November 15, 2013

We're excited to be working with a new partner, MyFitnessPal, and RD and lead editor for their Hello Healthy blog, Elle Penner. Look for posts from the MyFitnessPal team on fitness, weight loss, nutrition, and more.  —Cooking Light team

By: The Staff

We’re taking a look at 5 persistent food and fitness myths with weight-loss implications that need to be busted. Keeping to a fitness plan is difficult enough without the added stress of conflicting information.Myth #1. No night bites. Is it ok to eat after 8pm? Conventional wisdom says if you eat close to bedtime you’ll gain weight. Recently, thinking has switched to more of a "calories in/calories out" calculation–if you take in more than you burn you’ll gain weight, regardless of what time you eat.

What’s more important are the types of foods you eat before hitting the hay: Don’t go to bed hungry, but don’t sit down for a big meal right before hitting the lights. Avoid sitting down with a bag of chips or a box of crackers, too. Instead, have a light snack like a piece of fruit, small bowl of cereal or a handful of nuts rather than a big meal to take the edge off so you don’t go to bed with a grumbling tummy.

This will also help with another food-related sleep problem: acid reflux. To avoid acid reflux, refrain from eating 3-4 hours before you go to bed.

Myth #2. Pain is gain. Does getting in shape have to hurt?  The old saying "no pain, no gain" dates back to a time when people devised clever rhymes to motivate themselves. But the truth is that exercise can–and should–be relatively pain free. Discomfort and the strain of exertion are to be expected, but pain is the body’s safe word, a way for it to yell, “Stop!”

Myth #3. Spot reduction is a thing. Frustratingly, there is no such thing as spot reduction of fat (without the aid of a liposuction doctor). The best you can do is work and grow certain muscles in a targeted area while simultaneously losing fat overall. This will give the appearance of minimizing certain "problem areas." To completely remove stubborn fatty deposits, get old Dr. Hoover on the line.

Myth #4. BMI works for everyone. Do you ever wonder what the BMI number we’re given means, and why it’s always just a little too high? For years, Body Mass Index (BMI) has been a standard metric for determining whether or not someone is normal weight, overweight, or obese. But now, researchers are rethinking the BMI. The measurement fails to account for body composition and doesn’t differentiate between muscle and fat, or where that fat is distributed in the body.

Since belly fat is more dangerous than other fat, increasing the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and death, the BMI lacks the insight to note possible health problem associated with obesity. BMI also doesn’t factor in differences in musculature, ethnicity, gender, and age. In short, BMI isn’t TMI.

Myth #5: You can’t lose weight with weights. Sure, cardio is tops in calorie burn. But weight lifting and strength training also burn calories, although they are harder to measure. Those who perform weight training have been shown to elevate their metabolism for hours after their workouts, thereby burning additional calories. Makes sense: more muscles need more energy. Lose weight, but don’t lose weights.

What are some food and fitness myths that really irk you? Tell us here or over on the MyFitnessPal and Cooking Light Facebook pages.

This post originally appeared on Hello Healthy, The MyFitnessPal blog.

You May Like