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Fight the Lies We’re Told About Weight Loss

weight loss lies versus the truth image

Lies are pervasive in the weight loss industry. We’ve all seen the ads for 6-pack abs with no need to do any work. The special pill that will solve all of our problems.

These outright lies aren’t the most dangerous lies, however. The most dangerous lies have some truth to them but don’t tell the whole story. The lies that are true in certain situations and therefore evidence of their “truth” can be created. This evidence is then projected to all situations, making us believe the lie is universally true, even though it’s only true sometimes.

Lies like “we all have a natural weight” or “if you lose weight you’ll just gain it back” or “diets don’t work” all have some truth to them. If we take these statements at face value, why even bother trying to get healthier? It’s just not possible, right?

Well, the truth is that there’s more to the story. Weight loss is absolutely possible. If we can understand where people fail with weight loss, hopefully, we can then better understand how we can succeed. I eventually figured out how, after breaking through a number of these lies, cutting out any excuses I had, so I could finally then succeed and transform my life.

In this post, I’ll be discussing some of the lies that I’ve heard in the weight loss industry. I’ll explain the truth within the lie that makes the lie so believable. I’ll also then explain the REAL, NUANCED truth.

Weight Loss Lie #1: We All Have a “Natural Weight.”

Truth within the lie: Our genetics and physiology has a large influence on how much we weigh.

False conclusion: “Because my body is supposed to weigh X, there’s no point to try to weigh a different number.”

Truth beyond the lie: Our weight is influenced not just by our genetics and physiology, but our environment and our mentality. We can also shift our physiology, to an extent.

Yes, some people are naturally thinner than others. Others have immense struggles in losing weight. Others just need a few micro-changes to lose weight.

Just because we have a natural state does not mean we are therefore destined to be a certain weight our entire lives.

As I mentioned in another blog post, the weight control spectrum, our weight is controlled not just by our genetics, but by a number of factors. Here’s the formula:

Our “Natural” Weight = Physiological Factors + Environmental Factors + Mental Factors

The point I’m trying to make is that although genetics matter, it’s not just genetics that matter. In fact, for MANY of us, the environmental factors matter even more than anything.

Imagine going from a job with a lot of physical activity to one where you are always sitting on a desk. What do you think would happen with your weight? Would it just stay constant? No. You can see this in many professional athletes who retire. They’re no longer the same physique they were when they were playing their sport at a high level. Their new lifestyle has created a new set-point.

With the 2020 pandemic, numerous people have gained weight, yet some have also LOST weight. Their environment was drastically changed and therefore their weight “set-point” changed as well.

Yes, our genetics matter. But other factors matter too, and many of those factors we can actually control. If we start taking control of those factors, we can start taking control of our weight as well.

Weight Loss Lie #2: If You Lose Weight You’ll Just Gain It Back

Truth within the lie: If you lose weight and then go to your old lifestyle and habits, odds are that you will gain it back.

False conclusion: “I’ll just regain the weight anyways, so there’s no point.”

Truth beyond the lie: If you can change your habits, lifestyle, and rewire your brain during the process of weight loss, you can maintain a new weight.

Someone who just started her journey with Luuze inspired this post. She mentioned to me she succeeded with programs in the past. She tried food tracking and it worked for her, but once she stopped, she regained the weight.

In fact, she had a doctor tell her that if she wasn’t willing to track food for the rest of her life, she shouldn’t bother trying to lose weight because she wouldn’t keep it off and then just gain more! Talk about demotivating, especially coming from a source of authority.

There is some truth to this, unfortunately. If you do not repair your broken feedback loop, then odds are that you will regain the weight.

If you fix your broken feedback loop, however, then you will be able to maintain your weight. This is what Luuze is designed to help with.

Weight Loss Is Like Riding a Bike

Weight loss is a bit like riding a bike. LEARNING how to lose weight is like LEARNING how to ride a bike.

If you take on a weight loss program that does the pedaling for you or gives you a tricycle instead of a bike, you can go some distance (lose weight). But once someone stops pedaling for you or the training wheels come off, unless you’ve actually deeply integrated HOW to ride that bike through your journey, you’re going to fall and trip. You won’t be able to do it again, even if you understand the theory behind how you can ride the bike.

You actually have to learn how to ride the bike. Learning how to ride a bike and actually riding a bike are related but are two different things. Learning how to lose weight and actually losing weight are two different things. If you lose weight but you haven’t actually learned how to do it, then yes, you can gain the weight back.

Weight loss often fails if we don’t learn the skill of weight loss.

Food tracking and calorie counting can work for weight loss. Personally, I feel like it’s too much of a hassle for me, but for those that successfully use it to lose weight, all the power to them. Furthermore, like training wheels on a bike, it can be a crutch to preventing a person from truly learning how to lose weight such that they can permanently repair their feedback loop.

I am biased, but I prefer Luuze’s philosophy, where the focus is put on behaviour change to repair that feedback loop. The hope is that people transform their lives permanently not only because they’ve lost weight, but because they’ve learned how to lose weight permanently. That’s why there is such a large focus on self-reflection, questioning yourself, and making small tweaks that stick. Weight loss is a skill that can actually be developed.

Weight Loss Lie #3: Diets Don’t Work

Truth within the lie: Diets don’t work when they are unsustainable or do not become part of a permanent lifestyle.

False conclusion: “Diets are fake and people who promote diets are fake and weight loss is just a scam.”

Truth beyond the lie: If you can make a diet a permanent lifestyle, or adjust your diet to improve your eating habits, a dietary change can dramatically impact how much you weigh.

This lie is connected to the above two lies. Diets often cause temporary weight loss! If you go back to your normal eating habits, odds are that you will regain the weight that you lost. Change creates change… but change back also creates change back.

However, diets such as intermittent fasting and keto and other diets absolutely do work, if you stick with them. The transformations cannot be denied. There are countless examples of how people have successfully used these diets to lose weight. The difference between the people who regain the weight and those that don’t are the ones that have embraced the diet are people who have now made that diet their permanent lifestyle.

I am not a big fan of restrictive diets, personally: I love food and love it all. But the truth is that there are many methods that can be used for weight loss. You can read this article to learn more about all of the weight loss methods (at a high level).

Weight Loss Lie #4: Don’t Weigh Yourself Daily

Truth within the lie: Weighing yourself can be immensely demotivating because the scale lies, not providing you an accurate measure of your actual progress.

False conclusion: “Weighing yourself daily is bad for your health.”

Truth beyond the lie: If you can use trend weight to recognize your progress, weighing yourself daily can be a powerful tool to keep you accountable, motivated, and honest with yourself.

It’s interesting how many people have told me that they have always been told not to weigh themselves daily. I can understand because the bathroom scale can be totally demotivating.

After using Luuze, however, because Luuze calculates trend weight, they’ve often told me that daily weighing has been such a useful thing to do for weight loss. It’s one of the main reasons why I was able to succeed with weight loss, for sure.

Read more about how daily weigh-ins provide value, here.

Understand the Nuance Behind Weight Loss Lies

Weight loss is a multi-faceted topic, with a million variables. Because of this, different conclusions can be made from all the observations and experiences that people have on their weight loss journey. Many of these observations and experiences can be put in a negative light. Lies like weight loss is impossible and that we are destined to weigh what we weigh no matter how much we try.

I’m more optimistic. The fact that weight loss is a multi-faceted issue actually means that there are a million different ways to succeed. If we can find a way that succeeds for us, that we can succeed in self-transformation. Often, these lies are so pervasive because they give us a reason to not believe and to justify our current state. It was only until I started to believe when I was finally able to succeed in losing 100 pounds, and part of what helped me believe was cutting out the lies about weight loss that were ingrained in me since childhood.

Are there any other weight loss lies that you’d like me to discuss? Don’t hesitate to let me know! I’ll add more lies to this post as I get them.

2 thoughts on “Fight the Lies We’re Told About Weight Loss”

  1. I agree wholeheartedly with most of what you say. A bit of background: at 5’2”, I had ballooned up to 160 lbs twenty years ago because of undiagnosed hypothyroidism. Once it was finally diagnosed, I was freed of the notion that it was just my fault I had gained weight and I no longer felt helpless. I was finally started on synthroid to counteract the hypothyroidism, but I also decided I wanted to strangle this weight beast. I started on Atkins, which I know many still vilify, but it’s actually an excellent low glycemic index diet if one bothers to read more than the first chapter of his book.

    I lost 55 lbs over the course of three years and successfully maintained that loss for 15 years. Two years ago, things changed. My diet and exercise were the same, but suddenly my girth was not. Found that I’d gone from my normal 107 lbs to 112 lbs. I forced my weight back down to 104 lbs, it made not the slightest difference in my Jean size.

    That was so discouraging that I let my weight go back up, am 114 now. Am still trying to lose, but I don’t understand what’s going on.

    1. Sid, first of all, kudos to you for finding the diagnosis, freeing yourself of the notion that it was just your fault, and starting to take back control! A loss of 55 lbs over 3 years and maintenance of that for 15 years is an immense accomplishment. Never forget that you have that determination and skill.

      Atkins works if one can stick with it. It fails if one goes back to their old ways. It’s a diet that works for but can be hard to maintain in our high carb culture.

      Not understanding on why things aren’t working can be one of the hardest things to figure out, and often, understanding is necessary before change can happen. Not knowing your personal situation, it can be hard to diagnose.

      Not speaking specifically about your situation because it is impossible to diagnose with more information, there are two general statements that I can state that may or may not help you:

      1. Generally people who have a BMI of under 20 and are looking to get a thinner jean size benefit immensely from shifting their focus from weight loss and cardio to strength training. A personal trainer can go a long way into developing a program that supports body toning. For those with a BMI higher than 25, weight loss will still support waist size reduction immensely.

      2. If things change… something has changed. Whether it is physiological, environmental, or mental, it may be hidden. Maybe a shift in medication might be necessary. Maybe it’s just age – for example, menopause is a factor that changes things for older women. Understanding the change can be really hard but self-reflection and asking questions is often the path towards a solution.

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