The top four weight loss myths (by Renee J. Rogers)
- Myth 1: The need to choose Diet over Exercise: Weight Loss = 80% diet + 20% Exercise. Eat Less and Move More is the general recommendation used to describe the likely more complicated relationship between lifestyle weight loss behaviors: diet and exercise. If we focus only on diet by cutting calories, we will lose fat mass and muscle mass at the same time. For this reason it is important to combine diet with exercise. The latter helps us to keep the weight off, especially if we do high level of physical activity (upwards of 225-250 min/week).
- Myth 2: I Exercise, so I get to Eat more. Let’s be honest, some people definitely choose to use exercise as a way to burn more calories so they have more room for food later. If your goal is to lose weight, this method doesn’t work.
- Myth 3: Burning Calories through Exercise means High-Intensity Workouts and Long Session at the Gym. The reality is that moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise is recommended, and we want to work towards burning as many calories as possible through accumulating physical activity minutes. Achieving that volume can be done in a variety of ways (no one exercise mode is perfect).
Research shows that it is not just about the intense workout that happens in the gym. A study of 260 adults participating in a weight management program found that after 18 months, those that had greater amounts of light-intensity activity beyond structured moderate-vigorous exercise lost more weight.
All physical activity burns calories. More intensity equals greater caloric burn, but more overall volume, even at lower intensities and durations can add up too. Consider building physical activity into the entire lifestyle not just at the gym, to maximize overall volume. Activity programming should be designed to balance burning calories with individualized strategies that keep the person moving more and sitting less through their entire day. Even a one-minute activity break can be a move in the right direction.
- Myth 4: Everything has to Change Immediately.
Stacking Behaviors: Everyone is different, so determining what the person feels more comfortable to start with (diet or exercise) may be a positive strategy. The end goal should be Diet + Exercise.
Start slow and go slow: Extreme changes are often not fun and not sustainable. We have to build a foundation for maintaining positive eating and activity habits for the long term.
Make a plan: We need to set short term goals that strategically introduce the next positive layer of weight loss behavior.