Looking to lose weight? Try our FREE Calorie Counter »  |  Log In
Articles Fitness Nutrition

Body Fat Myths vs. Facts

Sep 22, 2009

Losing body fat isn't impossible, but common misperceptions can make it harder. Burn body fat the right way; here are some of the myths and facts about body fat.

Myth: You Can Lose Body Fat from Just One Area

Fact: Despite the range of products and programs that claim to target body fat on one specific area of the body, the truth is, you can't burn body fat from just one area at a time. When you lose weight, the fat loss occurs throughout your entire body at once.

Your body stores fat to use as fuel, and when you begin a weight loss program, your body burns that fat from all areas of your body so that one portion isn't depleted. That's because fat also acts as your body's insulation, and your body doesn't want to leave one area uninsulated.

Working a specific area will build muscle in that area, but without aerobic exercise, you're still going to have a layer of fat over that muscle. A combination of aerobic and strength exercises can help you burn fat and tone your muscles.

Myth: Starving Yourself Helps Burn Body Fat

Fact: It's true that when you don't eat enough calories, your body will break down stored fat to use as energy. However, when you go off your diet and start to eat normally again, you'll gain all that weight back.

This happens because depriving yourself of necessary daily calories puts you in physical "starvation mode." Your body will think that there isn't enough food available and that you're starving. When you go off your diet, your body will store even more fat in reserve against future lean periods. You'll also be more likely to overeat during this period.

To lose weight safely, lose a little at a time; two or three pounds a week is ideal. Don't deprive yourself of food, and eat at least 1,300 calories per day.

Myth: Body Fat Comes from Fatty Foods

Fact: Fat in foods does not necessarily equal fat on your body. Fat comes from calories; it doesn't matter if those calories come from a burger or a salad. Obviously, it's better to obtain calories from the salad, however, if you eat more calories than your body needs, it will store them as fat. To keep off body fat, don't overeat any type of food. Instead, eat small and balanced meals.

Myth: Very Small Amounts of Excersize Will Burn Body Fat

Fact: Many products and programs advertise guaranteed weight loss in just five, eight or ten minutes a day. Some exercise machines even calculate the number of calories you've burned from the time you turn them on.

The truth is, your body won't burn stored reserves of energy, or fat, unless it feels that it needs to. When you exercise for only a few minutes, you're not burning energy stored as fat; you're using energy from the food you ate that day. Your body won't begin to burn the energy stored in fat cells until your other resources are depleted. 

Your body won't begin to break down fat cells for fuel until you've been exercising for at least twenty minutes.  If you raise your heart rate for thirty minutes, that means you've been burning stored fat for only ten minutes of the workout. You can utilize Fitday's services to track your daily exercise and weight loss goals.

Article Comments