We’re all built differently, so why aim for someone else’s ideal shape? Get back your self-esteem and motivation with these debunked weight loss myths.
Myth 1: My ideal weight was when I graduated college, or before I had kids.
If you’re hoping to get back to what you weighed a few years ago, fine. But if you’re looking at 10 or more years down memory lane, stop. Many people put on weight as they get older, and a slower metabolism makes it all the harder to slim down as easily or as quickly as you did in the past. Don’t live in the past! Set a goal that works for the way you live now.
Myth 2: I’ll find my ideal weight on a standard height and weight chart.
Many factors play a role in determining your weight, such as your body type, the number of fat cells you have, how muscular you are, et cetera. The numbers on a standard body mass index (BMI) chart are just approximations, and may not be the best gauge of good health. Studies show they may undercount some women as overweight by not measuring body fat and overcount others who have a higher ratio of muscle to fat.
Myth 3: My ideal weight is the lowest number I’ve hit on past diets.
The fact that you’re dieting again means that you’ve gained some, if not all, of the weight back. If you set a weight-loss goal that’s too low to maintain, you’ll get caught in an unhealthy vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting. Such repeated weight loss and regaining can alter your body composition, lowering the amount of muscle mass you have. This, in turn, can slow your metabolism and lower your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar. So what’s your best weight goal? The one you can actually live with.
Myth 4: The less I weigh, the healthier I’ll be.
Not true. In fact, many studies show that if you’re overweight, losing just 5 to 10 percent of your current weight is all you have to do to reap the bulk of the health benefits associated with weight loss: lower risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer.