I’ve been a part of the “Dieting” community on Instagram for over 3 years now. It’s how I started all this and I have a lot to thank it for. Having been around for so long though, you tend to see the same dieting myths mentioned time and time again.
Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way saying I’m any kind of expert. I’m not a nutritionist, but I have learnt a bit over the years. It just amazes me how uneducated people are about how their body works. It’s basic science but even consultants for different diet plans aren’t taught about it.
The same statements seem to pop up constantly and I want, so desperately, to educate people. So let’s have a look into 5 of the dieting myths I see on a regular basis.
1. Muscle Weighs More Than Fat
This is by far the most annoying dieting myth I ever read. It’s said so often and I have heard it too many times at my old weightloss group. It makes me want to scream.
Nothing weighs more than anything else. A pound of fat is the same as a pound of muscle. The same as a pound of feathers is the same as a pound of rocks. Now visually imagine a pound of feathers and how many there would be in comparison to the pound of rocks. Its the same with muscle and fat.
Muscle is just denser so there is less of it. This is where exercise comes in to play. People who go to the gym or do muscle building exercise regularly will be swapping fat for muscle. Their weight will most likely not change, come off slower or they may even gain. The scales mean nothing, measurements are where it’s at in this situation. I see so many gym goers getting frustrated that they’re not losing weight but they haven’t taken measurements.
So next time Janet at group tells you “muscle weighs more than fat” please educate her that no, it doesn’t! Or point her in my direction.
2. “This diet works best”
No diet is best. It depends what works for you and at the end of the day, dieting companies are big businesses. They rely on people failing to keep weight off in order to earn money. It’s harsh, I know, but it’s true.
I did follow one of the big dieting plans to lose 4 stone. It taught me a lot about cooking and healthy eating but it also had me terrified. Terrified of foods that weren’t “on plan” and also terrified of gaining weight.
I decided to step away and I wrote about my reasoning HERE. But since I left it behind I’ve realised how restricted I actually was.
All diets work in the same way though; they create a calorie deficit. This means that you are burning more calories than you put into your body. Whether that be by counting “points” , eating “speed foods” or replacing meals with shakes. Each of the “plans” creates a deficit whether you realise it or not.
I understand that some people need more structure, I did!
3. You Can Gain 5lb Of Fat In 2 Days
This is actually physically impossible. It’s not fat, it’s more likely water retention. To gain 5lb in fat you would need to eat an extra 17,500 calories on top of your usual daily allowance.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’d give it a good go but I think I’d struggle eating that much.
I have “gained” 5lb in one weekend before but that weekend consisted of mainly takeaways and lots of alcohol. High salt content in food will dehydrate your body and cause…. Yep, water retention. I lost it again within a week.
Your body will naturally gain and lose up to 4lb in one day. So honestly, if the scales say you’re up by a pound or 2 and you don’t know why, don’t worry! It’s likely to just be a bit of extra water.
4. You Can’t Have A “Cheat” Meal
Seeing people being had a go at because they posted about “bad” food on Insta. Or even feeling ashamed because they ate 1 slice of pizza! This genuinely gets my back up!
As per the previous post, you need to eat a lot of extra calories to gain fat. One “bad” meal is actually not going to do that much damage.
I used to eat a large takeaway pizza each week and still lose weight. I’m not saying everyone can do that but I was always good for the rest of the week. You have to learn how your own body works. Everyone is different but it has been proven that a higher calorie meal each week CAN help you lose weight. It can kick start your metabolism which helps you burn calories.
There are arguments for and against cheat meals but honestly, stop beating yourself up over them! Life is still for living, even while losing weight.
5. Mashing Fruit Changes Its Structure
Well that’s not wrong. It does go from a solid to a mush and break down some fibres but that’s all that changes.
This is one particular dieting group that says this but it gets taken out of context a little.
Their idea is that mashed/blended fruit is less dense so easier to overeat. Fruit is higher in calories than vegetables so I can see where they’re coming from. You can easily drink 2 glasses of orange juice but you wouldn’t eat 6 oranges in one go.
People get so wrapped up in the fact “you mashed a banana!”…. Yes, but one mashed banana is the same amount of calories as a non-mashed banana and when you’re trying to lose weight, guess what matters… Calories!
You mash the bloody things with your teeth at the end of the day! Your stomach really knows no different.
I’ve seen it lately with oats too. Carol from group is saying “You can’t whizz oats to a flour in a blender and make pancakes with them, it changes the makeup of the oats!” Actually Carol, it’s the same as readybrek and has the same nutritional value, it’s just finer.
I think my point is, calories are calories. If you want to lose weight, create a deficit. Whichever way you choose. Just don’t hate on people for whichever way they want to try to do it. Whizz your oats, eat pizza but for God’s sake don’t ever tell anyone muscle weighs more than fat!
Is there any other dieting myths that drive you mad? Let me know in the comments below!