January 20, 2017

10 Myths That Obese People Believe And How To Overcome Them

By Dr. Scott Saunders, M.D.
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Obesity by Flickr Pam Tremble (pwsammy)

Being a doctor and working with people for over 20 years, trying to help them get healthy, has given me a different perspective on obesity.  I think I have heard every excuse in the book.  Because of this, I no longer tell people what they want to hear, but rather I tell them the truth.

The truth about your obesity begins by finding out the reason for overeating.

Your own personal reason for indulging in food may be different from anyone else.  In dealing with obesity, it is important to understand why you are overweight.  If you don’t deal with this issue, you will not be successful in your efforts to lose weight.

In one case, a woman came in to see me saying she wanted to get off of her diabetes medications because they took away all of her energy.  I explained to her that since she weighed over 250 pounds, the fat would prevent her from achieving her goal of going off medication and we would have to deal with the extra weight first.

She came in faithfully every two weeks for over a year, but didn’t lose a single pound.  She said she was doing everything I suggested, but it just wasn’t working.  Finally, in frustration, I dropped my head into my hands and questioned, more to myself, “Why aren’t you losing weight?”

She timidly answered, “Because I don’t want to.”  Amazed, I looked up and asked, “Why not?”  She went on to explain that she had seen a man on TV who had lost a hundred pounds and they showed his skin hanging down from his arms, legs and abdomen.  “I don’t want to look like that!” she blurted out in tears.

Another woman who wasn’t losing weight on a supposed 500 calorie per day diet offered that she kept the fat on to keep people away.  “I don’t want to get close to people and risk getting hurt. The fat is a very effective way to keep my distance.”  This distance included her family and friends.  She was sabotaging her own efforts on multiple diets over years because of her emotional fears.

10 Common Myths about Overcoming Obesity

Over the years, I have collected some of the most common myths that obese people believe that prevent them from getting healthy.  Many of them are actually touted in the media – or even by mainstream doctors!

Myth #1 – Exercise can make you skinny

This is a huge myth.  If this were true, then Sumo wrestlers would be thin!  They exercise all day, every day, and are able to maintain over a hundred pounds of fat because they eat over six pounds of rice per day.  They get up in the middle of the night to eat rice and maintain their weight.  Many believe they can eat what they want and just exercise more to “burn up the calories” and prevent weight gain.

We were told that a calorie is a calorie, and

(calories in) – (calories out) = (stable weight)

Not true!  If you don’t curb your calorie intake, exercise can actually make more fat deposits in your body.  Don’t get me wrong, exercise is important for maintaining health and strength, but just don’t believe the myth that you can lose fat by exercising.

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Myth #2 – Eating less fat causes weight loss

Another common myth is that low-fat diets cause weight loss This false idea was started over thirty years ago, creating a society-wide experiment.  The truth is as people eat less fat, they eat more carbohydrates.

In fact, since the 1970s, sugar consumption has gone up dramatically! Now, the average American eats his weight in sugar every year, up from about 30 pounds per person!  This has caused an epidemic of obesity, as well as diabetes.  Over 60% of the population is obese and about 1/5 of the entire population is either diabetic or pre-diabetic!  Low-fat diets don’t lower body fat.

Myth #3 – Low thyroid causes weight gain

I am amazed by the sheer number of people who still believe that they are overweight because of a “thyroid problem.”  Weight loss clinics in the 1980s that gave people high-doses of thyroid hormone were surprisingly unsuccessful.  Multiple studies on the effects of thyroid on weight have failed to find a connection – and yet the myth persists.  There are many medical doctors and other practitioners that perpetuate this myth, telling people, “It’s not your fault, it’s your thyroid.”  They are then given thyroid hormones to take, but don’t lose weight.

Myth #4 – Don’t look at the scale!

When people refuse to allow my office staff to weigh them, then I know there is a deeper problem.  These are the people who don’t want to look at where they know they want to be.  They feel they will get discouraged if they find out they are not losing weight or if their efforts are in vain.

Not looking at the scale when you are trying to lose weight is like getting on to the plane and hearing the pilot say, “We’re not sure where we’re going and our fuel gage isn’t working, so we’ll just see what happens.”  I don’t know about you, but I’d get right off of that plane!

I find the real reason people don’t want to know how much they weigh is because

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