A lot of people are trying to lose weight now, getting a jump-start on the battle of the bulge, the winter blues, and the holidays before things spiral out of control. The problem is that there is a ton of information out there on the web – and in doctors offices- that isn’t as valuable as you might have originally hoped. Here are some weight loss myths you need to be aware of – and avoid.
Counting Calories Isn’t Important
This, my friends, is a load of pure bull. Calories in versus calories out (through exercise and daily movement) will give you the magic number that equals weight loss. If you aren’t counting calories, you will have no idea what type of deficit you are creating. If you aren’t creating a deficit, you will not lose weight. Period. End of statement. You do not need to make counting calories difficult. Simply tally up the calories in the portions of foods you eat regularly and you won’t have to make a huge show of it. It’ll be work in the beginning, but things will ease up later on.
Starches are Bad
The truth is that your body actually needs starches. The problem is that most of us don’t make the healthiest choices and, when we do, we top our starches (like yummy baked potatoes), with toppings that are high in fats and calories, blowing all the goodness out of the park. Let’s look at bread, pasta, and rice, for example. Sure, they’re not as good for you as other food sources, but if you replaced the white versions with whole grain bread, wheat pasta, and brown rice you’d have some flavorful alternatives. Try replacing white potatoes with sweet potatoes or yams. Top them with lower-calorie, low-fat toppings and you’ll get the good, complex carbohydrates your body actually needs.
Low Calorie Foods Burn Fat
Ugh. No food can actually “burn” fat. As a matter of fact, fat can’t be burnt. The only things you fat cells can do are shrink and expand. They never actually disappear. While lower-calorie foods like cabbage, celery and grapefruit are good for you, they help you to create thee aforementioned deficit because the low calorie content helps to create a deficit. It actually takes more calories to digest them than they contain. Bonus! But not fat-burning.
You Have to Avoid Fat
This is a horrible, horrible myth. Your body needs fat to survive. Your brain can’t function without fat, nor can other parts of your body. The trick is to get good fats, like Omega-3s, while avoiding saturated fats. Choose the right fats and you won’t gain weight. You’ll actually feel fuller for a longer period of time and you’ll make healthier food choices.
Exercise is All You Need
Remember that thing I said before about creating a deficit? Some people believe they can eat as much as they want (of whatever they want) as long as they exercise. This is so far from the truth it is scary. Here’s the real truth. Go out to a restaurant and have a slice of rich cheesecake. Did you know that in some cases that single slice can be worth approximately 1,000 calories? You’d have to walk at a moderate pace for 4 hours – that’s right, 4 – to burn off that slice of cheesecake. That’s not to mention the high-calorie dinner and beverages you likely had with it. Exercise and moderation in portion control and food choice is key.
Don’t Eat after 8pm
This is a partial myth, to be honest. The truth is that your metabolism is the culmination of all of the hormonal processes in your body. While you sleep, your body creates your growth hormone. If you eat cabs after 8pm, the digestive process will alter the secretion of your growth hormone, so your body can’t heal and repair itself. A lack of the right levels of growth hormone can lead to weight gain. You can eat, but make sure you are limiting your later meals to proteins and fibers.
Avoid the Scale
Who thought this one up? How can you track your progress if you never step on the scale? While there are varying theories as to how often you should weigh yourself, the truth is that you need to do it every once in a while. Just make sure you are always weighing yourself at the same time of day – preferably first thing in the morning (when you are at your truest) weight.
Don’t let unhealthy advice and myths keep you from reaching your weight loss goals. Keep plugging away and you’ll get the results you’re looking for – slowly but surely.
About the Author: Arthur Dancel loves writing about healthcare, weight loss, and nutrition. He also specializes in nursing employment opportunities and career training guides.