8 Harmful Myths About Weight Loss

There is no shortage of bad information in the weight loss industry. Many aspiring dieters quickly find themselves in a paralysis by analysis situation due to all the noise in the weight loss world. It's overwhelming. What are you supposed to believe?

Our philosophy is that weight loss is actually very simple. In an attempt to clear the air of all the pervasive misinformation in dieting, here are eight myths about weight loss.

1. You need to avoid fat to lose weight. There is a popular myth that in order to lose weight you must avoid consuming dietary fat. Fat doesn't make you fat, excess calories make you fat. As it happens, each gram of fat contains nine calories (compared to just four calories per gram of carbohydrate or protein). So there is certainly a correlation between high calorie foods being high in fat. But it is hardly advisable to avoid fat. In fact, fat is essential for survival. Without it, we would die. You can go the rest of your life without ever eating another drop of sugar and you will survive just fine. However, try doing this with fat and you'll be dead within a year. Embrace fat. Reduce calories.

2. Bread is okay. Another common belief is that bread is a suitable food for weight loss. After all, it's not deep fried, covered in grease, or a naturally high-in-fat product. Seems safe for a dieter, right? Wrong!

Bread is dough. Just look at pictures of dough. When you eat bread or pasta, you're eating that. Looks an awful lot like belly fat, doesn't it?

3. Exercise isn't important for weight loss. Some people seem to think they can lose weight without applying much effort. The truth is that exercise is a hugely beneficial tool for weight loss. Weight loss is all about burning more calories than you consume. This can be achieved in two ways (we recommend both): consuming fewer calories or burning more calories. Exercise is as important for weight loss as watching what you eat.

4. Diet foods are healthy. The same people who have brought you potato chips, doughnuts, frozen pizzas and an assortment of other unhealthy foods have also brought you a wide array of "diet" foods to choose from. These foods are usually advertised as "low-fat" or "fat-free" and are intended to target health-conscious shoppers. However, any packaged food you are buying inherently loses marks for being processed. The aim of any dieter should be to eat whole foods and monitor their calorie intake. Skip the stuff that comes in a box with commercials and try to eat foods that your grandmother would have recognized as "food" as a young girl, just don't eat too much of them.

5. Vegetarianism of veganism is great for weight loss. Many people actually gain weight when they switch over to a vegetarian diet. This is because once they do so they think it's okay to eat anything they want. It's very easy to consume excess calories without eating meat or animal products. Switching to a vegan diet for weight loss is far from a guarantee that you will reach desired results.

6. As long as I'm working out, I can eat anything I want. For some people, exercise is actually counterproductive. They get into the gym, do the bare-minimum amount of exercise, then go home and gorge themselves on food to "recover". The net result is actually worsened health even though they visited a gym. High intensity workouts do allow one to justify adding more protein to their diet for muscle recovery, but be cautious about substantially increasing your daily calorie intake just because you exercised that day.

7. Not eating is effective for weight loss. It's easy to understand how people reach the conclusion that they should starve themselves if they want to lose weight, but this method of extreme crash dieting ultimately is counterproductive to weight loss goals. Ignoring for a moment the extreme health risks of starving one's self, an extremely low calorie diet causes one's metabolism to decrease substantially. This means the body has a harder time digesting food so once you return to a normal diet much of what you consume is stored as fat since the body has grown incapable of processing a normal diet. Extremely low calorie diets never produce quality results.

8. Eating at night causes weight gain. A big fuss is made over what time of the day to eat certain foods. Should carbs be avoided at night? Is it bad to eat after 8:00 pm? However, focusing on these matters is mostly a distraction. It doesn't matter what time of the day you eat. Calories are calories. You need to consume fewer of them than you burn to lose weight. What time of the day you eat only matters in indirect ways. For instance, if consuming more calories early in the day helps you eat less throughout the rest of the day, then eating early in the day might be a great idea for you. But don't spin your wheels too much on matters that don't matter.

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