For every dieting fact out there, there seem to be three or four dieting myths. At best, dieting myths will neither help nor hinder your dieting efforts. But, at their worst, dieting myths can not only hinder your efforts to lose weight, they can actually be harmful to your health.
So, how can you separate the dieting facts from the dieting fiction? Here are four of the most common dieting myths.
Dieting Myth #1: To lose weight, you have to drastically cut down on your daily calorie intake.
It’s true, cutting down on your calorie intake is just a fact of dieting. But when you suddenly go from eating three big meals and several between-meal snacks one day to eating only a thousand calories the next day, your body thinks your regular food source has dried up and you are now in danger of starving. So, to save you from starvation, your body (which needs the fuel it gets from food to run) tries to hold on to the fuel (calories) that you have left by burning them more slowly. As a result, it takes longer to lose those extra pounds.
When dieting, it’s better to cut your calorie intake gradually over time. That way, you won’t shock your body into taking drastic measures.
Dieting Myth #2: If you want to eat something fattening, do it right before your workout. The exercise will burn those calories off faster.
Any exercise will burn off calories. But if you eat two pieces of chocolate cake, the fact that you ate them right before your regular workout won’t somehow keep those specific calories from settling in. The calories in those two pieces of cake will burn off at the same rate as the calories from anything else you’ve eaten, no matter when you ate it.
Dieting doesn’t have to mean giving up the foods you love. But, before you eat those two pieces of cake, remember you’ll have to work out more to burn off those calories.
Dieting Myth #3: If you eat right before bed, those calories will be harder to burn off.
This is the opposite of Dieting Myth #2. The idea seems to be that, if you eat right before a long period of inactivity (like sleeping, or lying on the sofa watching TV) those specific calories will settle in, and be harder to burn off. But, when it comes to dieting, calories are calories. When you consume them, and what you do or don’t do afterwards, has little to do with how long they will take to burn off.
However, while eating right before bedtime won’t effect your dieting program, it could cause other problems, like heartburn and insomnia. If you must snack before bed, eat something light.
Dieting Myth #4: If you’re serious about dieting and losing weight, you have to workout at a gym, or sign up for a fitness class.
Dieting and exercise go hand-in-hand. And working out regularly at a gym in a fitness class will probably make you lose weight faster. But any kind of exercise (whether it’s using the stairs instead of the elevator or doing housework) will burn calories. If you are dieting and have started to gradually lower your calorie intake, just being active on a daily basis, and looking for opportunities in your daily life to use your body, will help you lose weight.
These are just a few of the most common dieting myths. And, once you learn how to spot the dieting myths, you can ignore them, and get on the right track to a slimmer, healthier you.