The 12 Diet Myths that
Sabotage Weight Loss
By Dr. Leslie Van Romer
aboard to America’s diet-go-round, one you may have ridden a few
times before. You plan, measure, count, weigh. You sacrifice,
deprive, starve then crave. You sneak (as if you can really sneak
from yourself). You guilt. You beat yourself up. You lose. You gain.
You lose. You plateau. You get depressed, frustrated and feel like a
good news is: you didn’t fail, the diets failed you! What a relief!
Most diets-of-the-day are designed to fail. Let’s sort myth from
fact and stop the dizzying diet-go-round madness forever.
Myth: To lose weight, you must control your hunger drive.
Your hunger drive cannot be controlled. It’s an inborn instinct.
Like all instincts – thirst, sleeping, breathing, sex – it keeps you
alive. When you’re hungry (not just bored or sad or upset), do the
novel thing and eat! Choose foods that give you the best nutrition
for your calorie buck: fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains (like
brown rice) and beans. To lose weight, you must satisfy your hunger
drive, not wage war with it.
Myth: High protein foods satisfy your hunger drive.
Of the three major nutrients, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats,
carbohydrates sourced by unrefined whole fruits and vegetables
satisfy your hunger drive, not the protein found in animal products.
Beef, poultry, pork, and fish contain exactly 0% carbohydrates. If
you are eating a high protein diet sourced by animal products, you
are not getting enough unrefined carbs, which is responsible for
triggering your brain to tell you when to stop eating.
Myth: To lose weight, you must starve yourself with restricted
To lose weight, you must feel full and satisfied, not starving from
baby-size portions. You can only starve yourself so long before that
hunger drive takes command with such unstoppable power that you eat
anything and everything. If you fill up on the best-for-you foods,
you can and should eat as much as you want without fussing,
counting, measuring, depriving, and bingeing – and putting on extra
pounds – ever again.
Myth: To lose weight, you must give up your food favorites forever.
You don’t “have to” give up anything. Let’s face it. As soon as you
proclaim you’re going to give up your favorite food, you’re probably
tempted to indulge as soon as the next day! Instead of trapping
yourself in that “I have to give up” box, follow a new strategy.
Think addition, not subtraction and give yourself wiggle room.
about which foods you “get to” add to your day instead of which you
“have to” give up. Center your meals on whole, fresh fruits and
vegetables, as well as whole grains, beans, sprouts, raw, unsalted
nuts and seeds, and homemade fruit and vegetable juices. Fill up on
these first and then eat your traditional not-so-good for you foods.
Enjoy your wiggle room, flexibility in your food plan. Just don’t
wiggle more than 20% of the time.
Myth: Carbs make you fat.
Who started the rumor that eating fruit is the same as eating
refined white sugar? All carbohydrates are not created equally.
There are good carbs and bad carbs. Good carbs are sourced by
whole, unrefined plant foods, as in fresh fruits, vegetables,
grains, and legumes. These are your body’s most efficient fuel; what
you ate yesterday will give you today’s energy.
carbs are sourced by refined plant foods, such as white sugar and
white flour products: breads, cookies, pastries, cake, candy, soft
drinks, store-bought drinks, and many processed, packaged foods. Bad
carbs, high in calories and empty of nutrients, add fat.
matter what low-fat, low-carb, high-protein diet is being preached,
the real truth is weight gain is ultimately dictated not by one
major nutrient, but by a simple math equation: (Calories in) -
(Calories out) = the fat you wear.
Myth: Cravings are all in your imagination.
Cravings are real. They can hold you hostage and stuck in a body you
don’t like. Diets usually deprive you of enough calories and
nutrients, intensifying cravings, causing those uncontrollable urges
to eat foods high in calories, sugar, fat, salt, and chemicals.
fruits and vegetables feed all the nutrients necessary for human
health, satisfying your hunger drive and minimizing or wiping out
cravings, sometimes within a week.
Myth: Olive oil is a good fat.
Shocker – your body makes almost all the fats it needs! Two
exceptions: linoleic and alphalinoleic fatty acids, amply sourced by
a variety of plant foods. Therefore, it serves no purpose whatsoever
to add more fat to the ready-made fat. Olive oil is a highly
concentrated, refined fat that comes without any nutrition. All
added oils, even olive oil, offer one thing: calories. Those
calories come with a fat price tag – more fat added to your body!
Myth: You must eat meat to get enough protein.
Animal products come automatically packaged with
artery-clogging, disease-causing saturated fat and cholesterol. Beef
is 67% fat, skinless, white chicken 38%, salmon 48%, cheddar cheese
73%, eggs 62%, and 2% milk has 35%. Meat, dairy, and fish can
quickly hike up fat calories, sabotaging weight loss. As for the
cholesterol, chicken, fish, and dairy products are up there with
Myth: You must drink milk and eat cheese to get enough calcium.
Because dairy products are packed with fat, not to mention other
ill-effects, they are not your allies in the weight loss game. Most
cheeses are 70% fat or more and even skim milk has 4 to 7% fat.
we need to eat dairy to get our calcium? Well, think about it. Where
do cows, horses, giraffes, apes, and elephants get their calcium for
strong bones and teeth? Plants. They certainly don’t drink milk
(once weaned). Cow’s milk is made for baby cows, not for baby people
much less grown-up people. The only milk made for baby people is
Unrefined plant foods contain all the nutrients, vitamins, minerals,
and micronutrients you need, including calcium. Nature is so smart.
Where does calcium come from? The soil. Calcium is dissolved in
water in the soil and absorbed by plants. Plants transform inedible,
unusable calcium from the soil into usable calcium needed by all
mammals. Eating plants is the most direct way of getting calcium,
and without the fat, cholesterol, animal protein, hormones,
antibiotics, other toxins, which can come in dairy products.
and dairy products are choices, not necessities, and can add
significant calories to calories and fat.
Myth: You can exercise off the calories you take in.
It takes about twelve miles of moderate walking, all at one time to
lose one pound of fat. Unless you are a high level athlete,
exercising without changing to a more nutrient-dense, low-calorie
food plan contributes disappointingly little to ideal weight loss in
the average person.
Myth: A diet is a temporary way of eating to lose weight. Once a
weight goal is reached, you can go back to your “normal” way of
As soon as you abandon a restrictive diet and return to your
“normal” eating habits, the weight comes back – with a vengeance.
The only way to lose weight permanently is to shift your thinking.
As you do this, you also shift your daily choices. As your choices
shift, your habits shift. As your habits shift, your behavior
patterns and entire lifestyle shift. At first it takes a lot of
effort, as with any change. After a while, it magically transforms
into effortless, freeing you from the food trap.
Myth: If you slip-up, you are weak, lazy, undisciplined, and
ultimately a failure.
Ridiculous – you are a human being, so you’re going to get off
track. It’s tough to change habits that have been deeply grooved
into our brains. Slipping up is totally normal and natural for us
mere mortals. When you get off track, there’s no need for
self-flogging. Let it go – what’s done is done – and get right back
on track. Go to the store, get lots of fresh, whole foods, and
center your next meals on the best-for-you foods. And remember: the
only slip-up is to give up, and you are not going to give up!
your time to feel good about you! Hop off the diet-go-round and shed
those pounds forever. Just add, stop and wiggle. Add the
best-for-you foods first, stop eating when your brain tells you to,
and wiggle – but not too much! With time, patience, and really
wanting it, you can step into your body-dream-come-true.
Read other articles and learn more about
Dr. Leslie Van
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