Exercise and Diet: Myths and Facts to Help You Succeed

By:  Joella Baker

I’m always hearing people talk about the different diets they are trying and ways they plan to lose weight, lose it fast and keep it off.    The truth is there is no easy way to do this.   If you really want to lose weight and have it last, it takes the following…

  1.   A commitment to change.
  2.   A plan you can stick to that will allow for success.
  3.   Hard work.
  4.   A plan that includes exercise and eating healthy.

Unfortunately, there are several myths, facts, and half-truths about dieting and exercise, so how do you take the first step?  

Commit to a Program:  I prefer www.myfitnesspal.com. This program allows you to track your exercise and everything you eat and then tracks the calories for you.   Then, it will tell you if you are above your calorie intake for the day or not.   You can put in a goal weight and it will help you with a healthy plan of calories you should eat in a day to reach that goal losing a pound a week.   This way, you’re not losing the weight too quickly and you know it will stay off.  I have one client who just hit a weight loss of 30lbs by exercising, eating smart and using the My Fitness Pal website to help track her success.   It really does work, if you can commit.

Now, that the commitment is made and you know how to track your calories, let’s look at some of the myths and half-truths that can sabotage your commitment and get the real facts instead:

Not Counting Calories:  I love when people say they don’t have to count calories to lose weight.   The truth is, if you don’t count calories, you’ll never know if you have a “calorie deficit” and that is exactly what you need to lose weight.   My Fitness Pal will help you find the calorie deficit you need to reach your goal.

Avoid Carbohydrates:  A lot of people believe if they avoid carbohydrates they will lose weight.   However, many people do not realize that fruits and vegetables are carbohydrates.   These two sources of carbs are essential to any diet and should not be avoided.   By avoiding carbohydrates, you lose your main source of energy and you miss out on vital nutrients.  Remember to read labels and know what you’re eating and how many calories you are consuming.   If you plan to eat starchy carbohydrates like bread and pasta, choose whole grain since this will provide you with a higher nutrient intake than white or processed flour foods.

Avoid all fats.  This is a diet myth.   Fats are needed to lubricate our joints, they also make your body process correctly and maintain normal body function and fats give you the feeling of being full or satisfied.  The fats that are best are the non-processed fats, or natural Fats.  Olive oil, avocados, nuts, salmon are all healthy fats that can be included into your daily diet.  

Cut out all sweets.   Sweets are typically higher in sugar and calories’ so staying away from sweets is important.  However, you don’t have to avoid them completely, you need to count those calories.  Sometimes having that small piece of chocolate will offer you a feeling of satisfaction that will prevent you from splurging later. Unfortunately, soda is by far one of the worst things you can add to your diet. Stay away from it.

Don’t snack between meals:  This is a big myth.   It’s more important that you eat smaller meals throughout the day.  This includes snacks.   I eat about 10 times a day, trying to focus on healthy snacks.  I like yogurt, veggies, hummus,  peanut butter, cheese, nuts, fruit and more.  Snacks keep your metabolism going and keep your tank filled.  You don’t want your tank to get too empty because then your body wants to respond by storing fat instead of burning it.  

Eat fewer and fewer calories or skip meals.  You can’t forget meals or snacks or cut back on your calories too much.  You can’t lose weight properly if you starve yourself.   Skipping meals is what puts your body into starvation mode and makes it want to store fat, so eat healthy, eat often and keep your tank full.  

I love this one, don’t eat late at night.   Remember, it doesn’t matter when you eat; it’s still about calories in and calories out.  If eating late doesn’t put your over your calorie intake, then you won’t gain weight. 

Don’t go with diet pills or cleansing programs that deny your body the nutrients it needs.   Instead, go with a balanced plan. Groups like Weight Watchers, local YMCA’s or a fitness and diet friend, a cool program like My Fitness Pal will help you achieve success.  Good luck and start exercising more, count those calories and eat smart.

If you have a suggestion for an article or a question, email me at joella@zoominternet.net or visit my website at www.getfitfamilies.com.