Myth #1: You don’t have to count calories
Fact: Counting calories is important
You definitely need to count calories in order to lose weight. People tend to overestimate their physical activity and underestimate their calories. Don’t rely on eyeballing your caloric intake or trying to estimate it. Instead, every day write down what you eat, the corresponding calories, and your physical activity. To make it easier for you to quantify your physical activity, wear a pedometer. Do this every day. Don’t do it just once or twice a week. Consistency is important for dieting. Sure, this isn’t easy. But if you want to lose weight, this is important to do on a daily basis.
Myth #2: Always eat breakfast
Fact: Eat some time during the morning
If you wake up at 7 a.m., you don’t have to immediately eat a big breakfast. You’re probably not even hungry right after you wake up. You don’t have to jump start your metabolism. You simply have to structure your eating throughout the day, so you’re not too hungry later on. It’s best to eat within three hours of waking. If you get up at 7 a.m., eat something by 10 a.m. Have some yogurt or a piece of fruit. If you don’t eat in the morning, you will be too hungry when you finally have a meal, and then you’ll likely overeat. Remember, what counts is your total daily calories.
Myth #3: Eat three times a day — don’t snack
Fact: Eat when you want to maintain calorie intake
Once again, it’s all about calories. You can eat three times a day or six times a day, as long as you have the same caloric intake. However, you should have at least three meals a day. That structures your daily eating, so don’t become too hungry. And if you eat six times a day, you won’t be having six full meals.
Myth #4: Carbohydrates make you fat
Fact: Carbs are necessary for a balanced diet
Carbohydrates do not make you fat. Calories make you fat. Often it’s the sugar and fat contained in carbohydrates that make you fat. Also a lot of carbohydrates are processed, so you don’t get the advantage of feeling full from fiber found in unprocessed carbs. For example, whole grain pasta is more filling — and makes you feel satisfied longer — than white pasta, though both have the same amount of calories. What will change the number of calories is the amount of sauce and butter you put on your pasta. What you want to do is eat carbs in moderation.
Myth #6: Cut out desserts
Fact: Don’t deprive yourself sweets
Deprivation is the downfall of all diets. You can have a small portion of dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth and still stick to your diet. You just don’t want to eat a large portion, or more! Food is pleasurable for many people. So, treat yourself but don’t overindulge. You can create a diet that lets you eat a sweet once a day or once a week. Dieters who deprive themselves tend to go overboard when they have candy, cake, or cookies. So make a good choice of what you include in your diet. Maybe you can have a small dessert after dinner or lunch.
Myth #7: Don’t worry about dieting — just exercise
Fact: Exercising alone is not enough
You probably won’t be able to work out enough to make up for eating a huge meal. Exercise just does not burn enough calories. If you eat a slice of apple pie a la mode that is 500 calories, you’ll have to walk briskly for two hours to burn those calories. So, you won’t lose weight unless you also cut calories.
Myth #8: Don’t weigh yourself
Fact: Get on that scale!
You really need to weigh yourself to keep your weight in check. Sure, you can notice if your belt is getting tighter — or looser — but chances are you don’t have an accurate assessment of your weight. Weigh yourself at least once a week. If you don’t have a scale at home, go to your doctor or health club and weigh yourself. Weighing yourself shouldn’t be seen as punishment. It’s just a way to keep an eye on your weight. And your scale doesn’t always have to tell you bad news. You may not have noticed that you lost two pounds the other week. *While weighing is important, try not to become obsessed with it. There are other ways to measure progress such as body composition.
Myth #9 Never eat at night
Fact: Calories don’t know time
What’s important is how many calories you consume; not when you eat them. Many successful dieters save 200 to 300 calories to eat at night. Sure, eating a big steak before you go to bed may give you some indigestion, but it won’t ruin your diet. Eating at night may be the best time for you. You’re at home, the kids are in bed, and you have time to enjoy your food.
Myth #10 No snacking between meals
Fact: Calories are calories
Snacks aren’t the culprit; calories are. You can have a small container of yogurt for breakfast and a piece of fruit for a snack before lunch. Some dieters prefer to have more structure and limit themselves to three meals a day and no in-between-meal snacks. Others are more comfortable having small, low-calorie snacks between their main meals. What counts is the total number of calories.
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