Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Create a USDA Weight-loss Plan


Weight-loss Truths and Misconceptions

Weight-loss plans can be extremely difficult to stick to, especially with the growing number of fads and bogus products that are advertised around every corner. One way to ensure that you stick to your weight-loss plan is to fully understand how weight is lost and gained. If you know all of the facts, you’ll be much less likely to stray outside of your plan or try to take shortcuts.

Everybody thinks that they know the best way to lose weight and, because tall tales spread quickly, there are many common misconceptions about how to lose weight properly. But most people's weight-loss plans are ineffective, and some of them can actually make you gain weight. But if you’re having trouble shedding unwanted pounds with diet and exercise, there may be another factor in the equation that is keeping you from reaching your goal.

One major misconception about weight loss is that skipping meals is a great way to cut calories and lose weight. While skipping a meal, such as breakfast, will cut down on your caloric intake, it can also slow down your metabolic rate, which is the rate at which your body converts calories into energy. So even though the number of calories you ingest in a day may decrease, your body will not be able to convert all of the other calories into energy as quickly as it would have if you had eaten a light breakfast.  

It’s also important to avoid weight-loss products that make it seem like an easy process. Losing weight is not something that just happens magically; it takes a lot of effort, so be wary of anything that guarantees results without diet and exercise. Topical creams and body wraps may seem like groundbreaking developments in weight-loss technology but that’s just what advertisers want you to think. There’s a lot more money to be made in product sales than there is in providing people with the truth—that diet and exercise is the only path towards healthy weight loss.

One modern cause of weight-loss difficulty is the rising popularity of antidepressants like Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil, which can cause weight gain in some people. Studies have shown that antidepressants can decrease a patient’s metabolic rate as well as cause hormonal changes that can increase appetite. So, if you’re taking an antidepressant and you’re having trouble controlling your weight with diet and exercise, remember that you’re not doing anything wrong. It’s just a side effect of the medication and may not be related to the effectiveness of your weight-loss efforts.