There are a lot of myths about weight loss and dieting that have been circulating for years. These myths—things we’ve all come to take as true over the years but are in fact worthless—can derail diets and keep people from maintaining their weight and health goals.
- Eat six small meals a day. I want to debunk the myth that our bodies become more efficient when we eat small meals throughout the day. In fact, by eating virtually all day long, you’re setting up other problems. Frequent snacking and the “eat-6” rule exhaust the digestive system and teach you to eat when you’re not hungry. In addition, according to a University of Ottawa study, there is no advantage to splitting your caloric intake among six meals daily rather than three.
If you want to eat six small meals a day because you believe there are health benefits—and your little meals were truly small enough that by the time for the next meal you are genuinely hungry—that’s fine.
But the chance of you being truly hungry just isn’t that great when you’re eating so many meals, no matter the size. Then there is the mental conditioning component: having six meals a day makes you focus on food too many times during the day. This isn’t beneficial if we want to be released from the psychological stronghold food has over us.
- Don’t eat past 7 p.m. While it’s true that our bodies metabolically slow down as we approach bedtime, my mom (five foot x and 120 pounds) and my aunt (five foot three inches tall and 98 pounds) don’t eat dinner at night until 8. They can’t eat earlier because of their work schedules. Yet eating later hasn’t negatively impacted their weight. I, who struggle with eating, eat around 4:45 pm and don’t eat a bite after that, yet I am not as skinny as they are.
The bottom line is: trust your stomach. If it’s growling and you’re hungry at 7:30, go ahead and eat.
- Drink eight glasses of water a day. / Drink your weight in water.
- If you wait till you’re thirsty to drink, you’re already dehydrated.
I’ve fallen for the hype myself about drinking more water. The idea that you can never drink too much water is simply not true. In fact, it’s a big health problem. Nausea, vomiting, headache, and mental confusion/disorientation have been observed in people who over-hydrate. Drinking too much water can set up a dangerous electrolyte imbalance and upset your metabolism. I suggest you consult your primary care physician about how much water to safely consume on a daily basis. Or if you prefer to get your information online, two excellent and reputable sources are WebMD and MayoClinic.com
In the summer of 2016, the New York Times came out with a report that said there was “no science” behind the myth of needing to drink eight glasses of water a day, explaining how the myth got started in the first place.
God has fashioned our bodies in an amazing way. When our bodies need more water, we get thirsty. But if we chug a gallon of water, we’ll feel nauseous and lightheaded. Obviously, this isn’t a smart thing to do.
Finally, don’t drink water just to be drinking water. Instead, you need to retune your body by listening to the signals that God has already provided. When you’re thirsty, drink. When you’re hungry, eat.
The problem is, people aren’t listening. We aren’t in tune with what our bodies are telling us because our conscience has been seared. We have a hard time listening to our bodies because we’re so used to eating at times when we aren’t hungry, that we’ve lost that “signal.” We all need to listen to the internal cues that God has given us. A more comprehensive discussion on searing your conscience is covered in Chapter 4.