It’s true that weight loss can be driven in part by physical lifestyle habits that include eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise, but did you know that your overall attitude toward weight loss also has an impact on your ability to lose weight? Myths and misconceptions about weight loss have been proven to have a negative effect on your ability to lose weight — even if you’re exercising regularly and consuming healthy foods.
Several years ago, a psychologist from Harvard performed an experiment on a group of hotel maids to examine how their perception of weight loss affected their ability to lose excess weight. All the maids were overweight, but stayed physically active all throughout the day, which should have been a major driving factor for weight loss. However, despite their active lifestyle, the maids felt that they were still not being as active as they should have been for weight-loss purposes.
The Harvard psychologist then informed half the maids that they were far exceeding the definition of a healthy, active lifestyle. As a result, those particular maids started losing weight immediately. The other maids who were not informed that they were getting more than enough exercise did not experience any weight loss.
Don’t allow weight-loss myths to stand in the way of your hard-earned weight-loss efforts! Here are four popular myths about weight loss, debunked.
Myth #1: More cardio leads to more weight loss
Cardio exercise is great for heart health; it gets your heart pumping and boosts your metabolism for a few hours after your workout. However, anaerobic activities are far more effective at helping you lose weight than just strict cardio. Anaerobic exercise involves doing high-intensity exercises in shorter bursts, which studies have shown can help you burn fat for up to 24 hours after your workout. If you enjoy the types of exercise you’re currently doing during your cardio workout, turn it into an anaerobic workout. For example, if you enjoy running, select the interval workout option on the treadmill to run in shorter intervals at a much faster pace.
Myth #2: Consuming any foods that contain fat will lead to weight gain
Some fats are bad for your health, such as the saturated fats and trans fats commonly found in most desserts and refined carbs. However, polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats are considered “healthy” fats, but unfortunately, many people are turned off by these fats after seeing the word, “fat.”
Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are good for heart health, and can boost your healthy “good” HDL cholesterol levels. These types of fats are commonly found in avocados, salmon, mackerel, tuna, and almonds, and can even help tame inflammation in your body, which could otherwise lead to cancer and other major health problems.
Myth #3: Focus on calorie consumption for the best weight-loss results
Many individuals spend more time focusing on calories than on enjoying eating healthy foods. It’s important to keep in mind that not all calories are created equal. For example, 150 calories of soda does not have the same nutritional value as 150 calories of vegetables. Focus less on calorie intake, and focus more on the types of foods you’re consuming. You don’t always necessarily need to track calories on nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables — just keep an eye on the calories you’re consuming from foods such as refined carbs, desserts, junk foods, and soda.
Myth #4: Skipping meals will lead to weight loss
Some individuals think that skipping breakfast, lunch, and mealtimes in general will reduce their overall calorie intake and lead to quicker weight loss. However, skipping meals can lead to overeating later in the day or later in the week — plus, when your body starves, it will reach into your muscle mass for energy reserves. Don’t skip meals or starve your body; instead, eat healthier foods that speed up your metabolism.
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