1. With Americans now having the dubious distinction of being the most obese population on the planet, the “information highway” has become jammed–bumper-to bumper–with work-out regimes geared to getting us back in shape.

    And since statistics show that men are about 25% more likely to be over-weight than their female counterparts, a lot of these new weight-loss strategies are geared specifically for men–or so they say.  And if you believe all the hype you find on TV, the radio, the Internet, and in magazines, then weight-loss can really be as simple as just getting out there and staying active. But, is that really all there is to it?

    Here are a few myths about weight-loss that according to a new study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association lead men to avoid eating healthier (and the realities behind them):

    Men only need to exercise to lose weight.

    The fact of the matter is, it takes a lot more time to burn calories than it does to accumulate them. Statistically, a 200-pound man will burn about 450 calories during a typical three-mile run. This is the same amount of calories contained in a typical hamburger or small piece of chocolate cake. So, unless you are planning to work out for several hours each and every day, simply working out isn’t enough. You have to cut down on calories to lose.

    Weight-loss is weight-loss; it works the same for every man.

    The ability to lose weight depends on many individual physiological factors, not the least of which is metabolism; and everyone’s metabolism is different. While men do generally lose weight faster than women due to body composition factors, men who eat larger portions of food or food higher in calories, do not lose as quickly or easily as men who eat controlled, less calorie-charged portions. Therefore, every man’s weight-loss regime should be personalized to be most effective.

    Losing weight means you have to eliminate alcohol: sugar equals calories.

    While it is true that too many alcoholic beverages can lead to weight gain, alcohol in moderation can actually be part of an over-all healthy diet–as long as you consider those calories as part of your total caloric intake. Yes, alcohol means additional calories, but if you are willing to substitute that glass of beer for that pie on the desert cart, you can still lose weight and built a leaner body.

    Low-fat or low-carb automatically means healthier diet.

    Although loading up on either fats or carbohydrates will most likely lead to weight gain, both play important roles in maintaining over-all health. However, fats and carbohydrates–it should be clearly understood–are not all created equal. Keep in mind that trans- and saturated-fats can increase your cholesterol while un-saturated fats can have the opposite effect. Your body needs a balance of both to lose weight and then maintain that weight–so, read the labels!

    Watching what you eat means giving up the foods you love most.

    In the nutshell, to lose weight, you have to burn off more calories than you consume. Thus, the sensible thing to do is to talk to your doctor about what your ideal daily caloric intake should be for your height and body type. Once you have that target number, your daily goal is to count the calories contained in each thing you eat (or drink), keeping in mind that at the end of the day, you can’t exceed that target number and still expect to lose weight.  While there are certainly many foods it’s just sensible to avoid–they’re not healthy for anyone–the objective is to come in or under that targert number. As long as you do, what you eat is largely up to you!



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