Does it feel sometimes like you’ve spent your life on a diet? You probably think you know everything there is to know about weight loss by now, having soaked up the conventional wisdom of your mom, sisters, and friends, and trying your fair share of popular or “miracle” diets. So why hasn’t the weight come off as you expected? Well, maybe because some of your so-called expertise needs re-examining! Here, we expose three big weight-loss myths.
Myth #1: All fat is bad. The enduring legacy of ‘90s dieting is the great fat phobia. You may have eliminated all the fat from your diet, with disappointing results. The truth is, fat is a necessary nutrient for good health. And, from a weight loss perspective, fat helps keep you satisfied, which works to keep you on your path. Just make sure you don’t eat too much fat, and choose “good” fats. Avoid trans fats and focus on eating fat from natural sources—salmon, tuna, and other heart-healthy fish, small amounts of nuts and seeds, and a little olive oil in your salad, can go a long way to keeping you healthy and on-track with your weight loss.
Myth #2: Snacks are essential. You may have heard that adding snacks between meals will help you curb your hunger and reduce the amount you eat during meals. The truth is, constant snacking can derail even the best weight loss plan, simply because most people don’t account accurately (or at all!) for the calories they eat in their snacks. A better rule? Try to eat a small meal every 4 to 5 hours (and never skip a meal). If you require longer intervals between your meals due to your schedule, then build in a snack. Make sure it has some protein and fat, too. Carrots and hummus is a great snack choice, as is celery and peanut butter. But remember to watch portion sizes—it’s a snack, not a meal.
Myth #3: Don’t eat after 8pm. A rule like this can work against you by making you focus even more on food in the evening hours! The truth is, it’s the total amount of calories you eat over the course of the day that matters the most and not when you eat them. However, larger meals late in the evening can interfere with sleep, and sleep is important for successful weight loss. The best plan is to have dinner as early as your schedule allows.
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