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With myriad fad diets coming and going, it’s hard to keep track of what truly works relative to sustained weight loss. For as much information to which we have access through fitness and diet resources, there is just as much – if not more – misinformation on the internet, in magazines, and even from your best work pal. The important part of weight loss is to know which data are scientifically sound and which are out there to push product. Here are a few weight-loss myths to keep in mind.

Work it off later

Losing weight is a combination of diet and exercise. You can’t focus on just one and exclude the other. A piece of chocolate cake is going to take you more than an hour to burn off. And that’s only if the rest of your diet for the day has been good. If you’ve been eating fast food and drinking soda, don’t expect to burn off all those calories in one workout. Calories add up, and there is only so much time – and physical capacity – to comprehensively burn them off.

Carbs are a no-no 

Not all carbohydrates are created equal. Carbohydrates can be found in bread and candy, but they are also found in fruits and vegetables. There are plenty of good carbs which power you through a race or workout because they fill up glycogen stores, providing you energy in periods of exertion. There’s a reason why athletes have spaghetti dinners before a big event. They’ll need the carbohydrates to fuel performance. Key point: Avoid carbs in the form of candy, soda, artificial syrups, white bread, desserts, potatoes, and white pasta. Remember: Everything in moderation.

Expect to lose five pounds a week 

Losing weight takes time, effort, a laser focus. You can’t get frustrated when three weeks go by and you have only lost five pounds. In fact, that is perfectly healthy. It takes a 300-calorie daily deficit in order to lose one pound in a week’s time, so note that reality when you are tracking your calorie burn and calorie intake. A realistic and healthy weight loss timeline is in fact one pound lost per week.

Skipping meals will help you lose weight 

Skipping meals doesn’t always mean less calories. In fact, getting into the habit of missing a meal can do damage to your weight-loss efforts for a number of reasons. If you skip a meal, you’re more likely to binge the next time you eat. Your body is starved of nutrients, and you will likely make up for it by overeating. Your body will also adjust to this habit and your metabolism will slow in order to conserve energy, causing you to put on weight.

The small meal rule is a pass for late-night noshing 

Eating several small meals throughout the day has proven to be an effective way to keep off weight. Further, eating after the “dinner hour” can in fact work against you. While there’s no rule which says we have to eat dinner at 6 p.m. every day, especially if you take your lunch at 2 p.m., it’s an issue worth addressing because many good intentions throughout the day are sabotaged by consuming calories before bed, a point in the day where you begin to metabolize calories at a slower rate (i.e., slumber). Ensure your meals and snacks are well-balanced and fight the urge to eat after your evening meal. This small adjustment will assist in sustained weight loss.

When it comes to losing weight for many people who’ve tried a host of diets, it might be time to consult with a dietician or with a therapist to learn how you can reach your goals or address emotional obstacles which may be hindering you. Simply put, if a diet tip comes in a celebrity gossip magazine, consider the source and trust your instincts. The simple question is: Is it fad-fabulous or sound and sensible?