Fact: Pills and fad diets do not provide lasting results and can be dangerous.
Fad diets and pills are typically extreme and temporary in nature. Excessive calorie restriction may lead to weight loss, but not long term. Additionally, the weight lost may not necessarily be the weight you want to lose. If the body does not receive the energy it needs, it will begin to breakdown muscle tissue for fuel. Muscle burns more calories than fat does. This is important to note because if the weight returns, and is now fat, the body's ability to burn calories has been reduced.
Tip: Eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. Concentrate more on how your clothes fit and how you feel than what the scale says.
Myth: If I exercise, I can eat anything I want.
Fact: Exercise without a balanced diet will not result in weight loss.
To lose weight, you must create a calorie deficit. Exercise does burn calories, but usually, this alone is not enough for weight loss. For example, a brownie requires almost 2 hours of walking to burn off.
Tip: Eat healthy most of the time and splurge a little at one or two meals a week.
Myth: Carbohydrates make people fat and should be completely avoided.
Fact: Carbohydrates do not create weight problems when eaten in moderation.
Carbohydrates make up the majority of our foods (fruit, starches, grains, and dairy); provide many vitamins, minerals and fiber; and are what provide our bodies with energy. Carbohydrates topped with high fat foods like butter, cheese, and sour cream can cause weight issues. Eliminating carbohydrates from your diet can lead to fatigue, moodiness, and hunger.
Tip: If you enjoy topping your carbohydrates with high fat items, slowly reduce the portion that you use or switch to a lower fat version.
Myth: I will just eat salad at every meal; those are low calorie and will surely make me lose weight.
Fact: Some salads can have just as many, or more, calories as regular meals.
While salads provide a great way to eat more vegetables, certain "salad items" can make your healthy meal a high calorie one. Some of these items include cheese, croutons, seeds, and dressing. Most dressings are oil based. Just a teaspoon of oil is equal to 45 calories and 5g of fat.
Tip: Try low fat cottage cheese, lemon, or salsa on your salad for a low calorie dressing.
Myth: If I don't eat all day long, I can save up my calories to splurge at dinner.
Fact: Skipping meals will not help you lose weight.
Research shows that people who skip meals tend to be heavier, while those who eat regular meals and snacks tend to be lighter. While it seems like a logical mathematical equation, skipping meals does not mean a calorie savings. In fact, skipping meals is more likely to cause binging or excessive eating later on. Perhaps you can recall a time when you skipped a meal or went a while without eating. Do you remember making a poor food choice because you were so hungry? Did you feel that you could not get enough to eat? And once you finally realized you were full, were you stuffed and miserable?
Tip: If eating a "splurge" meal, cut the meal in half and save the other half to enjoy another day, guilt and misery free.
Myth: Fat free, organic, and sugar free mean I can eat unlimited amounts.
Fact: All of these foods contain calories; calories count.
Many of these foods, despite their labels of being free of one item or another, can actually have quite a bit of calories in them.
Tip: When shopping, compare your organic or free item to a regular version, check to see how the calories compare before you buy.
Mandy Seay is a bilingual registered and licensed dietitian who holds both a bachelor's degree in nutrition and in journalism. After gaining 30 pounds while living abroad, Mandy worked to lose the weight and regain her health. It was here that she discovered her passion for nutrition and went on to pursue a career as a dietitian. Mandy currently works as a nutrition consultant and freelance writer in Austin, Texas, where she specializes in diabetes, weight management and general and preventive nutrition. She recently published her first book, Your Best Health, a personalized program to losing weight and gaining a healthy lifestyle. Please visit Mandy's website at Nutritionistics.com.