a restaurant

Myth #7: You can't eat out while trying to lose weight

Eating out at restaurants doesn’t have to derail your weight loss efforts.

While it can be more challenging to control portion sizes and ingredients when dining out, you can still make healthy choices, such as…

  • Choosing grilled, steamed, or baked menu options rather than fried
  • Ask for dressings and sauces on the side
  • Go for vegetable or fruit sides instead of fries
  • Listen to your body's hunger cues and stop eating when you are satisfied, even if there is food left on your plate

You could also make alternative versions of your favorite takeout and restaurant dishes at home. That way you can control what goes into your healthy meals and how much you prepare.

What to do instead: Don’t feel guilty about treating yourself to a meal out. Just try to make healthier choices when you can and eat well across the rest of the week. And if you really do want to splurge on a takeout or dessert from time to time, we won’t tell. Particularly if it’s a special occasion. Successfully losing weight shouldn’t come at the expense of enjoying the rest of your life.

Myth #8: Weight training will make you bulky

Many women shy away from weight training because they worry it will make them look bulky or masculine, but this doesn’t happen—especially if their body type isn’t built for it.

Even men can find it difficult to bulk up when they actually want to—and they have the testosterone as well as extra muscle mass that should make bulking up easier.

So if you’re concerned about resistance training making you too muscular, don’t be put off.

Strength training can be a really effective part of a well-rounded exercise routine that can help you achieve a lean and toned physique as well as shed extra body fat.

When you lift weights, you increase your metabolism, which helps you burn more calories throughout the day.

What to do instead: Follow a fat-burning workout that hones in on a mixture of cardio and weight training—but only if that’s the type of exercise you want to do. Working out and burning calories should be, and can be, fun!

woman running on treadmill

Myth #9: You have to spend hours at the gym to lose weight

The idea that you have to spend hours at the gym to lose weight can really put you off exercising.

Maybe you don’t have the time, interest, or ability to get to a gym multiple times each week, or maybe you’re intimidated by the very idea of being there. Whatever the reason, it can make you not want to even get started.

But exercise can be whatever you want it to be! It’s the quality of your workouts that matters more than the quantity.

Shorter, high-intensity workouts can be just as effective, if not more so, than longer, low-intensity workouts.

Just focus on incorporating a variety of exercises that challenge your cardiovascular system and build strength into your routine—whether you’re in the gym or working out from home.

What to do instead: Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week and find activities you enjoy to make exercise a sustainable habit. You can even find sneaky ways to burn calories during your days too!

Myth #10: You can't enjoy your favorite foods while losing weight

Just like you don’t have to spend hours in the gym each week, you don’t have to starve yourself to successfully burn fat. Thankfully, the rumors are untrue!

You can still enjoy your favorite foods while on a weight loss journey.

In fact, depriving yourself of the foods you love can often lead to feelings of restriction and ultimately result in binge eating later on.

Remember, healthy weight loss is about balance and building sustainable habits, not deprivation. Making healthier food choices over time is the key.

As long as you don’t go overboard too often, feel free to enjoy whatever meals and snacks you like as a treat from time to time.

What to do instead: You don’t need to completely eliminate your favorite foods—just practice moderation and portion control. Allow yourself to indulge in your favorite treat occasionally, then focus on eating healthy foods the rest of the time.

woman celebrating while on weighing scales

How to get (and stay) on the right track with weight loss

The main theme that runs through all of these busted myths is that moderation is the key to achieving and maintaining weight loss. It’s being able to do things your way is how you can stay motivated, enjoy the fat-burning process, and love your body and yourself.

The best weight loss tips are the ones that can easily slip into your regular daily routines, without causing unnecessary stress or making you feel like a failure.

So forget crash diets, hours in the gym, and feeling guilty about your food choices, the main things to bear in mind are to…

Successful weight loss is not about being miserable or buying into myths and misconceptions. It’s about making sustainable lifestyle changes that promote overall health and wellbeing.

Steer clear of the weight loss mistakes above, and you’ll be well on your way to achieving all of your health and fitness goals.

Remember, weight loss is a journey, and it's important to be patient and kind to yourself along the way.

Every step forward is a step closer to getting to where you want to be, so go ahead and take that first step, and you’ll never look back.