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Fitness and diet myths that just won't go away

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  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 7,096 Member Member Posts: 7,096 Member
    Ok, this is a reverse myth :) In other words, it's a saying used to combat the "myth" that exercise leads to weight loss.

    "Weight loss happens in the kitchen, fitness happens in the gym"

    A calorie is a calorie. A calorie burned in the gym is equal to one not eaten from the kitchen.

    Agreed.

    I think it often relates to people who don't have a consistent way of eating or any way to control cals, so in some cases (even often) they might increase activity and without meaning to also increase how much they eat. But it's not a hard and fast rule, and the idea that it is, that focusing on food is always the answer, drives me crazy. I recall being stuck in the high 120s at one point and deciding to train for a tri. My food intake was already dialed in (I was just having trouble adjusting it to lose further), and adding that exercise without changing it allowed me to go to 120 easily.

    I also hate it when people make assertions as if they applied generally about what is most important, diet or exercise. For me, eating well and not too much is MUCH easier when I am exercising more and following a training plan of some sort. So for me exercise tends to be more important. Yes, in theory I could go eat something in 10 mins that wipes out the 500 cals I burned running for an hour or whatever, but I don't, and IME I don't tend to be more likely to go have some 500 cal snack just because I go for a run than if I didn't (probably the opposite).
  • FitAgainBy55FitAgainBy55 Member Posts: 179 Member Member Posts: 179 Member
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    For me, eating well and not too much is MUCH easier when I am exercising more and following a training plan of some sort. So for me exercise tends to be more important.

    Same for me. I personally don't think I could sustain weight loss if it were based on diet alone. A sedentary me would have to eat 1136 calories per day to match my current weight loss rate of 1.5 lbs per week. Even if I bumped it down to 1 lb per week that would be 1386. This wouldn't be safe so I would have to resort to .5 lb per week which would be a long drawn out (1.5 year) process that I'd unlikely ever complete. Dieting alone without activity is ridiculously hard and there is no way it would work for ME.

    So, instead of "dieting" I eat at a little higher than a sedentary couch potato budget and create my 1.5 per week deficit with TDEE. This allows me to go out to eat and have a burger if like or have some drinks while smoking ribs and easily fit it within my weekly budget.

  • penguinmama87penguinmama87 Member, Premium Posts: 267 Member Member, Premium Posts: 267 Member
    freda78 wrote: »
    Ok, this is a reverse myth :) In other words, it's a saying used to combat the "myth" that exercise leads to weight loss.

    "Weight loss happens in the kitchen, fitness happens in the gym"

    A calorie is a calorie. A calorie burned in the gym is equal to one not eaten from the kitchen.

    Of course a calorie burned is a calorie burned but the "myth" in my view is the idea that you burn a lot more calories through exercise than actually happens. Tell someone how far they have to walk to burn off a single chocolate bar and they will generally be astonished.

    What is behind this myth, in my view, is the idea that people get fat because they are "lazy" rather than because they eat too much and that you can lose significant weight without changing eating habits (or at least not very much) if you just 'move' a bit more.

    I quite enjoy the exercise I do, but my weight is a function of food, not my walks.

    I think that's something that gets to me a lot - it does come down to basic math, but we attach a lot of moralizing to body size that might be generally applicable but falls apart when it comes to some specific situations. I move a lot more than my husband does, but I weigh more than him because I (used to) eat more (setting aside for the moment differences due to sex, height, etc etc). He is sedentary (though I wouldn't call him lazy - he helps around the house, is good at his job, etc.) But he spends most of his day sitting down. I do not. But he doesn't overeat, and that's why I'm overweight and he isn't. And even though I'm counting now, I'm still going to be overweight until I'm not, so it would be inappropriate to look at us and make a snap judgment about who's moving around more.

    I don't deny at all that as a society, as we move less we weigh more. But that doesn't make it true that you can look at an overweight person and instantly know that they don't exercise, or that any normal weighted person does. It's *more likely*, I'll concede that, but it's not a given.
  • ninerbuffninerbuff Member, Greeter Posts: 44,775 Member Member, Greeter Posts: 44,775 Member
    I could lose weight by just diet alone, but it would be a horrible experience because part of the reason I LOVE to exercise is that I get to eat MORE. Of course you have to be in deficit, but it's much easier for me to do it with exericse than without.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

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  • ythannahythannah Member Posts: 3,661 Member Member Posts: 3,661 Member
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    freda78 wrote: »
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    But "breakfast" isn't used in that sense. Especially when you add lunch and dinner to the schedule. The whole motto was written by General Mills to sell more cereal. And many trainers and coaches INSIST that their participants should be eating a morning breakfast...................just because.


    Maybe in your country and/or experience it means "whenever you first eat be it at 7am or 10pm at night" but here, breakfast is what you eat when you get up.

    Lunch is still lunch and dinner is still dinner, even if it is the first food of the day to pass your lips.
    Go to many restaurants here and "breakfast" isn't served past 10:30am. Since the majority of people work from morning to late afternoon, the time they get up is in the morning and why "breakfast" is seen as a morning meal.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png

    It gets even muddier when you see a place that advertises "all day breakfast". So if I feel like ordering pancakes or waffles for lunch I need to find one of those places. Or I hear my supper choice described as "breakfast for dinner" just because it is largely egg-based, like an omelette or poached eggs (I don't eat meat).

    There is a chain here that has "breakfast biscuits" and sometimes the egg and cheese version would make a good takeout lunch option for me to grab on a busy day. But I can't get one after 11 AM.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 19,499 Member Member, Premium Posts: 19,499 Member
    freda78 wrote: »
    I quite enjoy the exercise I do, but my weight is a function of food, not my walks.

    Your weight loss is a function of CI - CO ... in math terms they are equal. I could lose weight eating burgers and fries every day as long as the equation holds true. This afternoon I will go for a 6 mile run and burn over 700 calories (excluding my BMR calories). That is my entire 1.5 lb per week deficit for the day. Math is math. CI and CO are not weighted differently, they are equal in the equation.

    The math is always the math.

    People see the math through their personal experience: They give more emphasis to the side that's most important to them personally.

    I 100% understand the math. However, I didn't materially change my exercise routine to lose weight, or to maintain weight loss. I was already quite active, working out and training regularly, even competing, had good fitness markers, even while obese, for over a decade of obesity. If I increased exercise to eat more or far enough to lose, it would've seriously upset my happy life balance.

    Weight is a function of both food and activity (including exercise activity), clearly.

    But many people show up here saying "I eat right and started exercising, but I don't understand why I'm not losing weight." (Then admit they're not counting.) The reverse scenario happens, but I think it's a little more rare (i.e., they keep up an existing exercise schedule (or no exercise), but cut intake below maintenance by counting, yet don't lose . . . it does happen, usually poor logging or estimating skills, but it doesn't seem like there's a myth at play.

    I completely agree that it's always the CICO math that matters, but do think the "exercise to lose weight" idea is the more common actual *myth*. I also think that exercising *just* to lose weight is likely not to be very psychologically sustainable, if one doesn't sufficient enjoy (or at least tolerate) the exercise. For sure, I can eat a Snickers bar much, much more quickly than I can burn one off. That does affect the practicalities, for many people.

    I don't like slogans, mostly, including the one you arrived to debunk. It makes sense through a certain individual bias set, though.

    Here's another of the same type:

    "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels."

    If we were comparing similar durations of the two experiences, I disagree.

  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 7,096 Member Member Posts: 7,096 Member
    The real myth is that it's one or the other necessarily or some one-size-fits-only answer, and I see that asserted much more often by those saying it's food, not exercise, or 80% in the kitchen or whatever.

    What advice someone gets is going to depend on their specifics, of course, but again I don't really see people telling others that they can eat whatever and just exercise more. I frequently see people saying exercise is not important for weight loss/maintenance (which is true mathematically but not for me personally from a psychological perspective) or that weight loss is all about the kitchen (which again depends on the person). And I keep seeing that any amount you burn is insignificant since you will no doubt go eat 3 candy bars and wipe it out, which has never been my personal experience.
  • amorfati601070amorfati601070 Member Posts: 2,319 Member Member Posts: 2,319 Member
    Protein as a supplement is a waste of money. Yeah, prolly gonna get smashed for this one lol
  • concordanciaconcordancia Member Posts: 5,265 Member Member Posts: 5,265 Member
    Protein as a supplement is a waste of money. Yeah, prolly gonna get smashed for this one lol

    Is this the myth or did you skip straight to the debunking?
  • FitAgainBy55FitAgainBy55 Member Posts: 179 Member Member Posts: 179 Member
    mtaratoot wrote: »
    They (whoever THEY are) say:
    "No pain; no gain."

    I say:
    "No pain, no pain."

    No need to hurt yourself to get benefit of exercise.

    So this is very nuanced. An exercise shouldn't hurt while you are doing it ... that part I agree.

    If you are strength training, however, it should be uncomfortable. It should be hard. Your last rep should be difficult -- not all the way to failure but very difficult. Is that pain ? No. But it is pushing yourself to the point of near failure. If you are starting something new and you aren't sore the next day, you might consider whether or not it was really impactful. Once again, this is nuanced -- if you are well trained then you might not be sore -- if you are a newbie you probably should be sore.

    In my opinion, one of the biggest mistakes people make when strength training is NOT pushing themselves hard enough.

    Another example is running. If you are just trying to burn calories then fine, no need to push yourself to your limits. If you are trying to get faster, however, then you have to push yourself to a point of near failure in some cases. So in this case, gain is getting faster. It is true you will not gain if you just continue doing the same thing over and over. You either have to go longer or faster. In either case it can 'hurt' to push your limits. The first time I ran 10 miles my knees hurt and throbbed afterwards. When repeating that a week later is was easier. The first time I ran 20 miles my knees hurt and throbbed afterwards. When repeating it later it was easier.


  • ninerbuffninerbuff Member, Greeter Posts: 44,775 Member Member, Greeter Posts: 44,775 Member
    mtaratoot wrote: »
    They (whoever THEY are) say:
    "No pain; no gain."

    I say:
    "No pain, no pain."

    No need to hurt yourself to get benefit of exercise.

    So this is very nuanced. An exercise shouldn't hurt while you are doing it ... that part I agree.

    If you are strength training, however, it should be uncomfortable. It should be hard. Your last rep should be difficult -- not all the way to failure but very difficult. Is that pain ? No. But it is pushing yourself to the point of near failure. If you are starting something new and you aren't sore the next day, you might consider whether or not it was really impactful. Once again, this is nuanced -- if you are well trained then you might not be sore -- if you are a newbie you probably should be sore.

    In my opinion, one of the biggest mistakes people make when strength training is NOT pushing themselves hard enough.

    Another example is running. If you are just trying to burn calories then fine, no need to push yourself to your limits. If you are trying to get faster, however, then you have to push yourself to a point of near failure in some cases. So in this case, gain is getting faster. It is true you will not gain if you just continue doing the same thing over and over. You either have to go longer or faster. In either case it can 'hurt' to push your limits. The first time I ran 10 miles my knees hurt and throbbed afterwards. When repeating that a week later is was easier. The first time I ran 20 miles my knees hurt and throbbed afterwards. When repeating it later it was easier.

    Agree here. I think it's dependent on the person. I've done leg extensions and squats to the point where the lactic acid burn actually felt like I was on fire. And I know I had to do it because my legs just don't grow like the rest of my body parts.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

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  • FitAgainBy55FitAgainBy55 Member Posts: 179 Member Member Posts: 179 Member
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    Agree here. I think it's dependent on the person. I've done leg extensions and squats to the point where the lactic acid burn actually felt like I was on fire. And I know I had to do it because my legs just don't grow like the rest of my body parts.

    Yeah, that's another example of 'good pain.' I'm very in-tune with my body and I know the difference between 'good pain' and 'bad pain.' I think this is something that comes with experience. I'm sure as a good trainer that's part of what you do to help your clients. I mostly learned this the hard way.

    Another thing that I think I've learned is 'bad pain' for me is a sign of an area of weakness. Instead of completely avoiding that area (the common sense approach) I try to find ways to strengthen it. I find an exercise that does't hurt but focuses on that area of my body.

    At 54 (I know you are also near that age) I have a few problem areas. One of them for me is my knees. Oddly, I don't have an issue when running (no pain there) but I have issues with lunges particularly. If I neglect my lower body strength training for a while it gets worse. Instead of completely avoiding lower body exercises I try to find a way to stress those areas where it doesn't hurt. For example, I can do squats without pain if I space my feet correctly and put my weight on my heels. When I focus on this then eventually I can get back to lunges without pain.
  • ninerbuffninerbuff Member, Greeter Posts: 44,775 Member Member, Greeter Posts: 44,775 Member
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    Agree here. I think it's dependent on the person. I've done leg extensions and squats to the point where the lactic acid burn actually felt like I was on fire. And I know I had to do it because my legs just don't grow like the rest of my body parts.

    Yeah, that's another example of 'good pain.' I'm very in-tune with my body and I know the difference between 'good pain' and 'bad pain.' I think this is something that comes with experience. I'm sure as a good trainer that's part of what you do to help your clients. I mostly learned this the hard way.

    Another thing that I think I've learned is 'bad pain' for me is a sign of an area of weakness. Instead of completely avoiding that area (the common sense approach) I try to find ways to strengthen it. I find an exercise that does't hurt but focuses on that area of my body.

    At 54 (I know you are also near that age) I have a few problem areas. One of them for me is my knees. Oddly, I don't have an issue when running (no pain there) but I have issues with lunges particularly. If I neglect my lower body strength training for a while it gets worse. Instead of completely avoiding lower body exercises I try to find a way to stress those areas where it doesn't hurt. For example, I can do squats without pain if I space my feet correctly and put my weight on my heels. When I focus on this then eventually I can get back to lunges without pain.
    When you lunge, is your stride long or short? And if it does hurt, make sure your knee bend does stop short of going over your toes on this exercise to help reduce tension on the patellar tendon (which may be the source of your pain).

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png



  • FitAgainBy55FitAgainBy55 Member Posts: 179 Member Member Posts: 179 Member
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    When you lunge, is your stride long or short? And if it does hurt, make sure your knee bend does stop short of going over your toes on this exercise to help reduce tension on the patellar tendon (which may be the source of your pain).

    The pain is definitely reduced if I keep my weight more on my heels than toward my toes. The pain is behind my knee, however, which I think is behind the patellar tendon (according to google images :smile: ) but I don't claim to actually know a patellar tendon from a quadriceps tendon but it appears to be more toward the quadriceps tendon just based on location of pain.
  • amorfati601070amorfati601070 Member Posts: 2,319 Member Member Posts: 2,319 Member
    Protein as a supplement is a waste of money. Yeah, prolly gonna get smashed for this one lol

    Is this the myth or did you skip straight to the debunking?

    The myth is that protein powder actually offers benefits. For majority, not really. So yeah..debunking it. Was poorly worded.
  • ninerbuffninerbuff Member, Greeter Posts: 44,775 Member Member, Greeter Posts: 44,775 Member
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    When you lunge, is your stride long or short? And if it does hurt, make sure your knee bend does stop short of going over your toes on this exercise to help reduce tension on the patellar tendon (which may be the source of your pain).

    The pain is definitely reduced if I keep my weight more on my heels than toward my toes. The pain is behind my knee, however, which I think is behind the patellar tendon (according to google images :smile: ) but I don't claim to actually know a patellar tendon from a quadriceps tendon but it appears to be more toward the quadriceps tendon just based on location of pain.
    Could be meniscus. I hate lunges too (still do them) because I still feel a little pain in my left knee (I actually tore my meniscus and had surgery on it 4 years ago)when I do them. I do have to take a longer stride and make sure on lunges that I don't let my knee pass my toe or it hurts a lot. Only on lunges thouugh. No other issues with leg extensions, single leg presses, squats, step ups, etc. I'm guessing that the actual accident I had to tear my meniscus, which was stepping down a step and missing it (basically a downward lunge), has something to do with it.


    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 7,096 Member Member Posts: 7,096 Member
    Protein as a supplement is a waste of money. Yeah, prolly gonna get smashed for this one lol

    Is this the myth or did you skip straight to the debunking?

    The myth is that protein powder actually offers benefits. For majority, not really. So yeah..debunking it. Was poorly worded.

    Will protein powder help with weight loss or make your muscles grow or do anything magical? No, of course not, and I agree that's a myth one occasionally sees.

    Can it be beneficial or "worth the money" (which suggests it's somehow extra expensive, which I don't think is true). Sure -- it's not uncommon for people to want to increase protein in a specific meal and find protein powder an easy and low cal way to do so compared to other options or to think it tastes good. I think another myth is that there's something inferior about using protein powder (which is typically just whey, although there are also options for those who want to avoid dairy) vs. something else. There was a time when I liked oats for breakfast, and I found the easiest way to increase protein was to add some protein powder (along with some berries and nuts or seeds) to my oats. Sure, I could have had greek yogurt on the side instead, or some chicken, but I didn't want those, I just wanted the oats, and found the whey to work well in it.
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