If you’ve watched television even once in the last 10 years, you’ll know what The Biggest Loser is.
It’s a “reality show”, and it consists of obese contestants exercising and eating less/healthier in order to lose weight. (It’s popular as heck.)
It’s a fun concept, and something I’m sure a lot of overweight or obese people look up to as inspiration for their own weight loss.
But, maybe they shouldn’t.
I watched an episode the other night (I was bored, OK…), and I instantly noticed that the weight loss methods used on these contestants would not work for your average person.
If your or I attempted weight loss à la “The Biggest loser”, we would either give up, become very unhealthy and sick, or die.
These are 5 weight loss myths “The Biggest Loser” wants you to believe:
#1: The myth that weight loss is easy
Weight loss is anything but easy.
In fact, I’d say it’s one of the hardest things you can do.
When you turn on the TV and see a group of 12 obese people all losing weight, you think that as long as you stick to your diet and exercise program, that you’ll lose weight too.
Which in itself is true; if you stick to a proven exercise and diet program, you will lose weight.
But what the show fails to make clear is that these contestants aren’t losing weight by themselves.
Every day they are woken up at a set time. They eat at a set time, and they eat a set amount. And then they exercise at a set time, at a set intensity, for a set duration.
There is no choice for them, no option to slack off; ultimately they are just going along for the ride.
And that’s where it will be different for you.
You don’t have a team of personal trainers and TV crew in your house forcing you to keep going.
The moment you decide it’s too hard or that you don’t want to exercise anymore, you can stop, and no-one will make you continue.
That’s the difference between The Biggest Loser and real life, and that is why you shouldn’t believe the myth that weight loss is easy.
(That being said, weight loss doesn’t have to be impossible. There are many awesome programs which make weight loss a lot easier.)
#2: The myth that weight loss is fast
When you have a TV program that shows you an obese man losing 100 pounds in 10 weeks, it gets you motivated for sure.
“100 pounds in 10 weeks!”, you think, “if he can do that, then so can I!”
You get this notion that you too can lose an obscene amount of weight in a tiny time period, and then when you give it a shot and only lose 5 pounds, you think “what the hell?”
And then you give up.
In reality, weight loss can be an incredibly slow process.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it, it absolutely is worth it, but it can sometimes take a bit of time.
And that’s OK.
There’s a quote I love by Earl Nightingale; “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”
So what if you can’t lose 10 pounds every week?
Hell, if you lost half a pound a week, that’d be 25 pounds in a year.
And that’s 25 pounds closer to your goal.
#3: The myth that you need to exercise like a maniac to lose weight
Do you really need to exercise for 2 hours every day to lose weight?
In fact, you can lose weight by doing no exercise at all. (And many, many people have.)
But there is a happy medium between doing no exercise and doing 2 hours every day.
Where is this happy medium?
It’s wherever you want it to be.
Basically, whatever amount of exercise you are willing and able to do is the right amount for you.
If you only have 15 minutes of spare time every day, and you plan to do a 2 hour workout, what do you think will happen?
Will you free up the two hours?
Maybe. But probably not.
Will you just do the 15 minutes you know you have free instead?
Again, you might. But probably not.
Chances are you’ll do nothing, because you’ll be telling yourself “I don’t have that much time to exercise!”
Instead of setting unachievable goals, evaluate how much free time you are willing and able to spend exercising, and then do that amount.
Obviously the more exercise you do the better, but don’t feel bad if you only start off doing 10 minutes a day.
10 minutes is better than 0 minutes, after all.
#4: The myth that you need to starve yourself to lose weight
All of the myths up until now have been rather harmless, but this one is not so innocent.
While the exact numbers cannot be verified, a former “Biggest Loser” contestant spoke out against the show, claiming that some of the contestants on the show were eating only 1200 calories a day (or less!)
For those of you who aren’t too familiar with calories, 1200 isn’t very many.
To put this in perspective, if my 17 year old sister – who is 5’0” and weighs roughly 90 pounds – were to consume 1200 calories a day, she would lose weight.
For fully grown adults, who are obese (thus requiring far more energy than my sister), 1200 calories a day is downright dangerous.
It’s so dangerous that they needed to have paramedics, doctors, nurses, etc. on standby while the contestants were exercising in case anything went wrong.
If you were to watch this and think that, “hey, they did it on TV, I can do it too!”, and then limit your calorie consumption to 1200, some very bad things could happen.
Too many bad things to mention in a single article, so just take my word for it; very low calorie diets are not the answer if you want to lose weight.
Instead, aim for around 500 calories less than your maintenance.
#5: The myth that you need a personal trainer to lose weight
In my opinion, there are only 3 things you need to do to lose weight:
- Eat healthier foods.
- Eat less food.
- And, exercise.
Do you need a personal trainer to do any of that?
Nope. You sure don’t.
The only time I’d ever recommend hiring a personal trainer is if you’re incredibly lazy and just can’t be bothered exercising.
In that situation a personal trainer would come in handy by keeping you accountable, and guilting you into coming to your gym sessions.
Nope. You don’t need a personal trainer.
What you do need is information.
Information about diet, exercise, motivation, etc., so you can make your own choices and follow your own weight loss path.
There are many, many websites on the internet that provide this kind of information (Burning Fitness included), so all you need to do is get searching.
Or, you can save your time and just join the Burning Fitness mailing list.
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