If there's one universal truth about weight loss, it's that there are a lot of different diets out there. And since there is no singular approach that works for everyone, trial and error is inevitable — which can lead to frustration.
"When diets 'fail,' people tend to turn on themselves as they start to feel inadequate or see themselves as the failure, despite starting something that was inevitable to fail," says Andreas Michaelides, PhD, chief of psychology and head of coaching at Noom. "People can be very hard on themselves when this happens, berating their failures, and feel guilty when they fall back into old habits."
To avoid this, it's important to find a plan that makes you feel empowered and educates you on the most effective weight-loss methods — like Noom, Michaelides says. "Noom isn't a diet in the traditional sense; it's a program that empowers users to make changes by equipping them with the right tools to do so," he says. The Noom toolkit includes a science-backed curriculum, a personal coach and a fully-loaded app with resources to help you monitor your progress when it comes to food and exercise.
And while there is no one right way to lose weight, there are a few wrong (either unsafe or ineffective) ways to go about weight loss. Here, Michaelides breaks down three common misconceptions.
Misconception 1: Weight Loss Is a Linear Process
Even if you're sticking to a diet religiously, your weight likely won't decrease consistently. "Plateaus are completely normal and frustrating, but they do not mean you are doing anything wrong or not making progress," Michaelides says. "Plateaus are multi-faceted and can be dependent on numerous factors, so the key here is to hold strong and focus on the non-scale victories you are achieving, like having more energy or feeling more confident in your favorite pair of jeans."
As part of the Noom plan, users weigh themselves every day in order to overcome scale anxiety and to get used to seeing slight or no fluctuations in their weight, Michaelides says. That way, if the number ticks up slightly, they won't be tempted to throw in the towel, and if it hasn't changed in a while, they can chat with their Noom coach for encouragement.
Misconception 2: Fad Diets Work
"Despite the widespread trend, we know it can be dangerous to cut out certain food groups," Michaelides says. "It is actually more important to focus on portion size rather than depriving yourself of a specific food or food group."
Beside not being sustainable long term, restrictive diets can be damaging both physically and psychologically, he says. Noom encourages users to make small changes over time and equips them to learn how to deal with setbacks.
Misconception 3: Weight Loss Should Happen Quickly
"Chances are, the weight you'd like to lose didn't appear overnight — losing it won't happen overnight either," Michaelides says. "At Noom, we encourage clients to focus on their holistic health, and celebrate small victories off the scale as well as on."
He suggests making thoughtful, attainable goals and thinking of each goal as a small building block — over time all your small successes can lead to big changes.
"If you're looking for a quick fix, or something extreme/restrictive, Noom might not be the place for you," Michaelides says. "Though extreme diets might result in faster short-term weight loss, that weight is often gained back just as quickly. Noom's focus is on creating a lifestyle change, so while the results aren't overnight, they are much more likely to stick." And that's the ultimate goal, right?