For all the information that’s available about dieting and exercise, we still have a lot of misconceptions about weight loss. Sometimes, the research and studies about weight loss even contradict each other.
I read a study that said you have to burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound. It has since been found that there are many variables that can affect weight loss, including age, weight, height, sex and body fat.
The biggest problem we have as Americans is that we want a quick fix and instant gratification. However, there is no magic way to lose weight and maintain it. The best results are achieved when you find balance in all areas of your life and achieve a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, eating right, reducing stress, getting plenty of sleep, breaking bad habits and setting goals for success.
Here are 9 myths about weight loss and the facts that will help you live a healthier lifestyle:
Myth: Snacking is always bad for you.
The idea that you shouldn’t eat between meals is a myth. The problem with snacking is that you may be making poor food choices. Grabbing something from a vending machine will most likely be a fattening treat. The fact is that snacking between meals may actually help you eat less. The key is to eat nutritious foods – such as a moderate amount of fruits, vegetables, nuts or yogurt. Snacking can also keep you from overeating because you won’t feel like you’re starving when you finally eat a meal.
Myth: The secret to weight loss is removing one type of food from your diet.
Any diet plan that removes a specific food – or requires that you to focus on one type of food – will fail in the long run. You may have tried to cut fat, carbs, dairy or gluten. You may lose weight initially because you are eating fewer calories, but eventually you will replace it with something else. The key is to eat a balanced diet of all sorts of healthy foods.
Myth: Eat breakfast to lose weight.
This myth isn’t completely black and white. While I do believe that breakfast helps jump start your metabolism and allows you to begin the day feeling full and satisfied, it depends on what you eat. A bowl of oatmeal with fruit and a piece of whole-wheat toast will satisfy your hunger without loading on calories. A full breakfast of eggs, bacon, hash browns, toast and orange juice will jump up your daily calorie intake.
Myth: Everyone gains and loses weight the same way.
Studies of twins have shown that people gain and lose weight in different ways. Some people gain weight more easily than others, while some must work harder than the average person to burn it off. Try not to compare your weight loss efforts and success to someone else. Each person should set his or her own expectations and plans for losing weight.
Myth: All carbs are bad.
While eliminating all bread won’t help you magically shed weight, changing the type of bread you eat may help. There are good carbs and bad carbs. While all bread is high in calories, white bread doesn’t offer much nutrition. Whole-grain bread is high in fiber and provides more nutritional value. You can also enjoy the carbs found in fruits, vegetables, beans and other whole grains.
Myth: No more fast food.
You can still eat fast food and lose weight. It’s about portion control and making healthy choices. You can get a salad, grilled chicken, whole grain tacos or flat bread. Ask for sauces or dressings on the side, or scrape them off as much as you can.
Myth: Eating fat makes you fat.
Once again, it comes down to the type of fat. Some fat is actually food for you. Animal fat and saturated fat have been linked to weight gain and health problems, such as heart disease and high cholesterol. On the other hand, monounsaturated fats, like olive oil, have been found to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Myth: Don’t eat before bed.
It’s not eating before bed that is an issue – it’s what you eat before bed that may cause a problem. We tend to grab unhealthy snacks, like cookies, cake, ice cream or movie theater butter popcorn late at night. It comes down to how many calories you eat each day. Snacking before bed is fine if you make healthy, low calorie choices.
Myth: Just exercise and you’ll shed pounds.
Cutting calories by adjusting what you eat is the best way to lose weight. However, many of us think that because we exercise we can eat whatever we want. In addition, exercising may make you more hungry and then you eat more. Exercise alone won’t make you drop pounds. Keep in mind that drinking a can of soda can be 140 calories. It takes 30 minutes of moderate walking to burn it off. The best option is a healthy, lower calorie diet with regular aerobic exercise, strength training and stretching.
When it comes to diet and exercise, the one thing you can count on is new weight loss schemes coming out every day. The secret to losing weight and maintaining it is finding the right balance between exercise and healthy eating that works for you!