1. Gaining Muscle. When you’re trying to lose weight, a phrase you might hear is, “you’re not losing weight because you’re gaining muscle from all that working out.” Most people want to believe this because it sounds so nice. Burning fat and gaining muscle at the same time is basically everyone’s goal. Believing this is actually taking place will set you back even further. Losing weight is a process that happens a lot quicker than gaining muscle. While you can lose about 2 pounds per week, gaining 2 pounds of muscle per week takes a lot longer. Some people are lucky if they gain 10 pounds of muscle in an entire year. Muscle grows at a much slower pace than fat can be burned. Another reason that you’re not offsetting your weight loss with muscle growth is because gaining muscle requires a calorie surplus (eating more calories than you burn). If you’re trying to lose weight, you need to be creating a calorie deficit (eating less calories than you burn). The real reason you’re not losing weight is you’re either eating too much or not exercising enough. It can also be a combination of the two. Carefully measure and count your calorie intake to be certain you’re on an adequate diet. You can also slowly increase the amount of exercise you do everyday to burn more calories.

2. Starvation Diets Work. In an attempt to see huge results in a short period of time, many people try starvation diets. These plans put you on a very low calorie diet (under 800 per day) so that you’ll lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time. They’re perfect for weddings, reunions and spring break trips. Or they would be perfect if they worked. The truth is that these starvation diets (cabbage soup diet, banana diet, detoxification diet) do very little to make you look good. When you take in so few calories, your body will actually start breaking muscle tissue down for energy. Instead of losing fat and getting a more toned appearance, you’ll lose muscle and keep your fat. You’ll look less defined with the same amount of fat. That doesn’t seem very appealing if you’re going to a wedding or class reunion. Diets take time. Start early with a solid diet and exercise routine and you will see amazing results.

3. Carbs Are Bad. You’ve probably heard it about a dozen time,”If you want to lose weight, ditch the carbs.” Unfortunately this isn’t very good advice. Carbohydrates aren’t all bad, only some of them. There are simple and complex carbs. Simple carbs are found in foods such as refined flour (white bread), fruit juices, soda, sweet tea, doughnuts, chips and cakes. These carbs are bad and should be eliminated or reduced from your diet. Complex carbs are found in vegetables, 100% whole wheat bread & pasta, oats and brown rice among others. These carbs will actually slow down the digestion process, keep you full for longer and help you reduce your overall calorie intake. These carbs are good and should not be eliminated from your diet. The reason that low carb diets work is because when you eliminate carbs from your intake, you’ll be taking in less calories. Weight loss is about total calorie, not carb intake.

4. Eating Fat Makes You Fat. Another common misconception is that when you eat fat, you get fatter. Just as carbs don’t make you gain weight by themselves, fat will not necessarily cause unwanted weight gain. Remember that it’s your overall calorie intake that dictates whether or not you lose or gain weight. Eating 3,000 calories per day with none of it from fat will cause more weight gain than eating 2,000 calories per day with 30% of it coming from fat. Eating fat doesn’t make you fat, taking in excess calories will.

5. Weight Loss Without Diet. You’ll see lots of people going to the gym week after week, month after month and never seeming to make any improvements to their physique. The reason for this is they’re not combining a solid exercise routine with a diet plan. Working out is very important. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to make a difference on its own. If you want to lose weight, you need to combine both diet and exercise. Dieting doesn’t mean starving yourself or never eating the foods you love, it means introducing moderation into your eating habits. Eat the foods you love but not by the box loads. Slowly cut your calorie intake and you will see the weight come off. If you’ve been going to the gym forever and not noticing any positive changes, fix your diet.

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