Burn calories like a finely tuned machine by avoiding these common health myths. 

Burn calories like a finely tuned machine by avoiding these common health myths.

>> Fitbit Bullshit

Fitbit fanatics might want to sit down for this news. Turns out, swinging your arms and gloating about your step count isn’t a great indicator of the caloric burn you’re so vehemently trying to achieve. In 2014, an  Iowa State study found that when comparing the calories burned from an hourlong workout using eight different fitness trackers versus a participant’s total oxygen intake — a trusted measurement of caloric burn — each device was off by 9 to 23 percent. For a more reliable reading, use a mobile device to track how many calories you’ve burned by estimating the steps you’ve taken.

>> Processed Pansies

Every health nut’s favorite buzzwords, “processed foods,” resonates deep within the public when it comes to converting from the church of lard. What the public doesn’t know (besides how to say no to Oreos) is that any food subject to processing — juicing, cooking, grinding — is actually higher in calories than whole foods. The reason for this mind-numbing gastro-anomaly is that processing foods breaks down cell walls, reducing the “thermic effect,” or energy required to digest. Our advice: stick with whole foods for daily caloric intake. Better yet, focus on single-ingredient foods like vegetables, fish and fruits.

>> Nutrition Label Neglect

The first rule of cutting calories is to look on the back of the box for the nutritional jargon. It’s fast. It’s simple. And it gives you a warm healthy feeling should you exert self-control and eat only one serving. Unfortunately, that nutritional breakdown is based on a 100-year-old equation that hasn’t changed much and can be off by as much as 25 percent. To avoid packing pounds under false pretenses, stick with simple carbs such as meats and vegetables. They contain fewer calories while burning more energy to digest: a win/win for the glorious temple you call your body.

>> Say No To Gyms

Compare the amount of calories you burn at the gym versus how many calories are in a beer and you’ll quickly realize you’ve been living a lie. Sadly, they’re about equal and you drink way too much. Gym workouts are laborious and restraining, often delivering a finite amount of caloric burn. Ironically, the same activities you do during a normal day — supposing you’re a productive member of society — like brushing your teeth, walking to work or taking out the trash, burn just as many calories, if not more, than going to the gym. Spend more time in motion and less time crying in your beer, and winter gloom will be a distant memory.

Easy ways to feel the burn:

Burn 70 calories
Taking the dog on a half-hour walk instead of surfing the Internet.

Burn 123 calories
Clean up the house for 45 minutes while watching TV.

Burn 50 calories
20 minutes of sexy time instead of going to bed.