Despite knowing better and needing to eat better, I was overweight for years. I exercised but resisted healthy eating because it seemed like I was in love with the wrong foods, and I didn’t feel like I fit into “that crowd” anyway.
As it turns out, my reluctance to change was all in my head based on myths I accepted as truths. This blog post shares three myths that prevented weight loss and healthy eating from getting a foothold in my life. My hope is that by the end of the article, you’ll see, as I did, that you got this.
Weight Loss Myths – At-A-Glance
- Myth #1: Healthy Eaters ALWAYS Love Healthy Eating. Truth: Sometimes, it is a chore. Healthy eaters evaluate food choices based on how the food will make them feel.
- Myth #2: Healthy Eating is All-Consuming. Truth: Any change comes with challenges, but you don’t need to change overnight. Make a 5% shift, and get the ball rolling.
- Myth #3: I Can Never Eat Fun Foods Again. Truth: There’s a middle ground. Make sugar special, not ordinary.
Weight Loss is Hard Enough Without These Myths [Video]
In this video, you’ll learn…
- The complicated relationship between food and weight loss.
- Three myths that I believed about weight loss.
- Three weight loss truths that replaced those myths.
There are numerous ways to lose weight. Some of them are healthy, and some are unhealthy.
It’s possible to take healthy strategies too far, making them into unhealthy practices.
But the puzzle piece that links everything together is food. Food has become confusing. We live in the information age, so it seems like it should be easy to get the right information.
However, it is more likely that we get overloaded with conflicting information that makes us throw our hands in the air and say, “I don’t know what to eat. Let’s order a pizza and think about it tomorrow.”
There are many different eating styles. Your preference is based on traditions, lifestyle choices, and many other factors, which are all fine. It is what makes us individuals. However, there is a problematic “food group” that can derail any diet, namely ultra-processed foods.
These are the foods that you find in the center of the grocery store, where there are entire aisles dedicated to breakfast cereals, frozen ready-to-eat meals, and snack foods, like energy bars, chips, candy, cookies, and crackers.
These manipulated foods have just the right mix of ingredients to make us want to keep eating them, and since there are more than 10,000 chemicals allowed as food additives, they are probably doing more harm to us than just causing weight gain.
Whether you eat a keto diet or a vegetarian diet, you’re not safe from ultra-processed foods. For the low-carb dieter, we have keto snacks and processed meats. If you are a vegetarian, many cookies, cakes, and candies are free of animal products.
If these highly processed foods are part of your diet, cut them out, and you’ll make progress quickly. But for this post, we are looking at the step before physical dieting. This post is focused on getting off the starting line by mentally challenging three myths that keep us stuck.
Myth #1: Healthy Eaters ALWAYS Love Healthy Eating
The first myth is that healthy eaters ALWAYS love eating healthy. This isn’t true. Some days, it’s more of a chore than a delight. However, one thing can always be said about sugary processed foods: You never wake up the next morning thinking, “I’m so glad I ate sugar last night.”
What I have found to be true about people that typically eat healthily is that their decision about what to eat is based on many factors, not just taste.
Truth #1: Taste is Overrated
A healthy diet starts with healthy food choices. Sugary drinks and refined carbs overload your brain and tastebuds, making sweetness feel like a necessity. In this overloaded state, you’re prone to choose foods based almost entirely on one factor: taste.
Those who achieve freedom from sugar and ultra-processed foods recognize that taste is only one of the factors to consider when making food choices. They also take into account how hungry they are, which foods will help their bodies perform well and maintain a comfortable weight, which options will leave them feeling good, and which ones will satisfy hunger.
Eating good-tasting food is enjoyable. But to strengthen your shift toward healthy eating, also consider the following questions when making food choices:
- Does it taste good?
- Does it satisfy my hunger?
- Does it help me control my blood sugar?
- Does it make my stomach feel good?
- Is it full of nutrients?
The more yeses you get, the easier your diet will be to follow, and your eating day will be more enjoyable and effective.
Myth #2: Healthy Eating is All-Consuming
Another myth is that healthy eating requires so much work that it isn’t worthwhile. It does take effort to change anything that we have become accustomed to or comfortable with. After a long week, a call to the pizza delivery guy is easy. A quick stop through the fast-food lane is yummy, and everyone in the family will eat it – because it’s yummy. I get it.
When I committed to healthy eating, one of the biggest hurdles for me was going out to a restaurant and ordering a salad or healthy entrée when I really wanted the burger and fries. Restaurants don’t smell like lettuce and cucumbers; they smell like fried food, and just committing to eating better didn’t take away that memory that fried foods taste good.
This myth piggybacks onto the first one, where taste is everything. What I found was that when I did order the healthy option, I left the restaurant feeling good, not bloated and sleepy, and I liked that feeling.
It left me with the sense that I had discovered some type of secret, and it was reassuring because I realized that I could take advantage of low-effort, convenient restaurant meals. In other words, when I looked, I found that there were acceptable, easy options for healthy eating.
This understanding of how much better my stomach, body, and mind felt when I ate healthy meals made it easier to learn how to cook meals at home, which is what I do most days now.
Truth #2: Make A 5% Shift
The truth is that change of any kind has its challenges. But you do not need to go from a poor diet to an ultra-healthy diet overnight. In fact, all you have to do is make a 5% shift. Think about my “a-ha” moment in the restaurant. By taking the small step of ordering the salad instead of the burger, I gained the very valuable realization that healthy eating does not have to be inconvenient, making it easier to take another step.
To dispel the myth that healthy eating is all-consuming, finish this sentence: If I accept 5% more responsibility for my food choices today, then [fill in the blank].
For example: If I accept 5% more responsibility for my food choices today, then I will order a salad at the restaurant.
If I accept 5% more responsibility for my food choices today, then I will pop a piece of minty sugar-free gum in my mouth after dinner to stop myself from eating dessert.
Come up with six sentence completions and do this exercise daily for a week. Do this quickly, and don’t judge what you write. It doesn’t even have to make sense. But you will uncover a few gems. And from those few gems, you’ll see your desire for better eating grow without effort.
As a side note, I learned this concept of sentence completion from an author named Dr. Nathaniel Branden. You may want to look up his books if you find this helpful.
Myth #3: I Can Never Eat Fun Foods Again
Another myth that can stop you in your tracks before you even get started is the thought that to be a healthy eater, you can never eat fun foods again. I am using the term “fun foods” to describe the cookies, cakes, candies, and other convenient treats out there.
Drawing a line in the sand and declaring that you will never eat junk food again will work for some. For others, that thought creates anxiety and fear that leads them right back into junk food’s comforting arms. There’s a middle ground: make sugar special, not ordinary.
Truth #3: Make Sugar Special, Not Ordinary
For example, a cupcake on your birthday is special. A cupcake in the break room is ordinary. Keep treats special, and you will make life more enjoyable and your diet more effective.
It can feel defeating when you want to change your food choices, only to venture out into the world and be met with aisles of tempting convenience foods. Know that you are not weak for wanting to eat these foods. In fact, it only proves that you’re human. After all, these ultra-processed foods have been carefully crafted to override hunger-satisfaction signals and make us want to keep eating them.
You can push it all aside and reach your goal, and you don’t have to be miserable in the process. Realize that while taste is important, food choices should also be based on how they make you feel after eating them. Know that you don’t have to change everything overnight.
Even a 5% shift toward better food choices will put you on the path you want to be on. And understand that eating healthy is not an “all-or-nothing” proposition. The trick is to make sugary treats special, not ordinary.
Thank you for reading and have a wonderful day!