Bikini season is approaching soon and with everyone’s focus inadvertently switching to gaining that “summer body” everyone is looking for that quick- fix to slimming down or toning up. Here are 5 commonly believed dieting myths that may in fact be working against you and your progress to that bikini-ready body. Theoretically, they sound legit, but truth is, they could be harmful nutritional choices. Though by utilizing a different approach they may just work in your favor

Don’t Eat After 8 p.m.

Theoretically… you burn more calories when you’re up and out during the day, while at night, you’re not as active, therefore, not burning as many calories

The truth is… though you are more likely to overeat and misjudge how many calories you consume when you eat late, fatigue may be to blame here as it may cause you to eat too much of the wrong foods, causing you to put on weight. In reality, calories don’t know what time it is, so it’s not the time you intake your calories, it’s how many of them you actually consume. If you exceed your recommended calorie intake, what you don’t burn will be stored as fat.

A different approach… When you have those late night cravings, don’t ignore them, but satisfy them with a healthier option. Instead of Ice cream or buttery popcorn, try cereal with skim milk or pieces of fruit paired with cream cheese. Remember it’s not when you eat, it’s what you eat.

You can eat whatever you want, as long as you exercise.

Theoretically… you can eat whatever you want as long as you burn any excess calories to not exceed your recommended calorie intake.

The truth is… exercise is not a very effective way to lose weight, researchers say. The amount of exercise needed to lose even a single pound — if diet is not rethought — is more than most people can do. If you are just exercising, the scale is unlikely to budge, agreed obesity researcher Susan Carnell of Columbia University. “You can make a better impact by controlling what you eat.”

A different approach… Don’t give up your exercise routine. In addition to a host of general health benefits, including protecting your brain, heart and bones, exercise is great for maintaining weight and regulating appetite, Carnell said.

Eating Small, Frequent Meals Boosts Your Metabolism

Theoretically… by eating more frequently, your body learns to burn food more rapidly.

The truth is… food intake has little to do with your metabolism. The main factor that influences your basil metabolic rate (bmr) is body composition and size. More muscles and bigger bodies generally burn more calories overall.

A different approach… Build more muscle. A pound of fat-free tissue burns about 14 calories a day, while a pound of fat burns just two to three calories. Strength training important if you’re on a weight-loss mission, try lifting weights, or you can maintain your muscles by going to a Pilates, body-sculpting or power-yoga class two to three times a week.

Going on a Diet Is the Best Way to Lose Weight

Theoretically… changing your eating habits dramatically will make you lose weight.

The truth is… short term, you will lose weight, but if the eating habits you change is something that is temporary, so will your results. Losing weight and keeping weight off is about changing your lifestyle not just your eating habits. If you have a new way of eating and think, “I’m going to eat like this forever,” that’s the way to lose weight.” And keep it off.

A different approach…  Don’t go on a “diet.” Instead change the way you eat. Find a satisfying eating plan that you can live with long-term, and make sure you’re eating the right amount of calories for weight loss.

To Lose Weight, You Need to Cut Calories Drastically

Theoretically… if you eat fewer calories, you will weigh fewer pounds.

The truth is… Yes, if you survive off of 1,200 calories a day, you will shed weight, but not for long. American Psychologist, found that within four to five years, most dieters regained the weight they had lost. “Psychologically, it’s difficult for people to adhere to strict diets over a long period because they feel deprived and hungry,” says Traci Mann, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota. Our bodies are brilliant at keeping us alive when we try to starve them. Your body becomes more efficient at using the calories you consume, so you need fewer to survive.

A different approach… Do not starve yourself! If you want to lose weight and keep it off forever, you need a modest calorie restriction that you simply continue and never stop.

Special thanks to Realsimple.com, LiveScience, NetDoctor, and WebMD.