Myths and Weight Loss
Myths are a part of every society and culture. They help explain common experiences that are mysterious, frightening, or difficult to understand. Ancient civilizations used myths to explain aspects of the world that they could not comprehend. Joseph Campbell, author of the book The Power of Myth, explains that we need myths to survive and to explain and understand our existence.
Weight Loss Myths are powerful. They can inspire us to great heights. But they can also become traps when they mask the full truth. If you go beyond the kernel of truth that forms the basis of the myth and believe that every aspect of the myth is true, you can become paralyzed into inaction because the myth seemingly explains everything.
Many popular weight-loss methods can be attractive and persuasive. Who hasn’t tried at least a few of the latest and greatest weight loss plans? These methods are appealing because they are based on a believable myth, a convincing scientific explanation, and a fantastic promise: the pitch is that if you buy into the myth, you will lose weight quickly. Perhaps you believed the myth that simply by cutting back on fat you could lose weight permanently. Maybe you believed the myth that cutting out most carbohydrates would magically melt away your extra fat and pounds. Perhaps you subscribed to the common myth that if you simply began exercising more, your weight would come off. We wish we could tell you that these myths were true. While each has some kernels of truth, they’re missing quite a bit as well. That’s the point of this book; we’ll fill you in on the whole story. Myths have the power to keep you riding the weight-loss roller coaster or prevent you from trying again. That is why it is so important to pull out the kernel of truth and discard the rest. Until you separate the truth from the myth, you won’t achieve your goal of sustainable weight loss. Stop in your local bookstore, browse online, or watch one of television’s morning shows and you will quickly see that weight-loss myths are abundant. One popular myth states that carrying a few extra pounds around doesn’t really have an impact on your health. The myth has a kernel of truth: carrying around a few extra pounds is not as risky as carrying around a lot of extra pounds. But the whole truth is that even gaining small amounts of weight as the years go by carries a health risk.
Today, an even more widespread but fading myth is that a low-carbohydrate diet magically melts away pounds and is answer to weight loss. Once again, there is an element of truth to this myth. Many people eat overly large portions of carbohydrates like pasta and bread, as well as too many foods with added sugars and highly processed flour. This type of eating can contribute to weight gain in very significant ways. Furthermore, carbohydrate foods supply a majority of our calories. So cutting back on empty calories from added sugar and highly processed flour can help you lose weight as long as you don’t fill your diet with low-carbohydrate, calorie-rich foods.
Or what about the common myth that all you need to do is go to the gym and work out to lose weight? There is a kernel of truth to the relationship between regular exercise and weight loss. But individuals who think that they can lose weight simply by increasing their exercise program and not controlling their food intake are almost always embarking on a futile journey.
We all have myths. Some are wonderful because they inspire us. Some get in the way of our progress. Myths can be busted through knowledge. The road to sustainable weight loss begins when you get rid of the weight-loss myths standing in your way and learn how to make the science of weight loss work for you. This book is about weight-loss truths. Our goal is to tell you the whole truth about how you can lose weight for good. In doing so, we can help you base your weight-loss efforts on solid principles that work and that are based on years of experience and hundreds of scientific studies, many of which were performed at the Rippe Lifestyle Institute (RLI) or with people following the Weight Watchers program.
Together, we’ve had the opportunity to learn from countless people about what works when it comes to sustainable weight loss. We know that with the right method, long-term weight loss is possible.