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Physical Activity and Weight Loss: 6 Myths Uncovered

While everyone knows active living is essential to weight management, some myths may be keeping you from taking a step to a more active lifestyle. 
Here are some of the most common misconceptions about physical activity and weight loss:
Myth 1 : Daily physical activities such as taking the stairs, standing more than sitting, and walking don't make a difference.
Fact : Everything counts when it comes to weight loss. While daily activities may not improve aerobic fitness,
they still burn more calories than sitting in front of the TV or computer.
Myth 2 : To get into shape or to lose weight, I must do vigorous exercise.
Fact : While vigorous-intensity physical activity burns calories in a shorter time, going a bit longer with moderate-intensity physical activities can burn the same amount of calories. Any aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, badminton or leisure cycling can help you lose weight.
Myth 3 : Short periods of exercise do not work, as no fat is burned during the first 20 minutes.
Fact : During exercise, you use energy from both fats and carbohydrates. Fat is burnt within the first few minutes of physical activity. However, it is recommended that people engage in at least 10 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. Remember, some physical activity is better than none!
Myth 4 : Women who do muscle-strengthening exercises will get big muscles.
Fact : Women do not have enough hormones required to create big muscles. Strength training can help keep tummy fat off your body.
Myth 5 : I need special clothing to exercise effectively.
Fact : For most types of physical activity, you don't need special clothing. You can exercise safely and effectively wearing comfortable sports shoes and loose fitting everyday clothes. However, some activities like cycling or soccer may require you to wear protective gear like helmets or shin guards.
Myth 6 : After I reach my ideal weight, I can cut back on the amount of physical activity.
Fact : To maintain your weight, you should do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity each week. However, every person is different and some people may need to accumulate more than 250 minutes of aerobic activity in a week to prevent weight gain.

So Remember...

  • Any kind of physical activity can make a difference.
  • You need to sustain physical activity in order to maintain your energy balance.
  • You should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week to maintain your weight.
  • However, not everyone is the same, so you should adjust the amount of activity you accumulate to a level that is effective for you
    to maintain your healthy body weight. For some people this may be more than 150 minutes per week.


9 Myths About Diet And Weight Loss

Reducing weight is a matter of balance. To shed pounds, you need to consume fewer calories than you burn. Learning about the foods you choose can help you make healthier choices and reduce your calorie intake. Here's the truth about some popular food myths you may come across.
Myth 1 : Certain foods, like grapefruit, celery or cabbage soup, can burn fat and make you lose weight.
Fact : No food can burn fat. However, as fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calories and high in fibre, they make you feel full on fewer calories.
Myth 2 : Going vegetarian means I am sure to lose weight and be healthier.
Fact : Vegetarian food can be high in fat or sugar content if they are not prepared healthily. Calories from deep fried or heavily sweetened vegetarian foods can still cause you to gain weight. Therefore, make sure you choose vegetarian options which are prepared using less fat and less sugar.

Also, some nutrients our body require are more easily found in animal products. To stay healthy, plan your diet to make sure it includes all the essential nutrients such as iron, calcium, vitamin B12 and zinc.
Myth 3 : To lose weight, I should cut out carbohydrates from my diet.
Fact : Excess calories from any source, not just carbohydrates, will be stored as body fat, but, unrefined carbohydrates such as brown rice and wholemeal bread are actually highly nutritious and healthful. These whole grains are packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients and provide bulk so you feel full faster. It's a good idea to get at least half of your carbohydrates from whole grains.
Myth 4 : I must avoid desserts to lose weight.
Fact : You don't need to cut out all sweet foods to lose weight. If you deprive yourself, you may end up eating more. Treat yourself occasionally but don't overindulge - have a small portion to satisfy your sweet tooth or have dessert, but choose a lower-calorie option at your next meal.
Myth 5 : A fruit-only diet can help me lose weight.
Fact : Diets which recommend omitting or restricting certain types or groups of food may help you lose weight simply because they are low in calories. However, these diets are not advisable as they lack variety and do not provide all the nutrients the body requires for good health. It is also hard to maintain such diets in the long run.
Myth 6 : I shouldn't snack between meals.
Fact : You can snack and still lose weight as long as you consume fewer calories than you use. If you snack between meals, eat smaller portions during meal time and choose healthier snacks like fresh fruits or low fat yoghurt.
Myth 7 : Eating at night makes me gain weight.
Fact : When you eat matters less than how many calories you consume. To prevent weight gain, you need to balance your calorie intake with the calories you burn so you don't get more than you need. So if you are tempted to have a late night bite, think about all the calories you have already consumed throughout the day.
Myth 8 : If I only eat one big meal a day, I will lose weight.
Fact : Our body needs a regular supply of glucose from food to function optimally. Skipping meals may lead to impulsive snacking and overeating. It may also lower your metabolic rate which can cause weight gain when you return to your normal eating pattern. In the long run, it may also lead to nutrient deficiencies.
Myth 9 : I can use meal replacements to shed the pounds.
Fact : Meal replacements can be used for weight loss, but only under medical supervision. They are usually prescribed for a short period, but are not a long-term solution. They lack some beneficial phytochemicals you need to stay healthy.

The best way to keep trim is to make changes toward active living and healthy eating such that these habits become a lifestyle you enjoy and can sustain in the future.

So Remember...

  • To reduce weight, consume fewer calories than you burn.
  • How much you eat is more important than when you eat.
  • Distribute your calorie intake throughout the day so that your body receives the nutrients it needs and you are less tempted
    to overindulge.
  • Skipping meals and fad diets cannot be sustained in the long run and don't provide your body with important nutrients
    you get from eating balanced meals.