Special Report

28 Weight Loss Myths That Pack on Pounds

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11. Losing weight is all about willpower

“Willpower is overrated in its importance,” Hirshberg said. Being overweight or obese has a huge hereditary component, she noted. Taking certain medications plays a significant role, too. Other factors such as stress, poor sleep, and emotional issues can contribute to weight gain. “It’s never just a failure of one individual; that’s just utterly unreasonable,” she added. By and large, however, exercising some willpower over what we choose to put in our mouths certainly can’t hurt.

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12. Eliminating an entire food group is a good idea

There have been many diet fads over the years and some of them have been about cutting all fat or all carbs. But these diets have never lasted, and the reason is simple — they don’t work, Brown noted. “We need protein, carbs, and fats.” The body won’t function properly if it’s missing one food group and will go into survival mode trying to make up for the loss. “Such extreme changes never lead to long-term results,” Brown added.

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13. Intense workouts are better for weight loss

Intense workouts will get you more bang for your buck at the beginning of your weight loss journey, Fink said. “But you can’t do it every day — it’s not a healthy way to lose weight.” You have to vary the workouts and you have to give your body time to rest. Otherwise, your risk of injuries and not recovering as well increases significantly, she noted. You’re probably going to gain all the lost weight back once you’re injured and unable to work out for weeks.

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14. Healthy foods are unaffordable

There is a famous comparison between a $5 fast food menu item or, say, a pound of apples that can easily cost as high as $4 — and we’re not even talking organic. But healthy foods don’t always have to break the bank. “Beans and rice are a very affordable option,” Hirshberg said. “You get cheap protein along with carbs and amino acids you need.” While fresh produce can be expensive, you can buy frozen or in-season fruits or vegetables, which are much less expensive.

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15. 3 meals and 2 snacks a day is best

The three meals and two snacks a day eating formula has been popular for a few years, and some people swear by it. While it may work for some people, the reality is that everybody is different and one solution may not be right for everyone. “You should eat when you’re hungry,” Hirshberg said. Putting off a meal just to fit into some regime can easily lead to overeating later because you’ll be starving, she noted. There is nothing wrong with eating when hungry — you just have to eat healthy food, she added.

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