Monday, June 15, 2009

Big Fat diet lies.....

Big Fat Diet Lies
Ask 10 people for weight-loss advice, and you'll get 10 different answers: Work out constantly. Set a large goal. Resign yourself to winter weight gain. "Most of us have been following certain rules for how to shed pounds our entire lives," says Nancy Snyderman, M.D., chief medical

THE MYTH: The more you work out, the better.
You already know that exercise is one of the best things you can do to maintain your weight and boost your overall health, but overdoing it can actually have the opposite effect. "Working out seven days a week can weaken our immune system, strain our joints, and tire us out," Snyderman says. "Your muscles need time to repair so they can be more efficient during your next session." And if you're exercising with improper form due to fatigue, you'll actually burn fewer calories than if you were exercising correctly, she says. To prevent workout burnout, schedule at least one day off a week, and change things up a bit each session — by doing arm weights one day, say, and leg moves the next — to avoid overusing one set of muscles. Be sure to keep your back straight and not to lean on the handles of cardio equipment, to prevent injury and maximize calorie burn.

THE MYTH: Muscle weighs more than fat. (this is my personal favorite, I've said this for YEARS!)
If you've been working out and the scale reading is higher than you'd like, it's tempting to tell yourself, "Well, that's just muscle weight." After all, muscle's heavier than fat, right? Not so much: There's no such thing as "muscle weight," Snyderman says. A pound of muscle and a pound of fat both weigh...a pound! But because muscle is more dense than fat, having more muscle on your frame than fat makes you look leaner. And there's another benefit: One pound of muscle burns an estimated 50 calories a day, while a pound of fat burns about two calories a day — so the leaner you get, the higher your metabolic rate. "Aerobic exercise, like biking and running, sheds fat, while weight-lifting helps build muscle mass," Snyderman says. "Doing both is a surefire way to rev up your metabolism."

THE MYTH: Fresh fruits and veggies are more nutritious than frozen or canned.
Frozen and canned produce can be equally as healthful as — and even more economical than — the fresh stuff, Snyderman says. Frozen fruits and vegetables are often flash-frozen straight off the vine, which helps them retain nutrients. And some canned produce is actually more nutritious than the fresh, raw kind, since we absorb antioxidants like the lycopene found in tomatoes and the beta-carotene contained in carrots more easily when they come from veggies that have been cooked. Bottom line: "It doesn't matter how you get your fruits and vegetables, as long as you're eating them," Snyderman says.

THE MYTH: You gain more weight in winter.
When the temperature drops, it makes sense that our bodies would inevitably pack on fat for insulation. Except that's not what happens. In fact, our metabolism revs up to keep us warm in colder temperatures, which means we actually burn more calories every day, Snyderman says. So if you're gaining in winter, a change in habits — like exercising less frequently and indulging in comfort foods — is likely to blame. To maintain your weight, try to stick to a balanced diet (even if carbs are all you crave) and your usual exercise routine. Swap indoor activities for your usual outdoor ones — or do some of your workouts out in the cold to boost calorie burn.

THE MYTH: You need to lose a significant amount of weight to see any health benefits.
Meeting your weight-loss goal can be daunting, especially when you have a double-digit amount to lose. But shedding even just a few pounds can have a huge impact on your health. For every two pounds of excess weight you lose, your cholesterol drops an average of 3 points. And in a study from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, men and women were able to bring their blood pressure down after losing as few as nine pounds. "Our bodies can tell when we lose weight, even when it's a minimal amount, and they adjust very quickly," Snyderman says. "So even if you have a significant amount of weight to lose, taking it a few pounds at a time will boost your overall health — and make your ultimate goal more manageable."