Debunking Obesity Myths: Cause or Effect?

6 min readJan 28, 2022

By Dr. Ryan C. Warner

Obesity Myths: Cause or Effect (Image Source: Shutterstock)

The world is facing an unprecedented health crisis due to weight gain. Obesity myths and other fake news have made it harder to find the best solutions. Regular people need useful information so they can take control of their bodies and live a healthy lifestyle.

Obesity is linked to various health conditions, including but not limited to heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. These are among the leading causes of preventable, premature death. However, it is important to understand that individuals with obesity are at higher risk for these types of conditions, but obesity may not be the direct cause.

Overcoming obesity can be difficult, and putting up with body-shaming makes it even harder. Keep reading to learn how to debunk the myths of obesity and make the struggle a little bit easier.

Weight Loss

The most dangerous health concern facing the world today is a result of something prior generations dreamed about: having too much food. It’s easy to think that increased access to food is the extent of the problem, but in reality, obesity involves a lot of separate and complicated issues.

Too many people think they can use willpower to lose weight, but you can’t force your way into good health. We have billions of years of evolution telling us to eat everything we can and pack on weight. Fighting that conditioning head-on isn’t something the vast majority of people can do.

Dietitians Debunk 18 Weight Loss Myths │ Science Insider

Losing weight depends on why you gained the weight in the first place. Lifestyle choices might be to blame, but sometimes the bad lifestyle comes after the weight gain. For many people, hormones, disease, and personal relationships have more to do with gaining and losing weight. A persistent lack of sleep is an important factor that is often overlooked, for example. When you’re not fully rested, it’s harder to remain focused and have self-control.

When you are trying to get healthy, it’s often better to focus on losing inches but not pounds. As you build muscle and lose fat, your waistline will shrink but the scale may not go down. This is very good news! It is a sign that you’re getting healthier and is cause for excitement and celebration. Muscle burns fat and helps you sculpt your body in aesthetically pleasing ways. The illusion that you’re not making progress is also temporary. If you keep it up, your muscle gains will taper off and your fat losses will accelerate. This will lead you to getting into better shape and will help you look your best, too.

What Is Obesity?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) define obesity as having a body mass index (BMI) that is above 30. This number isn’t the end of the story, however. BMI is just a screening tool used to identify people who are at risk of adverse health impacts due to their weight.

What is Obesity? — Mia Nacamulli │ TED-Ed

Insulin and other hormones are also responsible for how the body manages nutrition. Health conditions like diabetes and thyroid diseases, among others, can be responsible for weight gain as well. For some individuals, addressing the underlying disease or condition is more important than focusing on weight. In fact, once the underlying condition is under control, many people see their weight fall back to a healthy level.

Your overall health and wellness are impacted by a lot more than just your weight. In fact, focusing on your weight may be the wrong thing to do. Developing a more comprehensive understanding of general health, genetics, and obesity can help. Once you get any underlying health conditions under control, you can put more focus into changing your lifestyle. In many cases, once the health conditions clear up, your lifestyle will almost change by itself.

Beat Obesity Myths and Take Control of Your Life

Obesity is a common, serious, and costly disease, so it’s important to debunk the myths and get your facts straight. Here are the three biggest myths:

First, poor lifestyle choices are the most common excuse for the increase in obesity. However, there are many aspects that may also contribute to the development of the condition. For example, insulin resistance, genetics, stress, and other emotional factors all play important roles when it comes to obesity. Other hormones like cortisol and ghrelin have a large impact, too.

When these things get out of control, food addiction can set in and make it impossible for you to effectively manage your weight.

Helpful strategies include incorporating whole foods diets, low carbohydrate diets, ketogenic diets, zero-carb carnivore diets, intermittent fasting, and strength training. It’s important to remember that these dietary changes do not have to be punishing, bland, or free from treats. You can eat delicious foods and still keep your insulin under control. I recommend talking to your doctor or a certified nutritionist about how changing what you eat and how you eat it can help.

The second most common obesity myth is that exercising more will solve all your problems. More doesn’t always mean better. Consulting with your doctor will help you find out how much exercise is appropriate for you.

Obesity Myth: Exercising More Will Solve All Your Problems. (Image Source: Shutterstock)

The third most common myth may also be the most damaging: Body shaming is often seen as a motivation to lose weight. The opposite is more likely true.

When shameful messages are internalized, they may contribute to feelings of hopelessness, despair, and powerlessness. This makes it less likely, not more, for people to feel capable of making effective changes to their lifestyle.

Shame doesn’t motivate prosocial behaviors; it fuels social withdrawal and low self-esteem.

Building a Better You

When you try to improve your lifestyle choices, instead of trying to be “perfect,” I suggest you aim for “better.” When you strive for perfection, you will always fall short. We can strive to be better, and we can try to do better, but nobody’s perfect, so don’t set yourself up for disappointment.

One small change you can make right now is to upgrade your cooking methods with an air fryer like the Instant Vortex. Air frying is a popular, delicious way to prepare heart-smart and low-calorie meals without using excessive amounts of oils and fats.

Improve Your Lifestyle Choices, Instead of Trying To Be “Perfect” (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Small, easy projects like this can add up quickly. If you make your goals realistic and strive to improve little by little, day by day, you will be more likely to progress. Meeting realistic goals may not be exciting, but it does feel good. It improves your motivation and fills you with a sense of confidence and personal empowerment. When you feel strong and in control of your life, you’ll be less tempted to indulge in emotional eating.

I recommend you make one small commitment today and follow through. The further you go down this path, the healthier you will be and the better you will feel. Why not start right now?

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