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The weight loss industry in the US earned 72 billion dollars last year, with 45 million Americans attempting to diet annually. Losing weight can help you get healthier, feel more confident and look your best. However, it’s important to find a sustainable and effective approach in order to get the results you desire. There are countless myths about weight loss that are perpetuated in popular culture and by companies in their attempt to sell products. It is tempting to believe many of these myths because they make the challenge of losing weight seem fast and simple. Buying in to these weight loss myths can be harmful to your health and can even sabotage your weight loss efforts. If you’ve ever bought one of these weight loss myths, you’re not alone. Learning the truth and changing your habits can help you get back on track!

Myth #1: All Calories Are Equal

The old adage goes, weight loss is a s simple as “calories in, calories out.” Current research on nutrition and physiology reveals that losing weight is far more complex than calorie restriction. The source of your calories plays an important factor in how your body converts food into energy. Getting too many of your calories from added sugar can cause glucose levels in the blood to spike, which over time can lead to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance occurs when the cells in your body no longer utilize the hormone insulin efficiently and cannot convert the blood sugar to energy. The pancreas, in turn, produces more insulin in an attempt to metabolize the sugar building up in your bloodstream. Increased levels of insulin signal your body to store the excess sugar as fat. Therefore, the sugar you have eaten not only doesn’t give you energy, it just makes you fat Added sugar also increases levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin which triggers you to eat more. Getting your calories from more nutritious sources that are lower on the glycemic index, like proteins, fruits, vegetables and grains helps to improve satiety and keeps your body working more efficiently to burn fat.

Myth #2: Starvation Diets Can Help You Shed Pounds Fast

Extreme calorie restriction (which generally involves eating less than 1,200 calories a day) is not only an ineffective long-term weight loss strategy, it also can be damaging to your physical and mental health. There are many reasons starvation diets don’t work. When you eat less your metabolism slows down. This is an evolutionary mechanism that kicks in to prevent you from starving. Starvation diets are very difficult or impossible to maintain for the long term. Then, when you return to eating regularly, you’re likely to pack the pounds back on quickly. You also set yourself up to binge eat when you severely deprive yourself of food. Yo-yo and crash diets can damage your cardiovascular system, weaken your immune system, and ultimately compromise your appearance. Lisa Arlen of Live Your Life Nutrition helps you to focus on creating a sustainable and nutritious low-calorie menu plan that will keep you full and meets your body’s nutritional needs.

Myth #3: Eating Fat Will Make You Fat

While the low-fat diet craze of the 1980s has mostly died down, many people still associate high fat foods with weight gain. Dietary fat is an essential nutrient for protecting the organs in your body, regulating certain hormones and aiding in the absorption of other nutrients. While fat is the most energy dense nutrient (it contains 9 calories per gram), fat can still be part of a healthy diet. For example, Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat found in nuts and seeds. This type of fat reduces inflammation in the body. Oleic fatty acids found in foods like avocado have been shown to improve satiety, lower LDL cholesterol and reduce belly fat.

There is no “one-size fits all” weight loss approach. The exact formula for weight loss varies from person to person. As each person is unique- so should be their weight loss program. Working with a professional nutritionist and fitness coach can give you the guidance you need.

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