Myth 1) Skipping breakfast (or any other meal) is a good idea because it will lower your calorie intake: This is one that is really hard to get your head around. I actually lost weight when I started to eat more. Once I started eating three healthy meals a day and adding in a couple snacks a day (no, not Cinnamon Toast Crunch) so that I was eating reasonable portions and food portions about every three hours, the weight actually started to fall off. And guess what, I didn’t have those terrible binge eating episodes as often because I wasn’t starving myself.
Myth 2) There is some diet or pill that is going to be the answer to your weight problems: The truth is that there is no magic program or pill. The true secret to losing weight and keeping it off is calories in and calories out. It is that simple. Now those calories you put in should be quality ones, but it really is as simple as watching your portions and getting out there and moving your body. This leads me to the next myth.
Myth 3) You can lose weight without exercising: As stated above, in order to lose weight and keep it off you need to work off more calories that you take in. While many calories are burned by just doing your everyday activities like gardening, cleaning your house, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, the truth is that for many of us, this is not enough to lose weight. The difficulty is that in order to lose weight without exercising you have to limit your calories so severely that you end up cheating. There is only so long you can be good when you are constantly depriving yourself. I have found that it is better to eat a little more of the foods you love, within reason, and the exercise will help you lose or maintain your weight. In addition, I find that I actually feel better and have more energy when I get out there and move. My days are always better when I start them out with a nice run or bike ride into the sunrise.
Myth 4) In order to lose weight you have to cut out carbs: While I have lost many pounds on low-carb diets, I have also gained every pound back and then some. I have come to realize that the key to life-long weight loss is to eat a balanced diet—one with lots of lean proteins, fruits, veggies, and whole grains. If you eat this way most of the time, you will find you can actually eat more food than you ever thought you could while still losing the weight. I say most of the time because if you deprive yourself of all decadent foods, again you will most likely find yourself being drawn toward them, which may lead to binges. If you allow yourself a treat every once in a while, you will be less likely to feel guilty about that indulgence.
Myth 5) When you are pregnant you are eating for two: To all my pregnant friends out there, do not get sucked into this myth. When you are pregnant you need to eat a healthy, balanced diet with more dairy products and protein, but you are not eating for two. How much food does a baby need when it weighs less than ten pounds? It is this myth that had me carrying “baby weight” when my kids were 15 and 9 year-olds. (This is such a prevalent excuse, even my husband tried to use it to explain the weight he gained following the birth of Eoin--he never was very good at biology). When you let yourself get that far off track it is really hard to get back to your normal weight. I know that Hollywood would like us to believe you can have a baby and be back to your normal weight right away. Truth is, most of us can't afford a personal trainer or chef to get us back into shape, so it is better to just gain the 25-35 pounds doctors recommend is healthy for mom and baby. That way you are not facing an overwhelming challenge following your pregnancy of trying to fit in exercise and eating completely healthy meals while taking care of a newborn that most likely will deprive you of your usual 6-8 hours of nightly sleep.
Hopefully by debunking these myths you will learn how to change your life for the better. It took me thirty years to learn these lessons. May you learn from my experiences so that you, too, can be on your own journey to flabulous.