There are plenty of reasons to lose weight: to increase confidence, improve overall health, or help decrease the risk of certain medical issues, for example. When it comes to dieting, however, there are safe ways to go about it and ways that can cause serious damage to your body over time. By avoiding these three dangerous diet myths and opting for healthy alternatives instead, you’ll find that you’ll be in a much better position to lose weight safely and without compromising your health.
Myth 1: Excessive Calorie Restriction
You must burn around 3,500 calories in order to lose a single pound of weight–and that number, like many things in the weight loss world, isn’t perfect. Most dieters know that the number of calories they expend has to be larger than the number of calories they take in for them to successfully lose weight. Unfortunately, some dieters take this tactic to extremes, dangerously limiting calories in an effort to lose weight faster. This can lead to a host of problems:
- You’ll lose muscle mass
- Changes in metabolism as it shuts down
- Your energy drops
- You may not meet your nutrient needs
Drastically cutting calories can also create the potential for eating disorders, which can become life-threatening. Note that if you do suffer from an eating disorder, getting help from a facility like Center for Change is the best way to heal your body and develop healthier habits.
The Healthy Alternative: Instead of embarking on a dangerous calorie-restrictive diet, try creating lifestyle changes that will lead to much better long-term results. Look into healthy eating. Commit to creating a calorie deficit that will allow you to lose weight over time instead of trying to do it all at once.
Myth 2: Over Exercising
You know that exercise is a vital part of any successful weight loss program. Regular exercise, in fact, can help you improve your overall health and substantially impact your energy levels every day. Taken to extremes, however, your exercise program can cause serious damage to your body: damage to your heart, among others. Not only that, extreme exercise can cause dehydration, increase your risk of injury, and even stress your body to the point of making you ill more often.
The Healthy Alternative: Exercise in moderation is always better than over-doing it! Pick a form of exercise that you love and listen to your body. If you start to get exhausted, feel yourself getting dehydrated, or have other common problems, it’s time to stop and rest.
Myth 3: Taking Pills and Supplements
There are always going to be people who try to take shortcuts. They don’t want to diet, they don’t want to exercise, but weight loss supplements look like the ideal solution. While there are some supplements–green tea extract, for example–that can make it easier to lose weight naturally, supplements can also cause substantial harm to your body. In addition to increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke, diet pills can make you moody and irritable, upset your stomach as they block the absorption of vital nutrients, and even result in addiction.
The Healthy Alternative: Stick out your exercise routine and make lifestyle changes that will allow you to lose weight over time. Weight loss pills might seem like a great short-term solution, but they can cause long-term issues with your health that just aren’t worth it!
The human body is naturally designed to hold on to fat. It’s an evolutionary survival tool–and it’s one that can be incredibly difficult to manage into today’s appearance-obsessed world, where fast food is available inexpensively on every corner and sweet snacks are more readily accessible than healthy foods. Healthy diet and exercise are the only reliable keys to weight loss success–and if you want to get healthier, not just skinnier, they’re the only way to make it happen.