3 Fat Loss Myths ­– Busted

Some say weight loss is a journey. Some say you should eat for the body you want, not the body you have. Some say that you can burn calories by eating a grapefruit. Remember that early ‘80s craze? For every grapefruit diet fad that’s debunked, two more weight-loss fables seem to pop up in its place. Here are three of the biggest fat loss myths busted.

Myth No 1: Avoid All Carbs at All Costs

First things first, some carbs really are terrible for you. Processed carbs powered by white flour and refined sugar (think pasta, pastries, fruit juice and beer) offer little or no nutritional value. Instead, they wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels and drive a host of health problems including obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Complex carbohydrates, however, are a necessary component of a healthy diet. Research shows that because of their fiber content they can prevent an array of health issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome, heart disease, diabetes and colon cancer.

Which carbs are complex? Here’s a helpful, albeit incomplete, list:

  • Whole wheat flour, pasta and bread

  • Barley

  • Lentils

  • Brown rice

  • Quinoa

  • Beans

  • Chickpeas

Other fiber-rich foods to consider making staples of your fat-loss diet include nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. Each soaks up water as it moves through your body, so you don’t only feel full, you feel full for longer than you would with other foods.

Myth No. 2: Exercise Is the Key to Fat Loss

If you hate the gym, good news! Research shows that diet, not exercise, is the main factor in fat loss. Pounding the pavement or hitting the pool five days a week won’t help you lose fat and keep it off if you’re not eating well.

That said, exercise is key to maintaining your overall health — not to mention keeping up with your grandkids — so don’t donate your walking shoes to Goodwill just yet. Instead of overdoing it on the treadmill, however, focus on losing fat by building muscle.

Strengthening your body boosts your metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn each day simply by existing. Your basal metabolic rate determines how many calories melt off when you’re at rest, and the higher your body’s percentage of muscle, the higher your BMR.

Myth No. 3: If You Want To Lose Fat, Kiss Snacking Goodbye

If your mother was like mine, she likely warned you about the nutritional dangers of eating between meals. And by “warned you” I mean “ordered you not to spoil the dinner she spent the last 90 minutes making over a hot stove." You may have even issued such a warning to your own kids.

With apologies to mothers everywhere, snacking can be good for you in certain instances. In fact, most experts agree that eating five small meals each day instead of three can help you avoid overeating at those meals. Having a snack when mid-afternoon hunger pangs strike can stop you from bingeing from dinner until bedtime, too.

What you eat matters even more then when you eat it, though. If you’re chowing down on sugary sweets and salty treats between meals, you’re doing your waistline no favors. Opt for a healthy snack that’s high in nutrients, such as vegetables or non-fat yogurt, and you can aid fat loss.

Skip the alcohol, too. It's loaded with empty calories. If the thought of a wine-free book club makes you shudder, start with small changes. Trade one glass of Chardonnay for a clean, cool bottle of sparkling water with lemon that you can feel good about.

When it comes to fat loss, it’s important to separate the wheat from the chaff. And, as this myth-busting session shows, it’s just as vital to separate the whole wheat bread from its processed counterparts and trade your afternoon cookie break for some carrots and hummus. Over time, small changes yield huge results.

6 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism

Did you know that the idea that your metabolism slows down a ton as you age is just a myth? It’s true that you don’t burn calories as much as when you were 20, but the difference isn’t as huge as you may think. So why does it seem easier to put on pounds after 60?

For many people, that answer has to do with their habits. Some adults unconsciously start to limit their activity level instead of enjoying every day to the max. It’s a good thing that you’re determined to get the most excitement out of life!

Staying active is one of the best things you can do to burn calories. Here are six valuable tips for boosting your metabolism:

1. Eat a Colorful Diet

Superfoods help your metabolism by giving it valuable nutrients for energy production. Exotic fruits and colorful veggies are packed with antioxidants, minerals and other natural substances that enhance weight loss. For example, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts have lots of B vitamins and calcium. Citrus fruit such as grapefruit and lemons are rich in vitamin C, which burns fat more quickly. Also, a healthy diet with lots of fruit and vegetables helps you drop pounds in a long-lasting, natural way.

2. Prioritize Healthy Proteins Over Carbs

Your body uses up more energy burning proteins than carbohydrates. Including plenty of healthy protein can kick your metabolism into high gear. Here are some of the best proteins for reaching your weight loss goals:

  • Low-fat cheese or yogurt
  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Nuts and peanuts
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Turkey
  • Tofu

For this to work, it’s important to choose proteins that are low in fat. Also, keep your protein intake balanced with other nutritious foods. Supplements are an important way to make sure you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs.

3. Focus on Aerobic Exercise

It’s time to get sweating. Aerobic exercise does wonders for your metabolism and your heart. Any activity that accelerates your heart rate boosts calorie burning, including using an elliptical machine at the gym or swimming laps in a pool. Brisk walking, Pilates and rowing are some low-impact aerobics options perfect for people with tender joints. If you prefer the high-impact variety, go for a jog or enjoy an intense step aerobics session.

4. Get Your Full Eight Glasses of Water

For your beautiful metabolic machine to run smoothly, it needs water — all eight glasses! Staying hydrated delivers more oxygen to your muscles and increases metabolic activity significantly. According to a study mentioned in Redbook magazine, drinking water supercharged metabolism by up to 30%! Natural juices and drinks containing electrolytes can also be effective, but steer clear of sugary cheats.

5. Stay Energized All Day Long

When you feel energized, it’s easier to exercise and spend time outdoors. This creates a positive cycle where you lose weight and feel great, which actually helps keep your metabolism running hot.

Professional athletes stay in top shape by eating smaller portions of nutritious foods several times during the day. A healthy snack every 3 or 4 hours helps the metabolism burn calories nonstop.

Green tea is another secret for staying energized. Its caffeine content improves fat burning. Special antioxidants called catechins (especially EGCG) boost your metabolism’s output during exercise and while you rest. It’s not a magic pill, but green tea extract can help you drop pounds faster than normal.

6. Live an Adventurous Life

Take care of your metabolism and it will take care of you. Don’t let the temptation to sink into a cozy recliner and binge on Netflix win! Harness the power of your metabolism to do the things you really love in life.

Even your favorite hobbies can keep your blood pumping. Go for a stroll, tend to your garden or indulge your passion for outdoor photography. Staying in motion every day has great effects on your body, emotions and mind.