WEIGHT LOSS AND FITNESS MYTH #1:
Dieting will eliminate fat.
Your body can’t discriminate between intentional calorie deprivation (as in a diet), and starvation. When you dramatically reduce your caloric intake, your body shifts into a protective mode by slowing your metabolism down and holding onto fat (an important energy source) and burning muscle instead. In the beginning of a diet you WILL lose weight by dramatically cutting calories. But it won’t be fat loss, it will be water weight and lean muscle tissue – the exact OPPOSITE of what you want to get rid of.
Not only will harsh diets slow your metabolism down to a crawl, causing your initial weight loss to come to a gradual halt, they will also inevitably bring about a “rebound" effect. This rebound will make you even fatter than you were before starting the diet. When you rebound, not only do you generally put on more weight than you actually lost with the diet, your percentage of body fat generally increases because your body cannibalized muscle tissue as an energy source during the dieting process. Thus the “yo-yo" effect that almost all dieters experience.
To permanently lose the fat stores in your body, you’ve got to burn more calories and increase your metabolic rate (the rate at which your body burns fuel throughout the day – even when you’re NOT exercising) with a precise exercise routine and proper nutrient ratio adaptations (that means eating the right stuff at regular intervals). Even if you don’t exercise (but I recommend you do), just eating 5-6 small, high quality meals each day (and by a meal, I mean anything from a nutritious snack to a sit-down dinner) will substantially increase your metabolism – and you’ll burn more calories!
WEIGHT LOSS AND FITNESS MYTH #2:
Pills, powders and shakes can make you skinny.
Fat burners, diet pills, nutritional supplements – you know who gets the most out of these products? The manufacturers and sellers. Some of this stuff is extracted from foods and has a role in nutrition, but it’s not a substitute for eating right. And much of the “miracle" drugs you see advertised are exceedingly dangerous to you. Don’t believe me? The next time you see an advertisement in a weight loss magazine for one of these “miracle" products – or if you see a commercial on TV for one – read or listen to the DISCLAIMERS AND WARNINGS that accompany these ads. A lot of this stuff is dangerous and it has no place in a healthy, permanent weight loss and fitness lifestyle.
Sure, if you’re willing to risk exposing your body to these drugs, you might be able to lose some weight – at first. But you will experience no long-term benefits – none! In fact, it’s really much worse than that. “Dieting" in any form that denies your body the essential nutrients and calories it needs to function efficiently can cause you to lose weight…until you stop the diet. And anyone who has “dieted" knows you cannot sustain the diet indefinitely. Your body screams out for nourishment and eventually you give in. That’s when the rebound effect begins. You will inevitably regain all the weight you lost – PLUS SOME. And the regained weight is predominantly fat. During your diet your body cannibalized some of your lean muscle to use as fuel. After the diet, your regained weight does not come back in the form of lean muscle plus some fat – it comes back almost exclusively as fat.
WEIGHT LOSS AND FITNESS MYTH #3:
A regimen of aerobic exercise will burn the most fat.
I see women who spend 4 days a week, 40 minutes at a time, on the stair-stepper, treadmill or bicycle who don’t lose weight! I know men who run 6 miles a day who have no muscle tone and rolls of fat around their waists. You’ve been led to believe that if you want to lose fat, all you have to do is regular aerobic exercise. There’s more to it than that.
You must be able to monitor and control your cardiovascular intensity to maximize the number of calories you burn. And, if aerobic exercise is not supplemented with resistance training (lifting weights) to at least maintain muscle mass, you cannot effectively accelerate the fat loss process. Each pound of lean muscle tissue burns 35-50 calories a day while your body is at rest. Whereas body fat is not metabolically active, so little to no fat is burned for each pound of body fat.
Therefore, a combination of properly monitored aerobic exercise and resistance training enables you to rapidly burn the maximum amount of fat. SPECIAL NOTE: This may sound like it’s involved and time consuming. It’s not! With the proper fitness and nutrition system in place, you can quickly burn fat, lose weight and get fit in as little as 40 minutes per session – exercising in the privacy of your home only 3 times per week. And in 12 weeks you can dramatically transform your body.
WEIGHT LOSS AND FITNESS MYTH #4: Resistance training (weight lifting) doesn’t burn fat.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Muscle is metabolically active tissue. Fat is not. Fat is an energy source for the body, but most people have much more than they need. Fat does not use energy – it is used as energy. Muscle uses energy. Lots of it. The more lean muscle you have, the more fat you burn. And here’s the biggest benefit, and why everyone needs to incorporate resistance training in their exercise program: the more lean muscle you have, the more fat you burn – WHILE YOU ARE AT REST!
You see, that’s really the ultimate weight loss and fitness secret. Looking great is not just a function of how much fat you burn when you’re working out, because you can only exercise so much in a given week. The real secret is how metabolically active your body is the other 95% of the time. People with more lean muscle burn fat at a much greater rate than do those with less lean muscle. That doesn’t mean you have to look like Arnold or Madonna to be an efficient fat-burning machine. But you do have to at least maintain – and preferably increase – your lean muscle tissue. It’s easy with the proper resistance training program.
SPECIAL NOTE: women will NOT become “bulky" or “musclebound" by incorporating resistance training into their exercise routine. In fact, just the opposite is true. Lean muscle is more compact and firmer than fat. Resistance training will make women smaller, firmer and sexier. Women are not genetically predisposed to adding muscle “mass. " Men, on the other hand, will gain mass and see exciting muscle growth through the proper use of nutrition and resistance training.
WEIGHT LOSS AND FITNESS MYTH #5:
Thigh reducers, tummy trimmers and body part shapers can “spot" reduce.
All over the country people are falling for infomercials touting muscle-specific exercisers for body fat reduction. You cannot reduce your waist size by working the abdominal muscles, nor can you reduce your thighs with a thigh exerciser. It’s a scam. A total rip-off. The only way to reduce body fat is by combining a precise program of supportive nutrition with the right balance of aerobic and resistance exercise. If it sounds hard, it’s not. It’s just hard to cut through all the lies, misinformation and total nonsense being shoved down your throat by these big, mega-buck companies attempting to further line their pockets at your expense.
Marilyn is a successful exercise/nutrition trainer and coach who works with women who are 50+. Her website http://www.fitandfabulouswoman.com provides fitness information, fitness products, fitness services, fitness advice and on-line personal training that support mature women in being their best. . . one-stop shopping for a healthy body, a clear mind and a soaring spirit.