5 Common Diet and Fitness Myths

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 - 9:48am

By Michele Silence, MA

Myth #1: If you don’t eat carbohydrates, you’ll lose weight.

This myth falls into the no-carb diet myth or low carb diet myth. It's certainly a popular myth about the atkins diet. Calories/energy consumed vs. energy burned. Whenever you eat more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight. Whenever you eat less calories than you burn, you’ll lose weight. According to all the experts and research there is no other way to lose weight, besides surgery.

Remember, if you eat too many calories you will gain weight. It is best to eat foods that fill you up and satisfy your hunger without adding too many calories. This translates into eating lots of fruits and vegetables while limiting fast food, chips, crackers, and deserts.

Myth #2: If you don’t look overweight, you don’t need to exercise.

Don't fool yourself into buying this diet and exercise myth. Even if you don’t appear to be overweight you can still be "over-fat” inside (which means that your body fat in relation to your muscle mass is dangerously high). High body fat has been associated with a number of medical problems including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, etc.

Consider that heart disease, which is often the result of inactivity and poor eating habits, kills almost as many people in this nation as all other causes of death combined. If nothing else, you should exercise to ward off heart disease. It doesn’t take much more than a daily brisk walk to reduce your risk.

Myth #3: If you exercise daily, you don’t have to watch what you eat.

Here's another exercise myth you should not believe. Even if you exercise regularly, you should still keep track of how much and what types of foods you’re eating. Regular exercise and sound nutritional habits go hand-in-hand. Without one, the other has a limited effect.

Myth #4: To lose weight and keep it off you must exercise hard all the time.

Absolutely not. Just adding a short, brisk walk to your mornings can help you start shedding pounds right away. And, if the habit continues, the weight is more likely to stay off. Do only what you can comfortably do; eventually you’ll be able to do more for longer. What’s important is to do something you like and do it on a regular basis.

Myth #5: Getting a little sore is good—it shows you’ve really worked something.

Delayed muscle soreness means one thing: You did too much too soon. Next time go easier and stop sooner. As you gain strength and endurance, you’ll be able to do more and more without stiff muscles the next day. It’s better to do less and not get sore. You’ll be able to exercise more over the long run and won’t need to take time off because it hurts too much to move.