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Lose The Weight Loss Lies: Debunking Five Common Myths About Losing Weight

Lose The Weight Loss Lies: Debunking Five Common Myths About Losing Weight

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If you're reading this article, chances are you don't have to be told that losing weight can be tough. According to National Institute of Health statistics, at any given time, around 30 percent of Americans are actively trying to lose weight, and even many of those of us who aren't "actively trying" would still like to drop a few pounds and tone up our bodies for summer beach season. Beyond mere vanity issues, the health risks of being overweight are well-documented: carrying extra poundage can have serious long-term effects on health and longevity, elevating the risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, and some types of cancer, among other problems. Unfortunately, many people trying to lose weight find their efforts stymied due to their misconceptions about weight loss. Let's take a look at five of the most common myths about weight loss and see if we can't clear up some wrongheaded notions that may be stopping you from achieving the right profile.

Myth #1: Either dieting or exercise alone is enough to lose weight.

This one derails a lot of those of us inclined towards procrastination. After delaying getting started on what you may perceive to be a restrictive program of dieting and exercise, you may be tempted to try to "ease into" weight loss by just choosing one or the other rather than working at incorporating both into your lifestyle. As you might expect, trying to take the easy way out isn't a sign of strong commitment to weight loss, and this half-assed approach is almost certainly going to lead to a letdown — any results you do see will likely be disappointingly small and short-lived.

Myth #2: Lifting weights is a bad way to lose weight.

Hand in hand with the "let's take this slowly" approach, some heavy people – mostly overweight men – tend to think they should wait until they have shed some pounds before beginning weight training. Actually, because weightlifting exercises can boost your metabolic rate for as long as two days after working out and increased muscle mass helps amplify caloric burn, weight training is an excellent way to drop pounds along with building strength. And don't worry, ladies: weight training won't bulk you up like a guy.

Myth #3: Going vegetarian is a sure way to lose weight.

Depending on the current content of your diet, going vegetarian could be a considerable step in the right direction for you. But don't be mistaken — cutting meat, poultry, fish, or dairy out of your diet doesn't mean you don't have to watch what you eat anymore. Just like the rest of us, vegetarians can make poor food choices that lead to weight gain, such as eating high-calorie and high-fat foods or foods with little nutritional value in large amounts.

Myth #4: Eat three times a day and don't snack or eat between meals.

While this may seem counterintuitive, studies show that cutting out snacking entirely and sticking to a strict three-meal-a-day regimen may actually lead to weight gain, as people whose hunger builds up between meals tend to eat larger, heavier meals when they do eventually chow down. Better to keep hunger pangs at bay by eating healthy, low-fat snacks every so often; as long as you make sure to keep your overall calorie count low, the time and frequency of your meals will have no impact on your weight loss.

Myth #5: Muscle will turn into fat if you stop exercising.

If you stop exercising, any muscle tone you've developed will quickly begin to disappear — but your disappearing muscles certainly won't transmute into fat deposits. Muscle and fat are two entirely different types of cells; one can no more become the other than an animal can transform into a plant or vice versa.

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