Mike Berland made a national name for himself as a pollster for clients that included Facebook and Hillary Clinton. Although he was nicknamed "The Genius Pollster" he was no genius at keeping his weight in check. In fact, he saw it creep higher every year for 40 years, regardless of the diets and exercise regimens he constantly started — and quit when he couldn't get results.
Berland finally realized that a major problem that crippled his weight-loss efforts were "truths" he believed about dieting and exercise. "I have no idea of their origin or where I picked up the information," Berland told Newsmax Health, "but after a lifetime of carrying them around in my head, they had become elevated to the level of irrefutable fact."
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"But guess what? They were completely wrong."
Once Berland rid himself of the myths, he quickly lost 60 pounds. Now he's laying bare the myths in Become a Fat-Burning Machine
, a book he authored with the help of Olympic coach Gale Bernhardt.
Below are five of the myths Berland believes are sabotaging your weight-loss efforts:
• Myth No. 1:
Low-fat, low calorie diets are the key to weight loss. "Although these diets have been pushed on us for years, they leave people's bodies in fat-storing mode and hungrier, and they are the reason diets fail for most people," says Berland. "Low-fat diets are by nature high-carb diets, and they are a recipe for disaster for people with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome."
• Myth No. 2:
You have to sweat to get a good workout. "Exercise doesn't have to be a tortuous sweat-storm for it to be effective," he says. "Very short accelerations of speed — 10 to 45 seconds long — with generous recovery, have been proven to be effective and so much more fun than long, boring workouts or workouts so hard and intense they leave you ravenous afterwards."
• Myth No. 3:
All calories are created equal. "A piece of white meat chicken has the same amount of calories as a Snickers bar. The white meat chicken has 53 grams of protein and no carbohydrates. The Snickers bar has 33 grams of carbohydrates and only four grams of protein," says Berland. "The choice is clear."
Berland doesn't knock himself out counting calories. "I only use calories on a relative basis," he says. "If some foods have more calories than others, it is a good idea to eat the lower calorie food."
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• Myth No. 4:
Hunger is a badge of honor. Many people equate hunger as having discipline, and believe that thin people have the discipline to live with being a little hungry all of the time, says Berland, but that's another myth. "Deprivation is the surest way to overeating," he says. "Regular eating stabilizes blood sugar and your body releases insulin to utilize food as fuel, rather than storing it as fat."
• Myth No. 5:
Fruit is natural, so it must be good for you. "Eating too much fruit, especially the wrong fruits, makes you hungrier, because their sugar levels trigger your fat-storing machine," says Berland. "When I was training, I was told to eat bananas to prevent cramping and to facilitate recovery. Little did I know that bananas were loaded with sugar and were sabotaging the impact of my workouts and making me hungrier."
Fruits can be divided into three categories: 1) avoid (bananas, cherries, grapes, kiwi, mango, orange, pear, pineapple, plum, tangerine), 2) eat occasionally (apples, blueberries, cantaloupe, peach, strawberries, watermelon), and 3) enjoy (avocado, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries, lemon, lime, rhubarb).
Everyone can become a fat-burning machine regardless of how many years they've tried to lose weight, says Berland "You don't even need will power," he says. "Once you banish diet and exercise myths and start feeding your body the nutrients it needs, your metabolism will even out, you won't be subjected to cravings, and you will lose weight."
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