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Get the Facts on Nutrition and Exercise

Personal trainer Cami Flygare sorts exercise and diet fact from fiction


Do you have grand ideas about how to succeed with diet and exercise?  Are you looking for a short-term fix with long-term results?  Then you might want to read a few of these nutrition and exercise myths.

Diets are hard: Myth!

Why do we look at dieting as a short-term sufferfest? Do we think if we punish ourselves with deprivation we’ll magically weigh less? Your diet, or what you eat every day, is not temporary. Be more thoughtful about your food—eat a few less calories and replace an unhealthy snack with a healthy one.  

Exercise is more important than food to lose weight: Myth!

No amount of exercise can make up for a bad diet. Just because you exercised doesn’t mean you deserve a brownie. Exercise is the most important habit to improve overall health but it’s only responsible for 20 to 30 percent of a person’s weight. Look at it this way: you’ll lose 70 to 80 percent of your weight in the kitchen and 20 to 30 percent in the gym.    

Some foods are forbidden: Myth!

If you want a donut for breakfast, go ahead and eat it. However, you’ll need to eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains the rest of the day!  And don’t eat a donut for breakfast every day.  We all have foods we like and creating a list of forbidden foods just sets us up for failure if we happen to give in to the craving. Ask yourself if it’s worth the calories or if you can just eat a small amount to satisfy your craving.

Weight loss comes in a bottle: Myth!

The market is packed with products claiming they’re the next big weight loss discovery. Two professors of complementary medicine, Max Pittler and Edzard Erst (2004), published a systematic review of the most commonly touted natural weight loss aids and products. They looked at chitosan, chromium picolinate, Ephedra sinica, Garcinia cambogia, glucomannan, guar gum, hydroxymethylbutyrate, plantago psyllium, pyruvate, yerba maté, and yohimbe. Their conclusion was very straightforward: "The evidence for most dietary supplements as aids in reducing body weight is not convincing. None of the viewed dietary supplements can be recommended for over-the-counter use."  

I need to be my “ideal” weight: Myth!

We’re human beings, and we all don’t fit into the same mold. Good health can’t be generalized into body fat percentage, waist circumference, body mass index, or weight. They are good guidelines, but numbers don’t reflect reality. Our weight is affected by everything from Grandpa Paul’s high cholesterol to your child being up all night with the flu. There are many variables. Sure we can sabotage ourselves by not exercising, eating poorly, and not sleeping enough, but there are many things out of our control. Your ideal weight shouldn’t be a number, but instead should be the weight that helps you live the healthiest life possible.


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The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.


Pittler, Max and Erst, Edzard. “Dietary Supplements for Body-Weight Reduction: A Systematic Review.” International Journal of Obesity. 31 May 2005. 10 March 2016. <http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/v29/n9/full/0803008a.html>

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Post Author

Cami Flygare

Cami Flygare is a personal trainer and fitness instructor at SelectHealth. She teaches spinning, strength training, yoga, and TRX classes (to name a few). She enjoys cycling, mountain biking, rock climbing, and skiing with her family.