5 Weight Loss Myths to Stop Believing

athlete measuring waist

When it comes to shedding those last couple pounds, we often get desperate and cheat our way out of fulfilling our weight loss goals. There are tons of myths circulating out there about how you can drop weight overnight with some simple shortcut, but these quick fixes are often detrimental to your health. Here are 5 of the most popular weight loss myths you should look out for as you continue to work towards your goals!

>> Read more: 11 Weight Loss Rules You Can Cheat On

1. Carbs will make you gain weight. While carb-cutting may seem like the answer when it comes to slimming down, there’s a great deal of confusion over whether carbs actually make you pack on unwanted weight! Carbs do occasionally cause you to retain water weight, because they trigger the binding of water molecules in the body, but the right carbs can actually help you lose weight. Complex carbs like whole grains, brown rice, veggies and legumes are full of fiber, which promote digestion and provide energy. Just keep your eye out for simple carbs, like refined sugars, sodas and candies. Those are the dreaded carbs that serve as the foundation for love handles!

2. Cheating on your diet is off limits. Actually, throwing in the occasional cheat day (or meal) may help kickstart your metabolism and help you burn more calories. Varying your diet and keeping your metabolism guessing is a surefire way to guarantee that your daily meals don't become too routine or stale. No one is going to stick with a diet if they are never allowed to indulge in their favorite treats once in a while! Just remember that moderation is key. Don't go out and eat an entire large pizza just because you're craving cheese. Keeping those urges under control is essential to the weight loss process.

pizza

3. Using your scale is the best way to track weight loss. While weighing yourself once or twice a week can be a great way to keep you on track, there are a lot of pitfalls when it comes to relying on a scale to predict your progress. A scale fails to take into consideration a variety of factors that contribute to your weight, such as water consumption, muscle gain, fat loss, the time of day you choose to way yourself, and so on. There are a variety of other effective methods out there that monitor your weight loss, like measurements, tracking your BMI and even noting how your clothes fit.

4. Low-fat and fat-free foods are better for you. Unfortunately all those low-calorie, sugar-free, fat-free foods that are constantly being advertised aren't always the best option! Think about that low-fat baked good you always reach for at your favorite coffee shop. Sure, you might shave off 100 or so calories by picking it over the full fat version, but that "healthy" treat is packed with added sugar, flour, salt and other not-so-healthy additives in an attempt to make it taste like the real thing. Make sure you're checking the nutrition label before you chow down!

nutrition facts label

5. Skipping meals will help you lose weight. We cannot stress how untrue this is! Sure, you opt out of lunch for a couple days, and the next time you hop on the scale, voila! You've lost 2 pounds. Skipping meals is not conducive to long-term weight loss. You wouldn't stop drinking water just to avoid water weight, would you (the answer should be no!)? The problem with skimping on meals is that people who try to starve themselves during the day wind up splurging later on that evening. You're sitting on the couch after dinner, eyeing that tray of brownies on the counter, and your rationale is well, I didn't eat lunch, so one little brownie won't hurt. One little brownie frequently becomes two or three little brownies (of empty calories), so make sure that you're eating frequent, nutritious meals and snacks throughout the day!

>> Learn more: Counting Calories: How Many Should You Really Eat To Lose Weight?

Want to learn about more weight loss myths? Check out these sources: MyFitnessPal, Women's Health Magazine, and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.