Popular Fitness Myths
With the New Year beginning, you may be compelled to think about weight loss and getting in shape. As you begin your weight loss journey, it’s important to know the facts from the myths. What are some common weight-loss myths—and what’s the truth behind them?
Fasting and skipping meals will help you lose weight: Not eating every few hours slows down the body’s metabolic rate (the rate at which the body burns calories). When one goes without eating breakfast or fasts for long periods of time without any nourishment, the body is in a starvation mode and turns to existing muscle to meet its protein requirements. Weight loss on the scale will be water and muscle weight. Weight that is lost in this manner will almost always be gained back as one goes back to eating normally. Eating portion-controlled meals throughout the day is ideal.
Over-the-counter diet pills will help you lose weight and keep it off: The main ingredient in these diet pills is caffeine, which causes the loss of appetite. Weight loss achieved from taking diet pills is usually temporary and is almost always gained right back. The only successful way to lose weight is by exercising and eating a sensible diet and being consistent.
Because I am “thin,” I am healthy and fit and do not need to exercise: This is another misconception. Thin and skinny-looking individuals can also have a high body fat percentage unless they are exercising regularly. Skinny Asian women are especially at high risk for developing osteoporosis. Exercise and weight-bearing activities reduce these risks. Overweight individuals who exercise regularly are better off than sedentary skinny individuals.
Women should not lift weights because they will get “bulky” and look like men: This is probably the biggest myth around. Weight training helps lower body fat since muscles burn more calories throughout the day. Women who weight-train can benefit by reducing their chances of getting osteoporosis, since weight-bearing exercise is known to increase bone density. It is not possible for women to obtain large muscles naturally. Women who do have bulky muscles are most likely ingesting testosterone and other hormones. Infact, women who weight-train feel stronger, have lower body fat and look leaner and more toned than women who don’t weight-train.
As long as you exercise, you can eat anything you want and still lose weight: Nutrition is very important when it comes to losing weight. A calorie deficit must be created in order to lose weight. This can be accomplished by reducing food intake and increasing theamount of exercise and overall activity. Reducing food intake does not mean starving yourself, but rather, providing your body with nutritious, low-calorie, low-fat foods.
Gardening and vacuuming provide enough exercise: While your garden might look pretty and the carpets clean, these activities are not enough to help you lose weight and stay fit. When it comes to losing weight, it is best to exercise in a structured program of moderate to high intensity for at least 45 minutes on most days of the week.
A “cleansing” diet will help loseweight: Cleansing diets can be harmful to the body, causing headaches, fatigue,muscle wastage and water loss. The few pounds lost on it will almost always begained back. Also, there is no scientific evidence that a cleansing diet is beneficial for the body and so it is best to be avoided.
[Aarti Patel serves as the columnist for Fitness Lifestyle. She has a B.Sc. in Health Information Administration and is certified by the American Council on Exercise as a Personal and Group Fitness Instructor, and Lifestyle and Weight Management Coach. She can be reached at (404)-376-5655; firstname.lastname@example.org. This column rotates monthly along with the Ask the Doctor column by Gulshan Harjee, M.D.]
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