You’ve heard of fuzzy math, but what about fuzzy science? When it comes to losing weight, if the science doesn’t add up, the scale could be stuck on a number you don’t want to see.
From working out early in the morning on an empty stomach to running around in a plastic sweat suit – here are several calorie-burning myths that can cause adverse weight loss results.
1. A calorie is a calorie
Not exactly. 200 calories from vegetables is a lot different than 200 calories from a candy bar. They burn off differently. The intensity of your exercise determines how much fat and carbs you burn. For example, the more intense a workout, the more carbs are burned. Steady, aerobic activity burns more fat. Chocolate is comprised of more carbs and fat than a salad, so the foods are burned at various rates depending on the workout. It is important to remember that a calorie is not just a calorie.
2. Sweat equals tons of calories burned
Not necessarily. The amount of sweat produced may be proportional to how hard you are working out, but other factors may contribute to perspiration. People sweat at different rates, different fitness levels, different temperatures and different levels of humidity. Some people sweat easier than others. You should never equate sweating with how hard you are working out. Pay more attention to your heart rate.
3. Walking and running burn the same amount of calories
It’s surprising how many people believe this, but it is simply unfounded. One mile of running does not burn the same amount of calories as one mile of walking. Running requires more energy than walking and therefore burns more calories during the distance.
4. Not eating before a workout burns more fat
One of the most common calorie burning myths is that more fat and calories are burned when working out on an empty stomach. This is simply not the case. According to nutritional experts, the person who eats something prior to a work out actually burns more fat throughout the entire day. It is important to avoid junk food prior to a work out and stick to foods like a small piece of fruit or low-fat yogurt. A higher percentage of fat can be burned, which means more calories are burned, if a small snack is eaten before a workout – especially in the morning.
5. Repeated weight loss and gain slows the metabolism
Also known as yo-yo dieting, people who constantly lose ten pounds only to find it again a month or two later fears their metabolism is going to be slowed down. This is a myth that has been pounded into the heads of dieters for decades. A recent article in the journal Metabolism squashes this myth with a study from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The results showed that there is no significant difference between those who have yo-yo dieted in the past versus those who haven’t.
Knowing the facts before embarking on your weight loss journey can prevent stress and frustration. Be informed and exercise with wisdom.