How do we know what we know? Often, our knowledge comes through repetition and stories. In childhood, we call them fairy tales or bedtime stories. However, as adults these myths can be harmful when we start making decisions based on inaccurate information. Here are ten dieting myths to watch out for:
1. MYTH: Skipping meals helps to lose weight.
a. TRUTH: If you like self sabotage, try it out!
Eating fewer calories than your minimum metabolic need causes your body to burn muscle and store fat. This is called the ‘Starvation Metabolism’ response. Dieters often regain the weight they lose almost immediately because their body becomes a “fat-storing machine. For success, maintain healthy eating habits.
2. MYTH: Cutting calories helps you lose weight.
a. TRUTH: That can actually hurt you.
Cut your calories below 1,200 a day, and you’ll decrease your metabolism and lose muscle mass. To get the most out of the calories you do eat, choose whole foods such as produce, fresh meat and fish, and whole grains that are as close to their natural state as possible. These pack more nutrients into fewer calories
3. MYTH: Cutting carbohydrates helps you lose weight.
a. TRUTH: Not if you want to feel healthy.
Carbohydrate are actually great sources of energy! But like fats, some are better than others. Look for complex, instead of simple carbs. I’m not talking about whole wheat either – try whole grain alternatives to get the wheat germ and oils necessary for good health. Deprivation can lead to short-term effects such as fatigue, constipation and irritability; long term, you could be putting yourself at risk for heart disease and colon cancer.
4. MYTH: There’s a diet out there that will work for me!
a. TRUTH: Diets are fads.
There is always some new fad diet popping up, leading many into the “yo-yo” diet pitfall. Each time you try another diet you lose less weight, and when you go off it, you gain back more than you lost. It is a trap, pure and simple.
5. MYTH: My weight problem is genetic/metabolic/biochemical/psychological
a. TRUTH: More times than not, it’s a simple problem of willpower or self-control.
While there are some exceptions, too many people embrace the theory that their bodies, rather than their own behavior are to blame for unwanted weight gain. Permanent weight loss requires a commitment to a physically active and nutritionally conscious lifestyle.
6. MYTH: Losing weight means deprivation
a. TRUTH: Not with balance & moderation
Extreme sacrifices are frustrating and cause failure. With healthy foods, a slow and deliberate pace will get you used to a less sugar laden and intense taste. It also avoids having the body purge toxins too fast. Try a wide variety of delicious and healthy foods.
7. MYTH: I’ll only put the weight straight back on.
a. TRUTH: Not with nutritious food and an active, balanced lifestyle.
Healthy lifestyle changes require a consistent commitment. Don’t start fast and putter to a stop. Set short term, realistic goals. Don’t give up with minor setbacks. Your body will go through changes as you put it through its paces, but in the end, you’ll have success.
8. MYTH: Fat Free is calorie free!
a. TRUTH: Yeah right…
Fat-free means less taste, which leaves one common ingredient manufacturers use to make products taste better – sugar. This also means more calories when consumed in excess.
9. MYTH: Vegetarian or Vegan diets are healthiest when losing weight.
a. TRUTH: Not…
Eating rice and french-fries, or bananas and cheerios can be considered vegetarian, but neither is healthy. Vegan or vegetarian diets must be managed carefully, because of missing nutrients. The body needs a varied diet, one which provides many nutrients in a variety of forms, including meat.
10. Myth: Either diet or exercise. Don’t do both simultaneously!
a. The Truth: Get real…
Doing both together is referred to as Synergy, which is the coordination of two effective components working concurrently to derive a greater benefit than if isolated. In other words, keep your diet properly balanced, and exercise regularly.
So there you go. If you want to shed those extra pounds, do yourself a favor and stop listening to myths. The application of sound reasoning is always the shortest route to success.