Ever fear that what you’re doing, eating or even thinking will make you fat?
Fear not! Today I’m going to repudiate the myths about weight gain I most frequently hear or see. In my humble opinion, you won’t get fat if (Fill In the Blank).
1. I don’t do a cardio workout every day. As I mentioned in a recent post about “pumping it up,” strength building exercises are good for you. Not only will your muscles be more toned, but your metabolism will speed up as muscle replaces fat. So give yourself a cardio break and build up those biceps.
2. I don’t work out at least an hour. Twenty minutes of dog walking is better 20 minutes of watching the Dog Whisperer (unless, perhaps, your dogs are as ill-trained as mine seem to be). If you like to watch TV, whatever the show may be, then get down on the floor and give me 20! The moral to the story is: don’t give up on the idea of exercise if you only have a few minutes to give. Something is better than nothing.
3. I put dressing on my salad. I have memories, years ago, of watching women ordering salads sans dressing in fear of putting on a pound or two. First of all, olive oil is a monounsaturated fatty acid, which when consumed in moderation, is known to be a healthy dietary fat. So it can’t hurt to enjoy a little lemon, Dijon or shallot vinaigrette. If you must use a less healthy dressing based in mayonnaise, order it on the side and use it sparingly. Who likes a salad swimming in a sea of dressing anyway?
4. If I don’t cleanse my body of its toxins. Though I’ve never actually done a cleanse to lose weight and/or feel great, I’ve always been skeptical of the many claims special cleanse products promise. I just read this wonderful post by Brian Dunning of Skeptoid, and he lays out all the false promises eloquently. Ironically, according to Dunning, the human body already has a 100% proven method of detoxifying itself.
5. I eat red meat. I’ll be the first to admit that I have been reducing my intake of red meat for a while. There are a number of wonderful health and environmental benefits to eating more vegetarian meals. However, I don’t think we’ll turn into a cow if we eat a bit of cow once in a while, especially if it comes from a local farm.
6. I eat fat. Though I’ve been known to say we are what we eat, the rule doesn’t always apply to fat. As duly noted in point #3 above, not all fats are created equal. In fact, fat is a vital nutrient our bodies need for growth, healthy skin, vitamin-absorption and regulation of bodily functions. If you differentiate good fats and bad ones and follow recommended daily allowances, a little fat will do your body good. Read my post “What the Fat?” for more specifics.
7. I eat carbohydrates. From Atkins to the Ideal Protein diet, many believe that low-carb diets will yield less fattening results to the physique. But carbs are another essential nutrient which provide energy, protect the body from disease and help control body weight. You should not deprive yourself of “good” carbohydrates found in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains. If you choose to skimp on healthy carbs, be sure to do so wisely.
8. I don’t count calories. I realize there are many people who have had great success in tracking Weight Watches points and using other measurement systems. If it the system ain’t broke, don’t fix it! However, counting calories may also bring about an unnecessary obsession over food and eating. When I lost 25 pounds years ago, I did not by focusing on a healthy, balanced diet filled with whole foods – not by measuring, weighing and calculating every morsel of food I put in my body (that and the occasional marathon, of course).
9. I don’t lose weight overnight. I know it is frustrating to monitor what you’re eating without getting results – either on the scales or in your clothes’ size. The downside of losing weight gradually is the delayed gratification. But if a promise of instant results lures you, be warned that the results may not last. My 25 pounds took 2-3 years – but it hasn’t come back to haunt me or weigh me down.
10. I eat dessert. There are many proponents of a sugarless diet, and maybe one day I’ll get closer to that place myself. Until that time, a little reward every now and then doesn’t seem to hurt, especially if I’ve just completed an 18-mile training run. Reward, to me, comes in the shape and size of a chocolate soufflé. I’m not fat yet, so I’m going to treat myself to sweet endings, every now and then.
Photo courtesy of weight lifting complete.