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Top 10 Weight Loss Myths

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Updated February 15, 2014

Weight loss myths seem to always be around, whether they're on the Web, sent through e-mail or in the latest celebrity magazine. Believing these ideas can cause you more harm than good. Read on to find out the answers behind some of the most popular myths about weight loss.

1. If I drastically cut calories, I'll lose weight faster.

When you take your caloric intake down too low, you are actually sending your body into "starvation mode." Your body wants to maintain your weight when it "thinks" you are starving; therefore, your metabolism will actually slow down and you may not lose weight.

2. The stricter the diet, the better it will work.

The stricter a diet is -- such as completely eliminating entire food groups or eating just one food -- the less effective it will be in the end. You'll get tired of the allowed food and when you feel really deprived, you're likely to call it quits altogether.

3. I should get rid of my favorite less-than-healthful foods.

By treating yourself to your old favorites now and again, you'll stay motivated and you'll be less likely to give in to a binge. (Just make sure you get back on track after your treat.) Moderation is the key to successful, long-term weight loss.

4. Eating late at night will cause me to gain weight.

All things considered, it doesn't really matter when you eat, only how many calories you eat and burn in a day. Whether you're eating in the morning or at midnight, your body turns any extra calories into fat over the course of time. In fact, eating a light snack -- like cheese and crackers -- before bed may help you sleep better.

5. I shouldn't eat between meals.

On the contrary, eating a small, healthful snack between meals will help keep your blood sugar stable and your metabolism going strong. You'll also avoid getting too hungry so you don't overeat at your next meal.

6. Fat is bad.

Everybody needs to include some fat in their diet. Fat makes dishes more satisfying and palatable. Some fats are even good for you, like omega-3 fatty acids, which are found predominantly in fish and shellfish, and monounsaturated fat like that in olive oil.

7. Skipping meals will help me lose weight.

On the contrary, skipping meals may actually cause you to gain weight! Your metabolism plummets and you get overly-hungry when go too long without eating. Plus, you may not be reaching your daily calorie requirements which will backfire on you (Remember, eating too few calories can cause weight loss to stall). That's why eating the meal we skip most, breakfast, can actually help us lose weight.

8. Dairy is a "don't" on healthy diets.

With non- and low-fat varieties of most dairy products on the market, working dairy into your diet is a definite "do." Women in particular need the calcium dairy products provide, not to mention the fact that research has shown eating enough calcium can actually give our weight loss efforts a boost.

9. It all boils down to willpower.

Yes, willpower may be a factor when it comes to how we respond to cravings, but a lot more factors can impact our weight, including genetics, culture, home environment, activity level and health issues. The good news is eating a healthy diet and exercising can help you overcome these influences.

10. Drinking a lot of water can help me lose weight.

Drinking water in and of itself will not lead to weight loss. Of course, water is key to a healthy lifestyle and drinking enough has many benefits, but when people lose weight due to drinking water, it's most likely because they're substituting it for high-calorie juices and sodas.
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