By Liz Mocadlo, RD, MS, CDE, Director of Food & Nutrition Services, Aspirus Riverview Hospital & Clinics
Special to the City Times
As a registered dietitian, I am often asked about weight loss myths. Here are a few of the most common myths, as well as their corresponding truths.
Myth: It doesn’t matter what you eat as long as you exercise.
Truth: Exercise can’t undo an unhealthy diet. Eating a variety of food and maintaining reasonable portion sizes is important for overall health.
Myth: Cutting fat and carbs completely from your diet is a smart way to lose weight.
Truth: Eliminating food groups from your diet can be unhealthy. Make sure you include food from a variety of sources to prevent boredom, maintain health, lose weight, and avoid health problems.
Myth: It’s normal and OK to gain weight as we age.
Truth: Our metabolism tends to slow as we age, so we need to adjust our diets accordingly in order to not gain weight.
Myth: In order to lose weight, you have to exercise like a triathlete if you want to see results.
Truth: Talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise plan. Starting out slow and gaining momentum with practice and consistency is the best way to make sure you don’t injure yourself and place too much strain on your muscles, including your heart and joints.
Myth: Weight training will make me bulk up, and I want to avoid that.
Truth: Women’s hormones prevent them from “bulking up” unless they are lifting extreme amounts and training full time. Weight training will actually help you look and feel leaner!
Myth: No pain, no gain.
Truth: If something hurts when you are exercising, slow down and don’t push it. You run the risk of injuring yourself and putting your new workout routine on hold.
Myth: If a food package says it’s “healthy” or “natural,” you can eat as much of it as you like.
Truth: Many food labels can be deceiving. Remember, the point of food packaging is to get you to buy the product, so always check the label before you purchase so you know whether what you are buying is actually healthy.
Myth: Diabetes and cardiovascular disease run in my family, so I will probably get them no matter what I do to change my lifestyle.
Truth: Having a family history of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases increases your risk for developing these diseases, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk, such as eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and having regular screenings and checkups.
Myth: It’s a good idea to do a “cleanse” to jump-start my weight loss.
Truth: Make sure to check with your doctor before starting any “cleanse.” Many of these “cleansing diets” may actually cause more harm than good by depleting your body of nutrients and causing dehydration.