You hear so much about weight loss these days, whether you’re watching TV, scrolling through social media or talking with friends. Lots of the information about what to eat and not to eat, what to do and not to do, can be confusing or even wrong. These misconceptions discourage too many guys from trying to shed excess pounds or keep them from succeeding. The truth is that the key to weight loss for men is not a secret formula. Here are eight dieting myths and men’s weight loss tips that guys often hear, plus the facts you need to know about them.
1. Myth: I have to sweat extra weight off.
Fact: Daily physical activity is an essential part of a healthy weight loss plan. However, exercising alone without changing how you eat is not effective, according to a study, published in the Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders.1 A 185-pound guy can burn about 250 calories in 30 minutes of vigorous weight-lifting or 330 calories running 3 miles, for example.2 That’s less than half the calories in a typical fast food burger, even without the fries and soda. A combination of physical activity and a healthy diet is key to successful weight loss.
2. Myth: Skipping meals is a short cut to weight loss.
Fact: Passing on a meal can reduce your total calorie intake for the day, but it can also leave you so famished that you overdo it on the next meal. What’s more, when you eat healthy meals throughout the day, your metabolism burns calories steadily and you don’t feel hungry all the time. According to Cleveland Clinic, “Smaller, more frequent meals in your daily eating patterns also can aid in a more efficient metabolism compared to a slower metabolism when meals are skipped.” This helps you to stick with your weight loss plan and avoid the “yo-yo” effect of losing weight and then gaining it all back when you start eating normally again.3
3. Myth: To lose weight, I just have to cut calories.
Fact: All calories are not created equal. This is important when you’re trying to lose weight because you need to stay well-nourished and feeling full. Your body requires a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as plenty of fiber, to keep you feeling well. An average-sized grilled chicken breast has about 275 calories, while a standard chocolate candy bar has about 250 calories.4 The chicken will give you plenty of protein to energize your day and help you build muscle. The candy bar may have fewer calories, but it provides you with little more than sugar you burn off in a short time.
4. Myth: Cutting fat out of my diet will get rid of excess body fat.
Fact: Your body needs fats to help it absorb nutrients from the food you eat. Fats also provide energy and help you feel full after eating. The key is choosing the right, healthy fats and sticking to proper portion sizes.5 “The effects of different fats on health varies. And, some fats have shown to have positive health benefits. Replace foods higher in saturated fat with foods higher in unsaturated fats,” says the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.6
Mayo Clinic recommends swapping oil with butter and replacing meat twice a week with fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids. You should also pick lean meat and poultry when you’re grocery shopping, making sure to trim off the excess fat and skin.5 The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests eating a balance of polyunsaturated (such as omega-3s) and monounsaturated fats. To get in your omega-3s, choose fatty fish, walnuts, chia seeds and eggs. Stock up on nuts, olive oil, avocados and peanut butter for monounsaturated fats.6
5. Myth: A no-carb diet is best for losing weight.
Fact: Carbohydrates are essential to a healthy diet. That’s why the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) dietary guidelines recommend that carbs make up 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories.7 But as with calories and fats, not all carbs are like. SmartCarbs are nutrient-rich and low on the Glycemic Index, so they’re less likely to cause your blood sugar to spike. SmartCarbs are digested slowly because they’re high in fiber, helping you feel fuller longer. Whole grain rice, pasta, cereal, fresh or frozen fruit and starchy veggies like beans, corn and sweet potatoes are all SmartCarbs on the Nutrisystem for Men weight loss plan.
6. Myth: Snacking slows down weight loss.
Fact: Eating snacks during the day helps you maintain energy between meals and curbs your appetite, which can prevent you from overeating at the next meal. What you choose to snack on (and how much) is key to your weight loss success. Snacks can either support your weight loss or sabotage it, so be sure to avoid treats that are high in saturated fat, sugar and sodium.8 The ideal snack has lean protein for energy and plenty of fiber to help you feel full until your next full meal.
Nutrisystem for Men plans recommend three snacks each day. You can find a wide range of snack choices on the Nutrisystem menu that can satisfy just about every craving. When putting together your own Flex snacks, consider combinations such as apples and almond butter, whole grain crackers and low-fat cheese, or hummus and raw vegetables. Click the link below for some healthy snack inspo!:
7. Myth: You can lose weight just by eating “diet,” “light” or “lean” foods from the grocery store.
Fact: While Nutrisystem recommends choosing low-fat dairy products and lean meats, eating these foods alone is not a surefire way to lose weight. They are a piece of a larger puzzle, as a healthy and balanced weight loss plan includes a variety of foods. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Your body needs the right nutrients to fuel it throughout the day. The best way to get what you need is to enjoy nutrient-rich foods from a variety of food groups.”9 The Nutrisystem for Men meal plan provides balanced nutrition, combining healthy fats, lean proteins, dietary fiber and smart carbs with all the best vegetables.
8. Myth: Certain foods such as the grapefruit, celery, flax seeds, or goji berries have “miraculous” weight loss powers.
Fact: The research on this is as clear as can be. No specific foods have special powers to help you shed pounds. A diverse and balanced diet is the only healthy way to lose weight and keep it off. You want to build your meals with lean protein (PowerFuels), SmartCarbs, healthy fats and all the non-starchy vegetables you want. The good news is you don’t have to be stuck in a rut of eating the same things every day. Rather, you can enjoy just about any of your favorite foods by choosing healthy ingredients and appropriate portion sizes.