Big Fat Facts on 6 Common Weight Loss Myths, Plus 6 Slimming Secrets

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You've tried all the diets, from the grapefruit weight loss plan to the cabbage soup slim-down. You've feasted on protein on the Atkins plan, binged on beans on a vegan diet and even attempted a fast. But you still haven't achieved your goal weight. Sound familiar? Then it's time to discover the real truth behind the six most common weight loss facts, revealed by ABC News. I've also included my owns tips as a holistic nutrition expert.

Calories In, Calories Out

You've probably read or heard that you need to burn 3,500 calories to lose a pound. Reality check: According to Diana Thomas, a mathematician who is director of the Center for Quantitative Obesity Research at Montclair State University in New Jersey, that's a formula for failure. The reason: As you lose weight, your body burns fewer calories doing the same activities.

My tip: Rather than keep cutting down on calories, eat the same amount of food and increase your exercise. Invest in a pedometer and work toward a goal of 10,000 steps a day, the equivalent of five miles.

Easy to Gain; Hard to Lose

Yes, you can lose weight - but it's going to be harder than it was to gain it. The reason: Most of us have no problem with consuming calories in excess of how much we need. But restricting calorie counts is difficult and it takes time to lose weight. In addition, those plateaus that typically occur can be hard to overcome. My tip: Studies show that putting one to two meals on automatic speeds up weight loss. Eat the same breakfast and/or lunch each day, for example, and you'll lose weight faster. Variety, except for low-calorie vegetables, actually causes you to gain weight.

Exercise's Role in Weight Loss

How much exercise does it take to lose weight? James Hill, the executive director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado, cautions about a common myth: Thinking that exercise isn't worth it because it makes you eat more. "Exercisers do tend to compensate by eating more, but not enough to make up for all of the calories they burn up in exercise. They still create a negative energy balance and they still have an easier time losing weight and keeping it off than people who don't exercise," he says firmly. Moreover, failure to exercise impacts your metabolism adversely.

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Tip: The National Weight Control Registry, which tracks the health habits of thousands of people who have lost an average of 60 pounds and kept it off for at least two years, reveals the real skinny on how much exercise you need: More than 90 percent of registrants say they exercised for an hour or more a day.

Gluten-Free Goodies

Think that removing one food from your diet, such as wheat, will make a difference? "You might lose weight initially by limiting a certain food, but it's because you eat fewer calories," says James Hill. "Most people can't sustain it in the long term, so the approach is doomed to failure." Tip: If you've gone gluten-free thinking it will promote weight loss or if you have a wheat intolerance or gluten allergy, skip all those sugary gluten-free goodies. Some actually have MORE calories than their wheat-containing counterparts.

All Metabolisms Are Not Created Equal

Canadian researcher Claude Bouchard tested the concept that all of us gain weight in the same way. His discovery: When he tested twins eating exactly the same amounts, some gained as little as 10 pounds while others added almost 30 pounds. And the same pattern held true with weight loss. Fattening fact: Yes, some of us are apt to gain weight more easily and consequently have to work harder to lose it.

Tip: Stop comparing yourself to others. If you go out for dinner and your skinny friend orders dessert, it's tempting to follow her example. But to thine own self be true - and when it comes to losing weight, to your own diet be faithful.

Grazing Can Lead to Gaining

You eat six small meals daily, thinking that will increase weight loss. Right? Wrong. Studies have discovered no difference in weight loss, and one study even found that dieters lost more when they limited themselves to two large meals daily.

Tip: If you have the discipline and a lifestyle that allows it, then it's fine to plan three meals and three snacks daily. But you must account for calories. Make those snacks mini-sized, such as an apple and an ounce of low-fat cheese, and then deduct that 200 calorie snack from your total day's intake.

Resource: ABC News

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