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7 Popular Diet Myths That Makes You Fail At Weight Loss

Last Updated on September 4, 2019 by Femniqe

1. It’s NOT About Blame, Guilt or Fault


There are two opposing concepts in weight control:

1. Exogenous – What you do outside your body (the “ex” inexogenous) matters most. These are things like what and how much you eat and how much you exercise.

2. Endogenous – What happens inside your body (the “en” in endogenous) matters most. These are things like hormones, nutrient deficiency and cravings that drive your food desires and control how much energy (an inclination) you have for physical activity.

Now consider two external factors that affect these internal factors for the worse:

  • Our food environment is getting worse.

We are constantly surrounded by foods that are higher in calories and lower in nutrients. There’s also a monetary factor as these foods are often cheaper to buy but more profitable for the fast food outlet, food manufacturer or supermarket.

  • We’re becoming more reliant on labour-saving devices.

Our cars have power-assisted steering and push-button windows. We don’t run to answer the phone as it’s now in our pocket.

The common thinking is that it’s all about personal responsibility – the exogenous factors. New thinking suggests that the endogenous factors play a bigger role.
More on the endogenous factors…

We all have millions of fat cells. How your fat cells grow (get fatter) or shrink (release energy) is likely to be different to other people. Here are two explanations.

1. In some ways, your fat cells behave like an unborn baby.
When a woman is pregnant, the unborn baby is programmed to grow and tells the host (mum) to go eat.

• The baby does not grow because mum decides to eat more.
• Mum feels like eating more because the growing baby requires energy and nutrients. The baby (or the baby’s presence) actually gives mum’s body the signals and drive to eat more.

2. Your fat cell growth is controlled by your hormonal orchestra.

Each of us has a ‘Hormonal Orchestra’ that controls what our fat cells do – grow and hoard energy or release energy and shrink.

Your ‘Hormonal Orchestra’ is like a car. How it performs is controlled by the fuel mix you put in it.

• For a car, how it performs depends upon the fuel/air mix.
• For a human body, and especially fat cells, how they behave depends upon the response to the fuel mix of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and alcohol.

A car has a computerized engine management system to precisely control the mix. Your body has a different system that’s far more complicated, and just as cars have different fuel needs, so do different people.

Do NOT blame yourself or others for being overweight.

2. It’s NOT About Calories


Let’s explain what we mean by ‘It’s not about calories.’ We’ve all been told that weight loss is simply about ‘energy used vs energy burned’ or ‘calories in vs calories out’ or ‘eating less and exercising more’. It’s called the Energy Balance theory.

I’m sure you have seen a slim person who eats loads of food and drink?

Have you ever seen an overweight person exercise every day and not lose any weight? It’s all about how your body uses calories and every body uses calories slightly differently:

  1. Some people are great at burning sugar and storing fat. They constantly struggle with their weight and crave sweet foods and drinks. Their energy levels and concentration are constantly going up and down.
  2. Some lucky people are natural fat-burners. They have constant energy, no cravings and their weight is stable without effort. 3. Some people are a mix of #1 and #2.

The good news is that you are not stuck with how your body uses calories. Everybody who is like #1 can move towards being a #2 if they do what’s necessary to change how their body uses calories (oops kilojoules).

Calories do count but with the right plan for your body, you do not have to count calories.

3. It’s NOT About Exercise


Already you might have been saying to yourself something like: “I’m going to start exercising – or exercising more.” If you are going to exercise, or exercise more, that’s GREAT! It’s especially great for your health and how you feel – how you feel about yourself both physically and emotionally.

But despite common beliefs, the research is very clear that exercise for weight loss does not work. There is NO evidence that shows conclusively that if people who carry excess weight add extra exercise, they’ll lose weight.

Even the new Amercian Dietary Guidelines (2013) suggested that an overweight person would have to exercise for 90 minutes 7 days a week! Despite reviewing thousands of research papers, they did not provide any evidence that exercise would work.

Don’t get the point wrong… We are not saying you should not exercise. We’re just saying that it doesn’t work for weight loss.

Changing Beliefs, we used to believe (with total conviction) that: “Exercise leads to weight loss”. We actually believe losing weight leads to exercise.

If you lose weight, you are more likely to exercise and be more physically active every day.

4. It’s NOT About Fat


Have you heard people refer to ‘Fattening Foods’ or ‘Fatty Foods’?

The assumption is that if a food contains fat, then it is ‘fattening’. This sounds sensible and intuitive. It’s based upon experiments where pure carbohydrate, pure protein, pure fat and pure alcohol were each burned in a controlled furnace called a ‘Bomb Calorimeter’.

They were all burned to ash and it was discovered that:

  • 1 gram of carbohydrate yields 5 calories
  • 1 gram of protein yields 5 calories
  • 1 gram of fat yields 10 calories
  • 1 gram of alcohol yields 7 calories

And so:

  • knowing that 1 gram of fat yields more than double the energy of 1 gram of carbohydrate or 1 gram of protein, and
  • assuming that what happens in the Bomb Calorimeter is the same that happens in the human body, and
  • believing that weight loss is all about ‘energy in versus energy out’… it would make intuitive sense to restrict fats and any foods that have a high fat content or are cooked in fats.

However, a comprehensive literature review could find no evidence that eating fat stimulates fat storage.

And… just recently a study reported that kids drinking low-fat skim milk were more likely to put on weight than kids drinking full fat milk. Go figure!

Answer! Your body is NOT a Bomb Calorimeter. Your body doesn’t burn foods down to ash.

How your body metabolizes, uses and stores carbohydrates, proteins and fats differs from how another person’s might.

More and more research studies are suggesting that dietary fat (in isolation) is not the villain it’s been made out to be.

There are definitely fats that are healthier to eat and fats to avoid. However ‘fat’ does not stimulate the hormones that stimulate fat storage.

6. It’s NOT About Dieting


Think of a close friend with whom you enjoy relaxing. Imagine that today you both go to the beach and lie in the sun without protection. Could one of you tolerate more sun exposure than the other before getting burnt?

You can guess this without going to the beach.

Just roll up your sleeves and compare your forearm with a friend’s forearm. Looking at their skin and yours, could you guess which one of you has a greater sun tolerance?

If you are the one with the lower sun tolerance, is there anything (other than covering up) that you can do to change your skin’s sun tolerance?

It is the same with your diet (what you consume each day). Your body and your friend’s body have differences in the way that they respond to different foods and amounts.

If you have two people eating the same ‘healthy diet’, one might gain weight and one might lose weight. ‘Dieting’ is generally regarded as a concept where everyone is told that the only thing that works is to ‘eat less and exercise more’.

We know that this is not correct for everybody. The challenge is to determine what foods and healthy eating pattern work best for your body. You don’t want to go through life not knowing.

6. Setting unrealistic goals


Have you noticed the front covers on magazines? Gina loses 20 kilos in 10 weeks! Hollywood stars diet secrets! New plan blasts your butt! If you take these seriously they can actually set you up for failure.

Here’s what happens: 1. “Ok, so drinking green juice daily worked for my friend, then it must (or might) work for me.” (You’re optimistic.) 2. “Even I’m consuming all that celery juice I feel terrible and miss food!” (You realise it’s not going to work.) 3. “Its only day 3 and I’ve already ate something bad” (So You feel like you’ve failed – again.)

Let’s get serious about your goals.

Write down what has been your best weight in the past 5 years. Although you may wish to lose more, if you could achieve this and avoid putting any back on for at least three months, would that be a positive and worthwhile step for you?

Now think about this… If you only lost 500 g a week (that’s 1 kg a fortnight), but consistently, it would mean by this time next year you would be 26 kilograms slimmer! And so, whether you even wish to lose 26 kg, would you be happy with this slow but steady rate of weight loss?

7. The Cost of Doing Nothing

Has your weight increased over the past 10 years, 5 years or past year? If Yes – you might have thought you knew why it has increased. After reading 5 Diet Myths, you may be starting to question your previous assumptions and beliefs.

Now ask yourself these 7 tough questions. (Nobody is going to see your answers. Be honest.

Write your answers down.)

  1. If I keep doing what I have been doing, is it likely my weight will keep increasing? Yes / No
  2. If I put on (___) kilos in the past year, is it possible I could put on the same extra kilos by this time next year? Yes / No
  3. How would that affect my health?
  4. How would that affect my work
  5. How would that affect my relationships?
  6. How would that affect how I look?
  7. How would that affect how I feel about myself?

Answering these questions will help you to have a much better and achievable perspective for your weight loss journey.


Remember to never give up, because if it was easy everybody would have rocking hot body! So take on the challenge.

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