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7 weight loss myths that are stopping you from reaching your goals

Jessica Sepel
A woman works out with ropes at the gym

Here are some of the most common diet and exercise myths

A woman works out with ropes at the gym

From shakes and pills to teas and slim foods, there are so many products on the market that promise ‘the body of your dreams’. The diet industry is big business.

As a clinical nutritionist, it’s my goal to empower people with the tools to live a healthy, wholesome and balanced life. It’s not about trends and quick fixes; it’s about a sustainable lifestyle. I also believe it’s my duty to dispel a few diet myths, so here are some of the most common misconceptions prevalent in the diet industry.

Myth 1: Exercise intensely to get the body of your dreams

Intense exercise isn’t for everyone. The JSHealth exercise philosophy is about exercising smarter, not harder and exercising for energy, not exhaustion.

I want you to move your body daily, but in ways you love. This is what I call ‘exercising with kindness,’ which will help you to build your relationship with your body in a sustainable, long-term way.

There’s simply no need to overdo it and push yourself to the limit. I recommend exercising for 30 to 45 minutes five times a week and enjoying one or two rest days each week. It’s important to take days off without feeling guilty. A rested body is a healthy body; it’s all about balance.

Myth 2: Eat a low-calorie diet

You’ve probably heard of the ‘calories in vs calories out’ theory. It’s the idea that you’ll lose weight if you burn off more calories than you eat, but fat loss goes beyond calories in, calories out. Instead of counting calories, we need to focus on the quality of the calories we’re consuming. Our bodies burn calories from whole foods far better than they do those from processed foods.

Moreover, how your body burns energy depends on a range of factors: your hormones, stress levels, blood sugars, thyroid function, genes and more. Also, foods have a specific impact on our metabolism. For example, greens, proteins and good fats boost our metabolism and balance our blood sugars, which assists with weight balance.

On the other hand, sugar, refined carbs and processed foods slow down our metabolism and throw our blood sugars out of whack, which makes it harder to burn fat in the long-term.

A woman wearing activewear works out with ropes at the gym

Myth 3: Eating fat will make you fat

Consuming quality fats is so important for supporting your hormones and nourishing your body. Aim to have a portion of good fats at each main meal, such as avocado, olive oil, nuts, seeds, tahini, eggs and oily fish. Avoid trans fats such as those found in fried, baked and processed foods.

Myth 4: Diet foods will make you skinny

Diet foods are usually loaded with artificial sweeteners, bad oils and preservatives, which are not that good for weight loss. Enjoy whole foods that have minimal ingredients. Take a look at the range of healthy recipes I’ve created exclusively for The Check Up.

Myth 5: Drinking coffee will keep you full

When consumed in excess, coffee can have a negative impact on weight loss. Consuming too much caffeine can cause a rise in cortisol and adrenaline, which can cause all kinds of hormonal issues, in addition to weight gain around the midsection. It can also add strain to our digestion and liver load.

If you drink your cup of joe with full cream milk and two sugars, this is not the best choice for weight balance. So, what does a good coffee look like? Here are my top tips:

  • A long black: add a dash of good quality cow’s milk or almond milk.

  • A piccolo: a shot of espresso with only a small amount of milk added.

  • A half latte or flat white: an espresso shot with half a cup of cow’s milk or almond milk.

A close-up of a woman taking a sip of her latte

Myth 6: Eat less to lose weight

Skipping meals or not eating enough usually backfires. This can cause the body to go into ‘starvation mode’, which is where the body clings onto fat to protect itself. And, when we don’t eat enough during the day, we tend to overeat or binge on our next meal. It is much more effective to eat five small meals each day that include all the important macronutrients – fats, proteins, fibre and slow-releasing carbs – for weight balance.

Myth 7: Don’t snack if you’re trying to lose weight

At JSHealth, we believe in eating four to five small meals a day for blood sugar balance and weight management. This helps you to eat less at main meals, keeps energy high and reduces sugar cravings throughout the day.

We suggest having a mid-morning snack and mid-afternoon snack. Some good options include a handful of raw almonds, green apple sliced with cinnamon, carrots and hummus, protein balls, Greek yoghurt with cinnamon, berries or some dark chocolate.

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Jessica Sepel smiling in front of vases of greenery

Jessica Sepel

Founder of JSHealth, author of two best-selling books and accredited nutritionist, Jessica Sepel is passionate about taking a balanced approach when it comes to food. Jess believes we need to give up diets to overhaul our relationship with food and advocates for moderation, mindfulness at meals and healthy body image.

Check out more articles by Jess, including the delicious and healthy recipes she’s created exclusively for nib.