People on and off the internet have a lot to say about weight loss. There are many myths so much that trying to find out whom to listen to can be overwhelming,and it’s difficult to be sure what’s true. One undeniable fact is that being overweight or obese can contribute to numerous health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. But losing the excess pounds is not rocket science and, unfortunately, there is no single solution that works for everybody. 24/7 Tempo consulted several nutritionists and fitness trainers to identify more than two dozen myths about weight loss that can actually result in weight gain. There is no denying that weight loss is hard work, whether you’re trying to get rid of 5 or 25 pounds. The key to long-term success is how you approach that goal and whether you manage to avoid some common myths. The short answer is that people should achieve weight loss in a safe, smart, and sustainable way, which usually involves not believing everything you read online and consulting with a professional. Eating a balanced diet is key, but not all foods and drinks are created equal – these are some “healthy” foods that are actually ruining your diet.
Exercise is enough
It’s hard for some people to accept that they have to work out for weight loss, but it’s equally hard to convince those who think exercise is all it takes to lose weight that exercise is a relatively small part in weight loss. “In reality, it’s more like 80% nutrition and 20% exercise,” said Susan Fink, a personal trainer in Los Angeles. People underestimate how much they eat and overestimate how much they exercise, she added. “They think they burn a lot more calories than they actually do.” This makes them think it’s OK to eat more, and the result is no weight loss at all or even weight gain, she noted.
Eating late at night is bad
Many people have heard the myth that eating after 7 p.m. is going to lead to weight gain. But eating at night is like eating at any other time of the day. “You should absolutely have dinner if you haven’t eaten,” said Shira Hirshberg, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Rhode Island. Every person needs a certain amount of calories a day, and if you don’t exceed them, then eating at night will not lead to extra inches around the waist, she noted.
Working hard is all it takes
“People often believe the weight loss myth that all they need to do is work hard, and that will lead to results,” Tracy Brown, a registered dietitian in Florida, said. “But the body will resist changes and perceive them as famine.” This is why some people are struggling to lose weight — they get discouraged when they actually need to look at the real motive behind their weight loss goals and see if there are other lifestyle changes they can make to achieve their goals, she added.
Sudden changes work
You want to lose weight and decide to make some changes, but implementing them all at once can be counterproductive. For example, if you lead a sedentary lifestyle, then certainly starting to go to the gym will help, but you can’t do that seven days a week right from the start, Fink noted. “In order to lose weight and maintain your new healthy weight, you have to make a lifestyle change,” she said. Sudden drastic changes are not sustainable and a rebound is very likely, she added. “Healthy changes take place over time, so don’t change your entire program at once.” Do one thing differently and add something else to it in a couple of weeks.
Limiting carbs is enough to lose weight
People who go on a low-carb diet do see some progress quickly. But the truth to this weight loss myth is it’s not fat they’re losing, according to Hirshberg. “The glycogen in the liver holds water, and this is what you’re actually losing,” she noted. So you see a lower number on the scale and think this diet is working. Numbers, in this case, are incredibly deceiving. Like any diet, if you adhere to it, in the long run you will see results on the scale. However that would be true of any calorie-restrictive diet.
You can only be happy and healthy if thin
The idea that you can only be happy and healthy if you’re skinny is a dangerous one. Eating can easily become something people feel guilty about. This can make can make them try unhealthy ways to lose weight, according to Brown. In more severe cases, it may even lead to eating disorders. Research has shown that social interactions, traveling, having friends, meditating, and positive attitude play a key role in being happy and healthy, she added.
Spot reduction is possible
Spot reduction is the idea that you can target a particular part of the body. Hence you exercise in a certain way that would make you lose weight specifically there. “There is no such thing,” Fink said. Working on a certain muscle will only change its shape, but just a little bit, she added. Doing exercises that work several muscle groups is a very efficient way to lose weight over your entire body. Muscle mass and muscle tissue, burn a lot more calories than fat even at rest.
You burn enough calories exercising to have a big meal
Wishful thinking and reality get mixed up sometimes. This is especially common in the fitness world. Most people think they burn a lot more calories exercising than they actually do, according to Hirshberg. “The truth is you can’t realistically burn as many calories in one workout as you’d consume in one meal. People sometimes exercise and end up eating more than they should. This can lead to no weight loss at all or even weight gain.
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