7 Dieting Myths

Everyone’s biggest gripe with the fitness industry is the sheer amount of (mis)information out there.  It’s impossible to find what you’re looking for, especially when you don’t know if what you’re reading is actually true.  I’ve got seven myths here that have been circulated for long enough.  It’s time to change that.

This list came from this article where a team of researchers found several myths that have been circulating for a while.  For the research backing up my points, check it out.

wake me up, when its over
photo credit: Bona Lumo wake me up, when its over via photopin (license)

Myth #1 – Small changes produce large results

Yes, small changes produce results but it’s going to take more than cutting the cream from your coffee to lose that extra 15lbs you’ve been carrying since college.  You’re body is pretty good about keeping things stable and one or two little changes won’t disturb it enough to cause lasting change.

Instead:  Try for constant small steps in a healthier direction.  Those little steps eventually add up to bigger lifestyle shifts.  How about starting by swapping the fries for a salad at lunch?  Then how about dropping the large Coke for a medium and eventually replacing it with water?  Step by step we’ve eliminated ~800 calories from you regular lunch.  If you were eating that 5x per week, that’s a massive 4000 calories less!

Myth #2 – Setting realistic goals is important

Goals drive change, but it turns out that it doesn’t matter how reasonable they are.  All that matters is that you want to move in the right direction.

Instead: Don’t get caught up with specifics.  Chase something ambitious and don’t let go. Whether that’s doing your first pull up, deadlifting 2x your body weight, or being able to run a 5k, just get out and work for it.  The results will come.

photo credit: foshydog

Myth #3 – Rapid weight loss has poor outcomes

It doesn’t matter if you lose it fast or slow, weight loss is weight loss.  There will always be a chance of gaining the weight back if you slack off but losing it fast doesn’t increase that risk.

Instead:  Match your diet to your motivation.  When you’ve got the energy to be aggressive then shoot for shedding those pounds ASAP.  Slammed at work and need to focus your energy there?  Dial things back a bit and take the slow and steady approach.

Myth #4 – You need to be very ready to diet

You either want it or you don’t.  There is no middle ground here.  It’s either a priority or it isn’t.  It doesn’t matter if you want it a lot or a little, you’ll see progress here.

Instead:  Check out this article on procrastination and get started.  Don’t wait for inspiration to strike or the moons to align.  You are in control here.

Jelly Beans games
photo credit: Mike Prince

Myth #5 – PE class is enough to keep kids healthy

There have been several studies that show increased time in gym class doesn’t change childhood obesity rates at all.

Instead:  Don’t rely on schools to teach your kids how to be healthy, show them how yourself.  This is an awesome article by Lance Goyke on how to inspire your children to live healthier.

Myth #6 – Breast feeding prevents obesity later in life

There were some studies published that claimed this to be true, but these publications have been discredited. Other, better studies have been done proving there is no correlation.  Breast feeding has been show to have a host of benefits, but keeping your child thin isn’t one of them.

Instead: Help establish healthy habits as soon as you can.  You child’s foundational years set the stage for the person they will become.  Promote healthy eating and physical activity will do wonders for their health later in life.

Myth #7 – Sex burns as many calories as exercise

I’m just going to copy the researcher’s writing on this one because a summary won’t do it justice.

The energy expenditure of sexual intercourse can be estimated … For example, a man weighing 154 lb (70 kg) would, at 3 METs, expend approximately 3.5 kcal per minute (210 kcal per hour) during a stimulation and orgasm session. This level of expenditure is similar to that achieved by walking at a moderate pace (approximately 2.5 miles [4 km] per hour).

Given that the average bout of sexual activity lasts about 6 minutes,19 a man in his early-to-mid-30s might expend approximately 21 kcal during sexual intercourse. Of course, he would have spent roughly one third that amount of energy just watching television, so the incremental benefit of one bout of sexual activity with respect to energy expended is plausibly on the order of 14 kcal.

Instead: If you’re using this line, you already know you’re just making things up.  How about you just say what you want instead?

Hope you guys enjoyed the read and learned a thing or two!  Stay tuned for more soon!