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Debunking Obesity Myths

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Cindy Meneghin struggles with her weight.

Reporters: "In terms of pounds how much weight would you like to lose?"

"Probably 25 to 30."

New research shows many of the diets and exercise programs the 55-year-old has tried throughout her adult life don't work.

"You're always advised not to lose a lot of weight too fast, that it's going to be bad for you. In fact, that doesn't appear to be true. Again, from randomized control trials it seems the large weight loss at the beginning is actually better."

Dr. Diana Thomas is one of the authors of a new report clearing up common obesity myths.

Another widespread misconception: if you make a small lifestyle change - like walking 20 minutes daily or eating two extra potato chips a day - it will add up to large long-term weight changes.

"You'll eventually plateau - even that initial weight gain is not going to be as big as predicted."

The report from the New England Journal of Medicine also says setting realistic goals does not impact weight loss and breastfeeding does not protect a child from obesity later in life.

The study also points out what does work: restricting calories to lose weight. And exercise to keep it off.

Cindy says the findings are reassuring.

"I've lived those myths and I've disproved them. I've lived the myth of exercise a little more and you'll lose weight. It didn't work for me."

But she's hopeful she will find what works for her.

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