Cindy Meneghin struggles with her weight. Asked how many pounds she'd like to lose, Meneghin said, "Probably 25
to 30 would be a good weight for me."
New research shows many of the diets and exercise programs Meneghin has tried throughout her adult life don't work.
"You're always advised not to lose a lot of weight too fast, that it's going to be bad for you," said Dr. Diana Thomas, a professor at Montclair State University. "In fact, that doesn't appear to be true. Again,
from randomized control trials it seems the large weight loss at the beginning is better in the long run."
Thomas is one of the authors of a new report clearing up common obesity myths.
Another widespread misconception: If you make a small lifestyle change, like walking 20 minutes daily or eating two extra potato chips a day, it will add up to large long-term weight changes.
"You'll eventually plateau," Thomas said. "Even that initial weight gain is not going to be as big as predicted."
The report also says setting realistic goals does not impact weight loss and breastfeeding does not protect a child from obesity later in life.
The study also points out what does work: restricting calories to lose weight and exercise to keep it off.
Meneghin says the findings are reassuring.
"I've lived those myths and I've disproved them. I've lived the myth of exercise a little more and you'll lose weight. It didn't work for me," she said.
But she's hopeful she will find what works for her.
Researchers say a lot of the myths are based on flawed and outdated studies, but they persist because government websites and weight loss apps haven't kept up with the latest data.
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