A number of misconceptions persist about weight loss. These are quite serious, because they could affect not only an individual’s weight, but also his or her general health as well.

One misconception is that any product that has been labeled “natural” is safe. In fact, you should be aware that these products often do not undergo vigorous scientific tests. For instance, ephedra, which has been included in some weight loss products have been banned by federal authorities because it has been determined to be unhealthy.

Another misconception is that you can still lose weight, even if you eat whatever you choose. It is important that you limit portions in order to ensure that you do not add extra weight. If you select low-calorie foods and you eat smaller portions, while enhancing your physical activity, you should be able to lose weight.

Another misconception is that, because a food item is labeled low-fat, it has no calories to speak of. While low-fat foods may indeed be low-cal, some processed low-fat food products have just as many calories as the high-fat types. In fact, they may be loaded in sugar or flour, increasing the total calorie count.

Some individuals believe that fast food is inherently bad and cannot be eaten while following a diet program. You can eat at fast food restaurants and still lose weight. Avoid soft drinks and drink water instead. Consider eating a salad or a grilled chicken breast sandwich. Keep the condiments—such as mayonnaise and salad dressings—to a minimum. Avoid bacon or cheese on your food and avoid eating French fries or fried chicken.

Some people operate under the misconception that dining after 8 p.m. always leads to weight gain. No doubt it is possible, but what matters most is how many calories you consume and how much fat you burn off.

Other individuals believe that lifting weights is harmful because it will cause you to add weight to your frame. Weightlifting can enable you to lose weight. This is because lifting weights assists you in building muscle, which burns more calories than fat. Engaging in strength training twice or three times a week can be an effective part of your overall weight loss program.

Obviously, misconceptions about dieting are plentiful. That is why it is so critically important that you consult a registered dietician or other health professional before beginning any major weight loss program.

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