Myth: Low-fat or fat-free means no calories.

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Fact: A low-fat or fat-free food is most often lower in calories than the same size portion of the full-fat product. But many processed low-fat or fat-free foods have just as many calories as the full-fat version of the same food—or even more calories. They may contain added sugar, flour, or starch thickeners to improve flavor and texture after fat is removed. These ingredients add mega calories so don’t be fooled by the placement of words. (Yoplait brand yogurt may be low fat, it’s still loaded with added sugars.)

Tip: Read the Nutritional Facts on a food package to find out how many calories are in a serving. Check the serving size too—it may be less than you are used to eating.

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Myth: Fast foods are always an unhealthy choice and you should not eat them when trying to lose weight.

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Fact: You can make fast food part of a healthy weight-loss program with a little bit of know-how.

Tip: Avoid super size combo meals, or split one with a friend. Sip on water or fat-free milk instead of soda. Choose salads and grilled foods, like a grilled chicken breast sandwich or small hamburger. Try a “ fresco” taco (with salsa instead of cheese or sauce) at taco stands. Fried foods, like french fries and fried chicken, are high in fat and calories, so order them only once in a while (on your splurge day), order a small portion, or split an order with a friend. Use very very small amounts of high-fat, high-calorie toppings, like regular mayonnaise, salad dressings, bacon, and cheese.

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Myth: Skipping meals is a good way to lose weight.

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Fact: Studies show that people who skip breakfast and eat fewer times during the day tend to be heavier (and grumpier) than people who eat a healthy breakfast and eat four or five times a day. This may be because people who skip meals tend to feel hungrier later on, and eat more than they normally would. It may also be that eating many small meals throughout the day helps people control their appetites. This will all your metabolism to speed up and burn fat faster.

Tip: Eat small meals throughout the day that include a variety of healthy, low-fat, low-calorie foods.

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Myth: Eating after 8-9 p.m. causes weight gain.

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Fact: It does not matter what time of day you eat. It is what and how much you eat and how much physical activity you do during the whole day that determines whether you gain, lose, or maintain your weight. No matter when you eat, your body will store extra calories as fat.

Tip: If you want to have a snack before bedtime, think first about how many calories you have eaten that day. And try to avoid snacking in front of the TV at night—it may be easier to overeat when you are distracted by the television.

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