Want to be a smarter dieter and achieve weight loss that is consistent, healthy, and permanent? Here are five of the biggest weight loss myths that you should avoid.

Almost every day we are exposed to talk about weight loss. It may be your friends talking about how many pounds they’ve lost since January, or maybe it’s a commercial for a new weight loss program.

Many times we hear that there is a secret or a new ridiculous method that works better than anything else.

The truth is that there is very little truth in all of these weight loss rumors and stories.The topic of weight loss is riddled with myth and falsehood. It’s about time we got to the bottom of these myths and brought them into the light.

Here are five of the biggest weight loss myths that you should steer away from if you really want to lose weight the healthy way:

Myth #1: Healthy weight loss is fast and easy

New fad diets are always showing coming onto the scene. Albeit, fad diets usually have one thing going for them. Those who participate in fad diets often lose some weight in a quick amount of time.

The problem with fad diets is that usually they are not everlasting. They are unsustainable – meaning that they are diets that you can’t possibly keep up with while still giving your body the nutrients that it needs.

Think about cleansing diets or the all protein diet. These weight loss methods are designed to reduce your calorie intake dramatically while disguising the techniques with other reasons to why they make you lose weight so fast.

Myth #2: Cutting calories is the answer

While it is true that reducing your calorie intake allows you to lose weight, if you dramatically cut back your calorie intake you will do your body a disservice by not providing it with enough energy.

To be clear, a calorie is, in plain man’s terms, a unit of energy. Your body requires energy to fuel its cells and function properly.

Joy Dubost, PhD, RD, CSSD states that people who don’t get enough calories and practice fasting “may feel light-headed, dizzy, tired and nauseated” and she also adds that “their workouts may suffer.” Dubost recommends eating a diet with a good balance that encompasses all of the food groups.

She suggests that “fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains and lean protein” are necessary foods and you shouldn’t cut them out with fad diets and fasting.

Keep an eye out in particular for diet plans that tell you that you will lose weight in a very rapid amount of time.

Chances are these claims are not true, yet even if they are, they probably involve an unsustainable diet that demands that you sacrifice good nutrition and cheat your body so that you can curb your calorie count at an unhealthy rate.

The bottom line is that you should look out for fad diets that tell you to fast or dramatically cut back on calorie intake.

Myth #3: Fat-free foods are healthy

Another common myth that weight watchers fall for is that products that are labelled as fat free or reduced fat will not contain any calories. It’s true that low fat products can potentially contain fewer calories than other similar foods that are not fat free.

However, the amount of fat in a product does not determine how many calories are within a product. In fact, some processed foods that are labeled fat free have even more calories because of the refined sugars and carbs that have been added to them.

As far as nutrition goes, it’s actually not that hard to fall in line with healthy eating patterns.

Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Jennifer McDaniel, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD, remarks, “I love to remind my clients that inherently they already know how to eat healthfully.” She elaborates by stating, “Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and lean proteins will always prevail.”

Nutrition and dieting have just become cluttered with very opinions that contain both facts and falsifications. This can make losing weight a difficult and confusing process.

What is important is that we don’t get brainwashed by the many myths that have been generated to sell weight loss programs and convince consumers to not trust their previous knowledge.

Myth #4: Eating healthy is expensive

A frustrating myth that often discourages consumers from even trying to lose weight revolves around money. Many of us have been made to believe that eating healthy costs too much and we can’t afford to spend the money necessary to lose weight.

It’s true that sometimes fresh fruits and vegetables can be expensive. But did you know that there are ways to acquire these products without breaking the bank? In fact, canned goods can just as nutritious as fresh fruits and vegetables.

Canned vegetables and frozen fruits still give you the nutrients that you need. It’s just important to watch out for additives in these foods to make sure that they aren’t loaded with things that will overload you with empty calories.

You can also keep in mind that some healthy seafood is available in cans. Tuna is a cost effective product that also makes for a healthy lunch choice. Obtaining protein at an inexpensive price is easy with canned, frozen, or dried beans, peas, lentils and other similar foods.

If you are on the hunt for fresh produce you can also try searching the farmers market for a fair price or you can even start your own garden. Produce seeds are easily available at the supermarket and it can be both rewarding and inexpensive to grow your own fruits and vegetables.

You might even be able to make a little bit of money if you have excess produce that you can sell to neighbors.

The best part is that you don’t need to live out in the country to grow food. All it takes is a plant pot, dirt, water, and the proper amount of sunlight. Try doing some research to find out which foods grow best in the area that you live in.

Go online to the US government’s Choose My Plate website for more information and tips on how you can shop for healthy, affordable foods.

Myth #5: Lifting weights and working out will make you bulky

One of the more humorous myths that we hear about weight loss involves working out. Some of your sillier friends might warn you not to lift weights or work out because physical activity will cause you to bulk up rather than thin out.

Okay, let’s be practical here. If you’re worried about getting a body builder body and being overly broad then it’s important to understand that having a steady workout plan does not mean you are going to turn into a big hunk of muscle weight.

This may be a bit of a humorous idea, but it is also kind of disturbing that even with all of the knowledge that we have learned about exercise we are still able to be brainwashed by fictional weight loss claims.

Trying to lose weight without exercising is actually less effective than including physical activity in your weight loss program.

Exercising and lifting weights cuts down calories by burning them to fuel your exercise. In effect, this actually allows you to consume more calories in a given day.

A healthy body is one that balances both good nutrition and exercise. You do not, and should not, have to just pick between one and the other. Exercise is important for your body and no weight loss program should ask you to sacrifice making healthy choices.

The American Heart Association suggests that 30 minutes of aerobic exercise for five days each week is ideal. The grouping of an active lifestyle and a proper diet can allow you to avoid cardiovascular diseases like heart disease (the number one cause of death in the United States in 2011) and atherosclerosis.

Alarmingly, cardiovascular diseases claim more deaths than all types of cancer combined each year which is just another reason why working out is a necessity. It is a mythical and misled assertion to claim that exercise counteracts your ability to lose weight.

The benefits of working out greatly outweigh the extremely rare chance that you wake up the next day after hitting the gym with dramatically enormous and unintentional muscle growth.

The moral of the story here is that you should not be afraid to balance exercise with your efforts to improve your nutrition and lose weight.

Learn to life a smarter, healthier life

All in all, it is easy to see how consumers are led astray by the many rumors, myths, and new methods for weight loss that they are subjected to. It’s easy to get sucked in to the latest fad diet or advice, which is why each one of us should always do our due diligence when trying to find the best diet and eating plan for us.

The best thing to do when trying to lose weight is to do your best to not be discouraged by the myths and the falsehoods. Don’t allow fad diets and silly rumors to convince you that a good calorie based diet that involves proper nutrition and fair quantities of exercise is not worth your time.

Healthy weight loss is attainable and you can succeed with reaching your goals without harming your body or losing your progress by breaking down due to an unhealthy diet.

Be vigilant for myths and keep what you’ve read in mind when you hear something regarding weight loss that just sounds too good to be true.