Jun 042014

3 diet myths that don't work- and 3 that do!

Losing weight isn’t easy, but if you are buying into diet myths you may actually be sabotaging yourself. Don’t listen to bad info, and instead diet the right way (even if it includes a few myths you don’t think should work). Here are the three diet stories that you shouldn’t fall prey to, and three you should definitely attempt.

Myth 1: You can’t eat anything after 6 pm.


Your metabolism doesn’t sync up with your neighbor’s metabolism to make you stay on the same schedule. In other words, if your waking hours are between 8am and 10pm, and your mom’s are between 5am and 7pm, you aren’t going to have the same hours of peak metabolic performance!

Yes, after a certain point your metabolism does slow down, but remember- time is man-made for our convenience; it isn’t something our bodies made up to keep us thin. This myth has driven me crazy over the years because many people do not get home until after 6 pm and to ask them to not eat anything the rest of the evening is not feasible and downright cruel. It is WHAT you eat after 6 pm that can get you in trouble and cause more weight gain.

Myth 2: Eating smaller meals multiple times a day is best.


The only truth to time effecting metabolism is this: you need to eat every three hours to keep it boosted and you should not eat an hour before bedtime, since your body needs time to break down the food before it goes into a resting state. That’s it! There’s no magical time for metabolism to quit working.

Myth 3: Lifting weights will make you bulk up.


Lifting weights does not make you bulk up- lifting pounds does! If you want to bulk up, add pounds to the weights you lift. If you want to tone up and slim down, simply lift 10-20 pound weights.

Myth 4: Cardio helps you to lose the most belly fat.


Many people think that abdominal crunches help you lose belly fat, but the truth is fat is stored when we become inactive. Ab crunches are akin to strength training. While you may build abs, you won’t necessarily see them if fat is stored over them. Lose the fat with cardio.

Myth 5: Exercising at night or in the evening is best.


If you’re too tired to actually do a workout in the evening, then you will get no benefit from working out. You can workout at any time of the day. It isn’t about when you workout, but that you actually do it.

Myth 6: A 10 minute workout is helpful.


If you can only get in a 10 minute workout, do it! It’s better than no workout. Besides, many routines have been built around quick bursts of time and energy to maximize results. You can do five 10-minute routines and get just as much benefit as an hour long workout.

  119 Responses to “3 diet myths that don’t work -and 3 that do!”

  1. Great tips we will put them in use back on the wagon

  2. Fantastic information. Surprised sometimes at the myths of dieting. I heard the one ‘after 6’ and always thought it was a strange one. Glad you set it straight.

  3. I always heard eating after 6 was bad, but it’s good to know I can eat a bit later if I want!

  4. Great tips. I think instead of not eating after 6, it is a better idea to stop eating 3 hours before bedtime. Your metabolism does slow down when you sleep, so it’s a good idea not to have a belly full of food when you turn in for the night.

  5. I love this and I always knew even if I could get 10 minutes in working out, it is better then nothing at all πŸ™‚

    • ha ha! Sometimes I am lucky to even have a spare 10 minutes! It’s good to know that even ten minutes helps!

  6. Thanks a lot for breaking all my myth beliefs! The eating every 3 hours is great advice to keep the metabolism strong, I keep getting confused and eat ever hour though! thanks,

  7. Thank you for sharing this.It is very hard to know what to believe nowadays,everyone always has a different opinion on whats right and whats not.

  8. Good info…funny how something gets started and within a few years it is fact when it really has no base of truth to it at all! A dietician told me portion control is the best way to lose weight.

  9. Thanks for the facts. Sad to say I believed most of the myths. Hopefully getting down the to true facts will help me make more progress on my weight loss journey.

  10. Great list I can apply to my workout ideals. I seem to do better at night so I’ll stay with it.

  11. Cardio is the answer to loosing fat, but building muscle helps keep it off. Great tips!

  12. WHAT?!?! I really believed that eating after 6 thing! That is so good to hear!

  13. Great tips! My problem is finding the motivation to stick with working out, by the time my kids are in bed I’m so tired but your right something is better than nothing.

  14. I can’t exercise in the evening. It revs me up, then I can’t sleep. I try to eat smaller healthier meals throughout the day.

  15. This is an awesome post! I’ve been mixing weight resistance with cardio and have found that the muscles I’m building up are helping me to burn up fat a little quicker. And, I missed my morning workout once and did it at 8pm and had a hard time getting through it!

  16. So true! It takes hard work and there will be stumbling blocks you just have to keep pushing forward.

  17. i didn’t realize smaller workouts had the same benefit as one long one. I have to do mine very early in the a.m., or it won’t get done. It’s so routine now, it’s not a challenge, but it sure used to be. πŸ™‚ These are all good tips!

  18. These are great, Robin! I was a big believer (and hater) of that “don’t eat after 6 p.m.” rule. So glad that’s not true LOL

  19. These are great, there’s too many myths out there, hard to keep it all straight!

  20. So true. I especially love dispelling the rumor about eating after 5 pm. If I go to sleep too hungry I pay for it big time the next day. Better to eat something light instead.

  21. Thanks for the tips. I have about 10 pounds left to lose. I can’t workout at night because then I can’t sleep for a while πŸ™‚

  22. Fantastic tips! It is so important to have more smaller meals through out the day then three big ones. And every little bit counts so get out there and move that body πŸ™‚

  23. Thanks for the tips! I knew that lighting weights was good, it helped lean me up back in the day when I actually WORKED out.

  24. Really good info–now if I could only follow it!!!

  25. Great tips and easy to remember. Thank God working out at night isn’t better- I’d be too beat!

  26. I love the ten minute workouts and that cardio blasts belly fat. I always thought I was just imagining the effectiveness of cardio.

  27. There is so much misinformation out there – thanks for setting the record straight on some of it

  28. I know that I’ve always been able to eat snacks at night and still lose. So I figured it was more about what goes in vs. energy expended.

  29. I completely agree with you! Those are great tips!

  30. Love your tips! I needed to read this – I’ve been trying to drop the lbs for some time now!

  31. So true! I am amazed at how many people don’t understand why they can’t see their abs, even though they crunch them. Gotta get rid of the fat through cardio to see those babies!

  32. All great tips. πŸ™‚ I’m (obviously) a huge fan of running because I love it so much, but I don’t discount myself when I “only” run a mile or two miles as opposed to running 5 or 6 miles.

  33. These are all great tips. And, a reminder that I need to get off my behind and do more. And eat less!

  34. Great tips and reminders. Thanks for sharing them. I love exercising!

  35. Great tips. Gotta get back into the gym I guess πŸ™‚

  36. These are great tips that anyone can use to trim up and get healthier!

  37. Those are all great tips! Some I knew, some I didn’t. Thanks for the advice.

  38. Cool! Thanks for clearing the air! I thought I’d look like Heman or something if I lifted weights.

  39. Good list! I don’t believe the research about several small meals a day as your digestive system needs a rest. Also there is no research in fasting for 12 hours. Of course is milk or coffee good for you??? Depends on what day it is and what research.

  40. That last one is a good reminder. Sometimes during a busy day, I get behind but I do have a lot of 10 minute workouts to pick from.

  41. I used to do a lot of weight lifting and never bulked up. It actually helps women to trim down when you have a good base of muscle under the fat. muscle helps to burn fat…so add in weight training with your cardio. But yes, you do have to do the cardio to lose the belly fat! But you need that muscle there to help it along.

  42. Great tips- the ten minute workout one will make the most impact…because I say I can only work out if I have an hour!

  43. I’ve been to the gym a few times this week and buddy, am I SORE. I’ve been doing 10 minute cardio runs before that to help burn fat!

  44. I love this. I’ve heard of the whole metabolism thing and thought “what a joke”, its definitely what you eat as to what it boils down to.

  45. I like the Cardio the most ‘coz I struggle with belly fats πŸ™


  46. I’m glad to hear the after 6pm thing is a myth!! I tend to snack later on in the night because I stay up later and always find myself becoming hungry.

  47. I have to admit that I was thinking #2 and #3 were true. Thanks for this informative post.

  48. Great post! Not eating after 6 pm drives me crazy, because I am a night owl.

  49. Those are good ones.. I would say most of them i was told, and now i know they are false..

  50. These are great tips. It’s easy to rationalize that 10 minutes won’t make a difference but this is a good reminder that any exercise is better than none.

  51. The last one is my favorite. I did not work out for a really long time because I could not carve an hour out if my day for exercise. Doing lots of little bursts of exercise through the day however has been amazing for me! Better than nothing for sure!

  52. I’m on a quest to get healthier now so this was super helpful, thanks! Cardio and exercise is a big one for me – it’s really helping.

  53. This was a fun look at some truths and myths about dieting. A lot of success with dieting is about education.

  54. I went to the gym for the first time in a LONG time yesterday! Woohoo!!

  55. Great tips. I agree with all, except lifting weights will make you bulk up (if you’re a girl). Women don’t have the testosterone like men do, so lifting heavy isn’t going to make you huge! You have to know your body!

  56. I’ve started eating every few hours lately, and it really helps to keep my cravings to a minimum!

  57. It’s funny how something myths go in and out of fashion.

  58. Thanks for pointing all this out. I did actually think that eating past a certain hour is bad until my dietician told me how bad it is for me. Great post!

  59. Great info about ab crunches, I so need to do some daily especially after having 5 kids!

  60. I usually only do a 10 minute workout every day… well, some days anyway. The rest of the time I am cleaning, gardening, laundry etc. I figure those have got to count for a workout.

  61. Great list, I actually just started a series of 10 minute workouts… I try to do two to three a day, but they pump my heart rate and work my body… Love the length

  62. So many myths. Thank you for explaining them. I really need to start working out again.

  63. Great tips! I’m glad to hear that cardio helps you lose belly fat. I just started training for a 5k!

  64. Glad to hear about the eating small meals. When I try that, I’m starving all day long!

  65. God bless you — I’m so getting a snack now even though it is after 7 pm! LOL
    I tend to follow the smaller more frequent meals theory, so that means that yes — I sometimes do need a little something in the evening. But that does not mean chips and pop or junk food. I have some cheese, crackers, veggies, or maybe a piece of toast. Once a week is rule breaking night and that’s when I might have popcorn or chips – normally our movie night.

  66. great tips! it can be frustrating when you don’t see results and not know why

  67. good examples! there are so many myths out there

  68. I try to remind myself to eat smaller meals throughout the day and get more cardio. I have also always hated the myth about eating after 6pm being unhealthy. We are late night eaters while traveling.

  69. This is a great review of some of the truths and non-truths about staying healthy. Nicely done!

  70. Thanks for sharing these. I’m a personal trainer and agree with most of them, but can’t help but add a little more πŸ™‚ While smaller meals more frequently can help, you don’t need to go that route. It really is all about the sum of what you eat for the day. Many of my clients can’t eat smaller meals, but they still lose weight. Also, cardio is definitely important and will help you lose more belly fat than crunches. One small thing to add is interval training. Keeping it to no more than 2x a week is ideal and will help you boost your metabolism and results even more (plus, you can have a shorter session with intervals). Great review of the most common myths πŸ™‚

  71. You make some great points! And you’re right about a few, especially some exercise is better then none

  72. One thing I know for sure is that I’m always starving after I exercise!

  73. I loved reading this! Thanks! I love the tidbits about cardio and belly fat. I am a runner and loved that.

  74. This is great information. Loved the metabolism facts. Thanks for sharing!

  75. Thank you for being the weight loss myth-buster! I do need to get better about what I eat after dinner! I am a late night snacker:(

  76. Very important tips on actual effective ways to lose weight and stay in shape. Everyone seems to have opinions and routines for “quick results” and “fast, steady weight loss” but if you don’t treat your body well and understand the way it works and why, you won’t see the results you want.

  77. Great tips. I feel so much better when someone else confirms my hypotheses and life experience. I cannot agree more on all those myths, true or false.

  78. The after 6 pm one is new to me. Makes perfect sense!

  79. Isn’t it amazing how many myths people buy into? Eat less, exercise more, I always say!

  80. Thank you SO much for this! Ive been struggling with those myths. I mainly need to lose belly fat and hate sit ups. lol Im on this!!

  81. All of the excercise myths crack me up. People really over think things sometimes.

    When it comes to fitness, the bottom line is really pretty simple.

    Take in less calories than you are using to lose weight. If your body burns 3000 cal a day, eat 2500 calories. Make the calories good ones…ie healthy choices vs sugar filled choices. Eat lots of little meals.

    Be active….maybe that’s jogging..or swimming..or biking..whatever, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you move that body and produce some sweat. Do this as often as you can..but listen to your body. If it is saying “I’m tired” listen and take a day off. Then get back on that horse the next day.

    That’s pretty much it. If you just do those things you will lose weight and become fit.

  82. I usually only get in a few minutes of exercise at a time. It’s good to know that it does help.

  83. i keep saying i need light weights but haven’t gotten them. I need to get them quickly

  84. Yeah, I got them all right. I need to work harder on the small meals throughout the day. That is where I find I make the biggest gain (or loss).

  85. Thanks for this info, I never knew some of those were false. Great to know.

  86. These are great things to know. I never believed the who 6pm thing.

  87. Great tips. I am trying to lose the baby weight… gah, not my favorite!

  88. I always hear that comment,”I don’t want to lift weights because I’ll put on too much muscle and look bad.” No one understands the hard works and years of training it takes to put on a lot of muscle. Like you said 10-20 pounds is perfect for toning up!

  89. I had no clue about lifting weight, I always thought it was truth, but good to know

  90. I have experience the metabolism truth first hand. My eating habits are erratic and poor at best and I’ve really seen that effect my metabolism.

  91. Thanks for clearing up some of these common myths. I know the one about our metabolism has been said so much that people take it as gospel

  92. Love all of the tips and the Truth Vs. Fiction for the myths! Great information!

  93. I agree with everything you have. I hate working out but it has to be done.

  94. I am actually trying to loose a few pounds right now and I didn’t realize some of these myths! Thanks for the helpful information!

  95. I’ve never believed in the myth where you can’t eat after 6PM it sounds far too unrealistic.

  96. I never did adhere to the “don’t eat after six p.m.” rule … I actually prefer to eat later. Eating smaller meals throughout the day, and enjoying a nice dinner at night has always worked best for us.

  97. That reminds me…I need to get off the computer and workout! Thanks πŸ™‚

  98. Thanks for sharing these! Good to know about the late night eating too – I’m usually up late working.

  99. Thank you for busting some myths! I always thought eating later in the day was so bad for you πŸ™‚ x

  100. This is great! I’m guilty of convincing myself not to eat after a certain time.

  101. Great tips, my friend is trying to lose weight and she actaully is doing some of these. It’s hard but I’ll send her this way to read this!

  102. Love these myth busters. It’s really hard to get folks to understand the fine line between fads and reality where fitness is concerned. I am moving it to lose it and have no time for false information!

  103. These are great fitness mythbusters! I found the small meals thing to be especially helpful.

  104. I was nodding my head in agreement with all of these. The one one I hear people say is they’ll just skip meals to lose weight. So bad! It can actually have the reverse effect and help you put on pounds. Great post!

  105. Great tips Robin. I’ve know this about weight lifting and hope to one day make it a routine. When I hit 40, I lost and continue to lose muscle strength and need to get that back. I need more tips now, like how to make weight lifting FUN! πŸ™‚

  106. I do not want to see my grocery bill if I ate every 3 hours.

  107. Good to know what is true and false on these. I eat a lot of smaller meals thru the day and it helps!

  108. This is a great post because many people have trouble discerning between factual and false fitness information. They can use this information to make informed decisions about their fitness plan.

  109. These are great tips. There are so many myths and people just spread them all around.

  110. Thanks for putting everything in perspective! Belly fat has ~always~ been an issue for me (way before having children). I definitely need to start doing more cardio.

  111. As an RD, I am constantly struggling with diet myths. Unfortunately, nutrition is a very young science and there is still a lot to be disputed and discovered.

  112. It’s amazing how many people believe some of the false myths. Great list!