When it comes to losing weight, everyone has an opinion. Whether it’s the latest diet fad, exercise craze, juice cleanse, or celebrity-endorsed piece of fitness equipment, it seems that there’s no end to advice and tips that come your way when you tell people you’re trying to shed a few pounds.

Whether you’re aiming to lose five pounds or fifty, we all know that the real key is a healthy diet and regular exercise.

These three common weight loss “tips” are actually myths, and they’re advice you can go ahead and ignore on your journey to a healthier you.

 

“Tone Your Tummy with Sit-Ups”

So here’s the skinny, while it’s important to do exercises that work major muscle groups in your entire body, it’s not possible to spot reduce. Because of that, things like toning your thighs with leg lifts, or shrinking your bum with kickbacks won’t work to fix your trouble areas.

Put simply, if you want a flatter tummy, doing 100 sit ups a day isn’t going to be the thing that gets you there. Sure, doing sit-ups will strengthen and grow the muscles in your abdomen, but without the right combination of diet and exercise you won’t shed fat to see your results.

Each of us will lose weight and lean out in different ways, and there is no one exercise you can do to lose weight from a specific body part. Opt for full body, large muscle movements to get your heart rate pumping and to kick up your calorie burn for the best results.

“Don’t Eat After 8 P.M.”

 

This piece of diet advice has been circulating since before the dawn of the thigh master, even though it has no true backing in science.

Research studies have proven that our bodies do not inherently store food we’ve eaten late at night as fat, nor are people who regularly eat late at night at a greater risk for obesity than the rest of us.

However, it’s really important to note, in instances where late night eating is a problem for some people it’s because of the choices they’re making in the evenings.

If you’re hungry after dinner and are looking for a snack before bed, choose fresh fruits, vegetables or lean protein to satisfy your craving, and not derail your weight loss efforts.

“Don’t Lift Weights If You Want To Lose Weight”

This is perhaps one of the most prevalent myths, especially among women. This terrible weight loss tip can actually do more harm than good to your efforts.

The truth is, lifting weights is a key element in safe and effective weight loss, and it will help you achieve the lean and toned physique you’re after.

But it gets better. In studies where participants were trying to lose weight by cutting calories (a necessity for weight loss), researchers found that their body was using both their fat and muscle stores for energy. What this means simply is that their bodies were eating away at their muscle mass during the process, thereby slowing their metabolisms over time and making it harder to lose more weight as time went on.

However, in participants who ate the same calorie restricted diets, but adding weight training into the picture, researchers saw their bodies using predominantly their fat stores for additional energy. These people lost more body fat, retained their muscle mass, and over time lost more weight without damage to their metabolism.

You can read a summary of the research study here, and the article includes a link to the study itself if you’re interested in more info.

The short version? For great weight loss results, be sure to include weight lifting of all your major muscle groups 2-3 times per week in your workout plan.

 

Truth: Something Is Better Than Nothing

With all the misinformation out there, sometimes a fear of failure can stop us from even attempting to start. While you can go ahead and ignore the above myths, the truth is, even if you followed their advice it wouldn’t actually harm you.

Sure, there are better ways to lose weight and get in shape, but the first step for most of us is doing something to move in the right direction.

 


What has worked best for you when you’ve tried to lose weight? Tell us in the comments!


 Additional image: Flickr

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Nicole Kurz
Nicole Kurz
Nicole is a 30-something fitness and health writer who has successfully lost enough weight that two people can fit in her old pants. She races triathlons, rides bikes, is obsessed with health and wellness, isn’t afraid of the “boy weight section” at the gym. When she’s not blowing your mind with health news on Article Cats, she’s probably laughing at an inappropriate joke somewhere while drinking a cup of the strongest black coffee you can find.