It is important to know the common exercise and nutrition myths in order to assure you are exercising and eating correctly. In this article, I have provided a few examples of common myths regarding exercise and nutrition.
Myth No. 1: I can spot-reduce body fat with specific exercises.
Fact: You cannot spot-reduce body fat. Fat loss occurs through a combination of diet, cardiovascular exercise and strength training. This means that fat loss happens throughout your whole body, not just in specific spots. If you want to change your body, start by eating healthy and exercising consistently.
Myth No. 2: Increasing exercise and drastically cutting calories will yield quick, lasting weight loss.
Fact: When you significantly cut calories and exercise you may lose weight. However, this type of weight loss is not a lasting, sustainable weight loss and does not promote good behavior changes. A very low-calorie diet can be a different amount per individual depending on height, weight, age and physical activity. It may be 600 calories/day for one and 1,000 calories/day for another.
Weight loss comes from a calorie deficit, but that calorie deficit should be created in a sustainable way. This means exercise and a reasonable decrease in calories daily, while still creating your three meals from lean proteins, whole grains, low-fat dairy, vegetables and fruits. It is always best to work with a registered dietitian to ensure that you are eating the right foods and proper portions for your body, as well as an exercise physiologist to prescribe a safe exercise routine.
Myth No. 3: Eating a diet low in carbohydrates is better for my health. Sugar will give me diabetes.
Fact: Carbohydrates have several functions in our bodies, including being the primary source of energy for your brain, which needs about 130 to 150 grams of carbohydrates to function (it can also use fat and protein, but less efficiently). Carbohydrates are also the preferred energy source for the rest of your body. Carbohydrates are a healthy part of a balanced diet and often come in foods, like whole grains, with other important nutrients like fiber and B vitamins.
Eating foods with carbohydrates will not give you diabetes. Developing diabetes is a multi-factor process. Remember that maintaining an overall healthy diet, with limited added sugar, will help you prevent diabetes.
Myth No. 4: Skipping meals will help me lose weight.
Fact: Skipping meals will most likely make you feel hungrier and lead you to eat more than you normally would at your next meal. There is also evidence that shows a link between skipping breakfast and obesity. Intermittent fasting is a relatively new concept promoting fasting, or skipping meals, as a means of weight management. While based on many religious fasting practices, there is limited research on intermittent fasting and its effectiveness as a weight management tool for the general public.
Eating regular, balanced meals and snacks throughout the day will keep you satisfied and can help with weight management. Choose meals and snacks that include a variety of healthy foods. For a quick breakfast, make oatmeal with low-fat milk and berries and bring a healthy meal from home instead of buying a lunch. For healthy snacks, pack a small, low-fat yogurt, a couple of whole-wheat crackers with peanut butter and/or veggies with hummus.
Shannon Nelson is a UnityPoint Health Wellness Coach.
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