Nancy Snyderman, M.D., chief medical editor of NBC News and author of the new book Diet Myths That Keep Us Fat weighs in on the diet myths it's time to ditch - and the surprising truths that will help you get and stay slim.
THE MYTH: You gain more weight in winter.
When the temperature drops, it makes sense that our bodies would inevitably pack on fat for insulation. Except that's not what happens. In fact, our metabolism revs up
to keep us warm in colder temperatures, which means we actually burn more calories every day, Snyderman says. So if you're gaining in winter, a change in habits - like exercising less frequently and indulging in comfort foods - is likely to blame. To maintain your weight, try to stick to a balanced diet (even if carbs are all you crave)
and your usual exercise routine
. Swap indoor activities for your usual outdoor ones - or do some of your workouts out in the cold to boost calorie burn.
THE MYTH: Weight gain is inevitable as you get older.
"This myth stems from the fact that belly fat begins to creep on as we get older, but a bulge is
avoidable," Snyderman says. Most of that fat isn't gained - it's weight that's shifted due to hormone changes, childbirth
, or weakening bones. And you can slow the shift with strength training, according to a study from the National Institutes of Health: Overweight and obese women who lifted weights just twice a week saw a smaller increase in intra-abdominal fat (7 percent over two years) than those who didn't exercise (their intra-abdominal fat went up 21 percent in two years). The sooner you start pumping iron,
the easier it is to keep that belly trim
down the road.
THE MYTH: Yo-yo dieting wrecks your metabolism.
It's become common wisdom that depriving yourself of food - a.k.a. dieting - puts you into "starvation mode," in which you burn fewer calories because your body needs to hold on to what little nutrition it's
getting; over time, the theory goes, your metabolism slows down for good. But "while extreme low-calorie diets do temporarily lower your metabolism, the effects don't last," Snyderman says. Researchers in Canada compared the resting metabolic rates of women who'd yo-yo dieted for an average of 18 years with what their metabolism should be for their height, weight, and age
- and found no difference in 92 percent of the subjects. "Yo-yo diets don't hurt you, but they do frustrate you because they mean you haven't found the right way to keep the weight off," says Snyderman.
Could the other 4 diet myths on our list be keeping you fat? See the rest of the DIET MYTHS THAT MAKE YOU FAT here.
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Reprinted with Permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.