Weight Loss Myth-busting: What You're Getting Wrong

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If Im thin then Im healthy, right? Wrong. There are several misconceptions people have about weight, losing it and whats healthy. Heres the low-down on some myths were better off busting.

Kids have to lose weight to shed obesity: As children grow, they put on weight, but how much is normal, and how much is excessive and potentially a hazard to their health? In the latest study, published in the journal Lancet, researchers from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the National Institutes of Health developed a mathematical model to differentiate between healthy weight gain and the extra pounds that contribute to obesity. The model takes advantage of more accurate assessments of how many calories heavier children take in, as well as how quickly and efficiently they burn off those calories, and the ratio of fat to muscle in their bodies. The resulting model shows some kids can outgrow their obesity around puberty even if they dont lose weight. Thats because obesity is a measure of not just weight but the ratio of height to weight known as the body mass index (BMI), and as children grow, they transform fat into muscle, which can weigh as much, if not more than fat tissue. So kids with a high BMI that might suggest obesity may not actually be overweight.

Still, the researchers say that teaching children about portion control and balancing what they eat with  physical activity to burn off excess calories are important lessons to learn early.

(MORE: 6 Weight Loss Tips Straight from the Nations Premier Spas[1])

You cant be fat and still be fit: A persons level of physical fitness, as well as his weight, matters for overall health. A study in 2012[2] showed that overweight and obese people were at no greater risk of developing or dying from heart disease[3] or cancer compared to normal weight people, but only if they were as metabolically fit as their slimmer counterparts. When it comes to premature death, its less about how much fat a person carries, but what kind of fat. Visceral or belly fat, for example, is considered more metabolically harmful than fat that sits just under the surface of the skin. Visceral fat, which is embedded more deeply within muscles and organs like the liver, release agents that can disturb the bodys energy balance, shunting calories into fat. Lean people can have high levels of visceral fat in their tissues, while overweight individuals may be carrying more subcutaneous fat and therefore could even be metabolically fitter than those who are slimmer.

Most people who put on weight, however, dont enjoy a fit status for long. Eventually, the excess weight can contribute to higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.

You can eat what you want and just exercise to lose weight: Cutting calories by adjusting what you eat is actually the most effective way to lose weight. Ideally, consuming fewer calories and exercising is a more efficient way of dropping pounds, but for most people, passing up the chips is easier than sweating it out on a treadmill for an hour. Downing 140 calories from a can of soda, for example, takes only a few minutes, but would take half an hour of moderately intense walking to burn off. You can greatly undermine weight loss efforts and general health by not considering the quality of the foods you eat. It is important to consider calorie density and nutrient density of foods to maximize exercise performance and improve health status, says Gayl Canfield, the director of nutrition at Pritikin Longevity Center.

(MORE: The Secrets to Weight Loss: Keep a Food Journal, Dont Skip Meals, Eat In[4])

Long bouts of low-intensity exercise are best for losing weight: Fitness experts are trying to de-bunk the myth that pounds melt off faster with low-intensity aerobic exercise than higher intensity workouts. Its true the body burns proportionally more fat calories than carbohydrate calories at a lower training intensity, however, should you increase your exercise intensity into the cardiovascular zone you will burn more overall calories, says Scott Danberg, the director of fitness at Pritikin Longevity Center. Mixing in some short bouts of high-intensity exercise can translate into benefits on the scale.

Eating protein is the best way to feel full and keep calories in check: Lean protein is indeed a good way to get filled up, but fiber is even better, because it comes with fewer calories. To make sure youre not feeling hungry but still getting all your nutrients, load your plate with fruit, vegetables beans and grains.


  1. ^ 6 Weight Loss Tips Straight from the Nations Premier Spas (healthland.time.com)
  2. ^ study in 2012 (healthland.time.com)
  3. ^ heart disease (topics.time.com)
  4. ^ The Secrets to Weight Loss: Keep a Food Journal, Dont Skip Meals, Eat In (healthland.time.com)

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  1. Reply

    How Do I Get In Shape Over The Summer? I weigh 130 plus pounds and I’m 13 years old. But the 130 pounds is mostly fat. By fall when school starts again, I want to have lost some fat and gained some muscle. Every day I play DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) on difficult, and it is difficult, I sweat my butt off every time. I also go to the pool and swim 24 laps every other day. But I haven’t seen any results. Should I keep doing what I’m doing, or should I add something on? Please give me some fat loss tips, thanks!

      • HealthNut
      • August 4, 2013

      First of all…good for you for working out and taking charge of your health. I am sure you are a beautiful person.
      How’s your diet?
      Are you eating enough protein? Are you eating a lot of empty carbs like pastries….? How’s your sugar intake?
      Sometimes the scale doesn’t change but our bodies do. Try taking measurements. I had lost 13 inches off of my body….but only 10 lbs on the scale.
      Keep in mind that muscle weighs more than fat.
      Keep a food journal – it will hold you accountable. Look up online how many calories you should eat based on your age, height, weight, and activity level.
      Hope this helps sweetie and best wishes.

  2. Reply

    Am I Doing Well On The First Day Of My Diet? Anything I Shouldn’t Eat And Any Tips? I’m 14 and I’m going on my very first diet so that I can lose belly fat for the summer. I’m doing exercise as well as watching what I eat and counting calories. I only plan to lose around 7 pounds, so I have 3 months. I was wondering if there’s anything I ate so far that I shouldn’t of ate and what I should avoid eating in the future? Also does anyone have any belly fat loss tips?

    SunBest Fruit Biscuits Apples & Raisins – 168 cal.
    1 whole wheat flour tortilla with half a cup of refried beans – 240 cal.
    1 cup of cheerios and half a cup of organic whole milk – 175 cal.
    1 cup of split pea soup – 160 cal.

    So that all comes to around 745 calories. I haven’t had dinner or a midnight snack yet, so I know that by the time the day is over I’ll have eaten at least 1100 calories.

  3. Reply

    I Am 5foot 11 Inches Tall And Weight 230lb. Can Any Body Give Me Some Weight Loss Tips Or Diets? Hi. I am a 15 year old kid, who is 5’11, 230lb. And I need some weight loss tips before school starts. I work out alot. I play high school football, and competitive baseball in the summer. During football I lose all of my weight, but after that I gain all of my weight for baseball season. Please HELP!!! What can I do?

      • HealthNut
      • August 4, 2013

      No fats , no sugars and no junk food plus all the exercise you can manage ,

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