Continued from Part 1 of 2
Here is a list of 6 more essential weight loss myths and facts that will help you make healthy changes in your eating and lifestyle. Hopefully these facts will clear up any confusion about weight loss, nutrition and physical activity.
6. You don't have to count calories. Counting calories is essential in order to lose weight. People tend to overestimate their physical activity and underestimate their calories, so keeping track of what you eat is vital. Keep a food journal, recording what you eat, the calorie content and the calories burned. Wearing a pedometer can make it easier for you to compute your physical activity. Do this daily, since consistency is a big part of dieting. Some foods are more calorie-dense than others, meaning they contain more calories per ounce. Fat, for instance, has twice the calories as proteins and carbs, so eat it in moderation.
7. Dairy products are fattening. There are plenty of low-fat and fat-free varieties of dairy products on the market, (milk, cheese and yogurt) that are just as nutritious as whole milk products, with almost half the fat and calories. Women especially need the calcium they provide, not to mention that eating enough calcium can actually give our weight loss efforts a boost.
8. Avoid all Fats. Fat may be twice as fattening as carbohydrates and protein, but you need to include some fat in your diet. Studies have shown that fat increases your sense of fullness and adds flavor to many foods. Some fats are even good for you, like omega-3 fatty acids, which are found predominantly in fish and shellfish, and monounsaturated fat like that in olive oil. Eliminating fat from your diet will only increase your hunger.
9. Lifting weights will add bulk and cause weight gain. Strength training, such as weight lifting, can help you maintain and lose weight. It helps you to build lean muscle mass, which in turn, burns more calories than body fat. Most importantly, it kicks your metabolism into high gear long after your workout. Doing strength training 2-3 times a week, will not bulk you up, and when combined with cardio exercise, will create a slim and flattering appearance.
10. Eating after 8 PM causes weight gain. The time that you eat is irrelevant. What is relevant however, is the amount of calories you consume and burn in a day. Whether you're eating in the morning or late at night, your body turns excess calories into fat over the course of time. True, it's healthier for your digestion not to eat a large steak before going to bed, but a later dinner won't make you any fatter than an earlier one. There is nothing wrong with a late night snack if you keep it nutritious. You may actually sleep better, having a full stomach!
11. Don't weigh yourself. On the contrary, weighing yourself is a way to keep your weight in check. Getting on the scale at least once a week, at the same time every day, will give you consistency and allow you to monitor progress. Record your weight so that you can reflect on each week and any accomplishments you've made. Weighing yourself more than once a day, is an indication that you're obsessing about your weight.
All in all, doctors, dietitians, and weight loss experts agree that the healthiest way to lose weight is to eat fewer calories and increase your physical activity so that you burn more energy. A reasonable weight loss goal is to lose no more than 2 pounds a week, and for most, that entails eating 500 fewer calories a day, eating a well-balanced diet, and getting regular exercise. The Federal Trade commission recommends that before spending money on products that promise quick and easy results, weigh the claims carefully.