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8 Eating Myths

There's a lot of bad advice going around. Consequently, people who would otherwise have slim waistlines have given up in frustration and believe they are just doomed to be fat. This short article tackles eight of the many myths. There are plenty more, of course.

Myth 1. People's body types determine how much they weigh.

Truth: What you weigh is a function of your combined lean mass and fat. It takes a certain number of calories to sustain body tissues. We know from mass starvations, such as at Auschwitz, that people of all body types can be thin. How much you weigh is a matter of how many calories you eat.

Myth 2.  Some people have very fast metabolism, and can eat anything they want and not gain weight.

Truth: The wording of this myth, like the wording of the first one, is misleading. What you weigh tells you very little. What is relevant is your body composition--your percentage of body fat to your overall weight. Now, to address the metabolism myth. Yes, some people do burn calories faster than other people. But if you are sucking down the typical triple portions that make up an American meal, you are going to have excess bodyfat regardless of your metabolism. Thin people may appear to be eating as much as fat people, but they aren't.

Myth 3. It's what you eat, not how much you eat. This is why food combination diet X works so well!

Truth: Have you ever seen folks who live on chips and soda? There are millions of people who live on junkfood yet are thin. They aren't healthy, of course. What makes you fat is eating more calories than you expend. Quantity is, for most people, the core problem.

Myth 4. You need to count calories.

Truth: No. This makes eating an exercise in anxiety. Instead, enjoy your food. Just have it in small portions.

Myth 5. You need three square meals a day.

Truth: This sends your insulin bouncing up and down like a yo-yo. If you want to avoid hunger and have a lean body, eat six small meals a day.

Myth 6. The food pyramid is healthy.

Truth: Actually, it's a formula for diabetes and other diseases.

Myth 7. You should never eat before going to bed.

Truth: This really doesn't hurt, provided the amount of food is small. In fact, a person who is training hard may find it advantageous to eat shortly before going to bed. This myth, however, does have its roots in truth. People who make a habit of stuffing themselves before going to bed are asking for trouble.

Myth 8. I can always exercise it off. For example, if I eat a big piece of chocolate cake, I can just go for a walk and burn it off.

Truth: If you look at the calorie consumption involved in various activities, you will see that "walking off" an 1800 calorie snack is going to take an enormous amount of walking. Watch the calorie counter on one of those calorie-counting treadmills, some time. After an hour of huffing and puffing, congratulate yourself if you burn 100 calories. Can you do that 17 more times on the same day?

Only high-intensity exercise can burn calories at an appreciable rate. But most people do not engage in high-intensity exercise. And nobody can engage in it frequently enough to "burn off" a steady habit of overeating. A great body begins with your food choices. There is not much you can do to correct poor ones.


Article Authorship

The articles on this site are authoritative, because:

  • Every contributor is an expert in his or her field.
  • The articles comply with the accepted principles of the bodybuilder literature.
  • The articles comply with the teachings of such luminaries as 8-time Mr. Olympia Lee Haney.

 Where an article is not bylined with a specific author's name, it was written by Mark Lamendola (see photos on home page and elsewhere on this site). Mark is a 4th degree blackbelt, has not been sick since 1971, and has not missed a workout since 1977. Just an example of how Mark knows what he's talking about: In his early 50s, Mark demonstrated a biceps curl using half his body weight. That's a Jack LaLanne level stunt. Few people can even come close. If you want to know how to build a strong, beautiful body, read the articles here.

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