Fat Fiction Versus Skinny Facts: Top 5 Metabolism Myths

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You've got a calorie counting book, a pedometer and lots of foods in the cupboard with labels like "Diet" and "Low-Calorie." Just one problem: When you weigh yourself, the results aren't what you want. So what's up with that? You may be falling for the most common metabolism myths, according to the nutrition experts at Good Housekeeping.

Myth 1: Eating after 7 P.M. slows your metabolism.

Sounds like it makes sense, since you're less active in the evening. But it's not true. The real problem is that we're often tired or stressed in the evening, so we tend to go for high calorie comfort foods. Lesson to learn: Keep low-calorie snacks handy for evenings, such as cut-up raw vegetables, sliced fresh fruit or low-calorie, fat-free cereal. For example, a bowl of puffed rice topped with unsweetened vanilla almond milk is less than 100 calories.

Myth 2: The more slowly you lose weight, the easier it is to drop a lot.

Think slow and steady is the way to go? Wrong. In a landmark study, obese women who lost weight faster were five times more likely to lose 10% of their body weight than the "slow-and-steady" losers. Lesson learned: Talk with your doctor about possibly going on one of the popular intermittent fasts, which involve alternating low-calorie days with regular eating. You can lose weight more quickly with such a plan.

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Myth 3: To tone muscle, do more reps with lighter weights.

Less is NOT more when it comes to weight-lifting. "The best way to build muscle is to work it to fatigue; 20 lifts with a too-light weight won't be as effective. Use a weight light enough to lift at least eight times, but heavy enough that lifting it more than 12 times is difficult. " Tip: If you don't know how to lift weights, be careful. Lugging around heavy weights can result in injury if you're not trained. Check with your local gym or YMCA to see if they offer body conditioning classes. Can't afford it? Consider a fitness DVD that provides beginning instruction on weight lifting and toning.

Myth 4: Working out means you can eat more.

That spin class does burn calories, but do you really want to spend them on a single brownie? To lose weight, eat a small, low-calorie snack after your workout rather than chowing down on a chocolate ice cream. Examples include an apple and a piece of low-fat string cheese or celery sticks spread with almond butter.

Myth 5: If you stop lifting weights, your muscle turns to fat.

Wrong. Muscle does not turn to fat. You may lose your muscle and get flabby, but that's not a direct correlation. Lesson to learn: Keep lifting weight regularly to stay toned.

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