MYTH: You can lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks.
TRUTH: You probably can lose 10 pounds in two weeks if you crash diet but you’ll feel terrible—and most of the weight will return once you start eating normally. To truly lose 1 pound, you need to “eliminate” 3,500 calories—the amount stored in a pound of fat—by eating less and moving more. If you cut 500 calories (or cut 300 and burn 200 through exercise) every single day of the week, you’ll lose about a pound a week. And that’s real weight loss.
MYTH: If you exercise, you can eat as much as you want.
TRUTH: Unless you’re working out like an Olympic athlete, to lose weight you’ll still need to keep an eye on how many calories you’re eating. “Calories in” add up much more quickly than “calories out.” Consider this: two medium cookies cost you about 400 calories. To burn 400 calories, the average person needs to run or walk 4 miles.
MYTH: You should expect to be hungry while dieting.
TRUTH: If you cut calories randomly, you’re probably going to feel hungry. On the other hand, if you plan out your day so that you’re replenishing yourself with nutritious foods every three or four hours, you’ll likely feel quite satisfied on significantly fewer calories. Aim to include a source of lean protein (e.g., skim milk, turkey) and fiber (e.g., hummus, carrots) in every meal and snack.