When it comes to fat, a lot of us like to blame ‘the one thing’ that keeps us from losing weight. Like “I’m overweight because my whole family is, it’s genetics.” But is that really true? Here’s what the latest science says about fat, according to registered dietician Cynthia Sass:

  • First: Losing weight is NOT all about exercise. How much we eat is much more important. Because it’s a lot easier to cut 500 calories than to burn off 500 calories. But Sass says the trick is getting yourself to believe that. Because people who think that obesity is caused by a lack of exercise are more likely to be heavier compared to people who blame the extra pounds on what they eat. The reason is this: Researchers found that people who believe that exercise is the key to weight loss overestimate the amount of calories they burn during workouts. So, they tend to eat more, thinking they can easily burn it off.
  • Another fat fact: Sass says a lot of people blame their weight problems on their age. They think gaining weight is a natural part of aging because our metabolism slows down. And there IS some truth to that. After age 25, our metabolism does slows down about 7% percent every decade. But our eating habits play a bigger role in our ability to lose weight than our age. For example, people over age 50 who kept food diaries lost an average of six pounds more than those who didn't, simply because they were more aware of what they were eating.
  • Some people think "If only I could stop eating carbs I’d lose weight." But carbs aren’t making you fat. There’s no food on the planet that will instantly make you fat. It ultimately comes down to how much you consume.
  • Finally, what about people who blame being fat on genetics? Researchers found that even if you have overweight parents, simply eating healthy food, appropriate portions, and getting at least seven hours of sleep a night can cut your risk of obesity by 40 percent.