Separating Myth From Fact
If you are trying to lose weight, there is no shortage of information out there. From your co-workers to your friends, everyone probably has a weight loss tip. For example, you may have heard you need to cut out a certain food group, or that the latest fad diet is the key to successful weight loss. Following the right path can be confusing and your current beliefs on what constitutes healthy ways to lose weight may not be based on fact. Here we demystify some age old weight loss myths that may be hindering your weight loss progress.
"Carbohydrates are bad for you if you’re trying to lose weight."
Carbohydrates get a bad rap, but not all are built equal. You need carbohydrates to function properly and provide energy and fuel for your body. Without adequate carbs, fatigue and headaches can occur.
When you severely restrict carbohydrates, weight loss does often follow. That’s because a condition called ketosis can develop. If you’re in ketosis, your body breaks down fat for energy and rapid weight loss can occur. Sounds good, right? But maintaining an extremely low-carb diet is difficult, and may not be your best bet in the long run.
The key is to choose the right carbs. Sugary, starchy carbs, such as bread and sweets are not a dieter’s best friend. But, good carbohydrates, such as vegetables and whole grains with a low Glycemic Index can, and should be part of a sustainable weight loss program.
"Cardio is all the exercise you need to lose weight."
Cardio burns fats. When it comes to weight loss, burning fat is a good thing. But, before you lace up your running shoes, cardiovascular exercise is not the only type of exercise that aids in weight loss. Strength training can also be a helpful tool when trying to lose weight. The reason being is it builds muscle.
The higher your lean muscle % is, the more calories you burn, even when you’re lying on the coach. Many women fear weight training as they believe that they will gain a muscular and unsightly physique, but this is really not true. Due to the lack of the hormone testosterone in the female body, actually gaining substantial amounts of muscle is truly difficult. A small increase in muscle mass and tone across the body can have a dramatic effect on the body aesthetically and can increase body metabolism dramatically. Strength training along with cardio is the best combination for weight loss.
"You need to eat low-fat foods if you’re trying to lose weight."
Similar to carbohydrates, fats can also be feared if you’re trying to lose weight. But the road to weight loss success is not necessarily paved with all low-fat or non fat foods. Just like carbs, fats serve an important purpose in your diet. Fats support cell growth and provide your body with energy.
The type of fat you eat is important. There are good and bad fats. Trans fats and saturated fats are bad; think French fries and pizza. Fat, which is good for you includes polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Good choices include avocadoes, eggs and fatty fish. Keep in mind, moderation is key.
"Stop snacking if you want to lose weight."
Snacking is not necessarily a big no-no when it comes to weight loss in fact it can be a very good thing. The problem is not snacking, it is the foods you choose. While snacking on chips and doughnuts is not a good idea, eating a snack comprised of complex carbohydrates and protein can help your weight loss efforts.
Snacks can curb hunger and prevent you from overeating at your next meal thus keeping your portion size under control. A healthy snack can also keep blood sugar levels steady and keep your metabolism running optimally. Good snack choices include a handful of nuts, a piece of fruit or a half cup of oatmeal.
"Don’t eat before bed."
You may have heard that if you’re trying to lose weight, don’t eat past five or six in the evening. If you are most active during the day, it seems to make sense that eating later may prevent weight loss, however there is no evidence which proves your body processes food differently at a certain time of the day. Keep in mind, if late night snacking tips your total calorie intake over the top, it can prevent weight loss. Also, late night munching should always be due to hunger and not due to other issues, such as stress or boredom.
Author: MaryAnn DePietro
Author Bio: A health and fitness writer with 13 years’ experience, MaryAnn has been extensively published in magazines, newspapers and websites. Her work has appeared on websites, such as Healthline, Symptom Find, Livestrong and Modern Moms. MaryAnn earned degrees in both respiratory therapy at American River College in Sacramento and rehabilitation education at Penn State University. MaryAnn lives in northern California where she trains for 10K marathons, plays golf and hangs out with her husband and son.