7 Major Weight Loss Myths Debunked
11 April 2017
I know just how overwhelming it can be when just about everyone out there has an opinion on what works best when it comes to losing weight. It’s a whirlwind of information out there…so how can you tell what’s true and what’s not? Especially for someone who is completely new to this whole world of health and wellness – all that information can really put you off before you even start!
Believe me I know – I totally get it! If I was coming into this for the first time, I would also want to run a mile. But I am here to tell you that it really doesn’t have to be that way at all.
For starters, lets look at some of the major myths out there – and debunk the hell out of them!
You have to engage in vigorous exercise every single day in order to lose weight
Wrong! Sure vigorous exercise 3-4 times per week will assist you with weight loss by boosting your metabolism and building muscle tone, but as with everything in life…too much exercise can actually set you back! Intense exercise, too often puts the body under a lot of stress, which causes cortisol levels to rise, and in turn hinders weight loss. Remember to listen to your body. If you are feeling stressed out, a gentle yoga or Pilates session may just be the answer to put you at ease, relax your body and calm your mind.
You have to cut out carbs completely
This statement is so broad, and can be very misleading. So let’s first define what carbs we are talking about here. If we are looking at refined carbs, such as sugar rich, processed and packaged foods, white flours and processed grains, then for sure these should be cut out. Nothing wrong with having these as a treat every now and again but definitely not something to include as your daily staples. But when it comes to whole grain, fibre rich carbs, such as whole grains, fresh whole fruits, legumes and vegetables, then these should absolutely be INCLUDED as part of a healthy, balanced eating plan. So NO you do not need to cut out carbs – just eat the right ones!
You need to starve your body in order to lose weight quickly
While this may work initially, trust me when I say this will only do damage to your body in the long run. When your body starts realising that you are in a major calorie deficit, it goes into survival mode, meaning that it will begin to hold on to and store everything you eat in order to ensure that you survive. Your body is very smart that way in adapting itself to maximise its ability to survive even the harshest of circumstances, so when you restrict your calorie intake excessively, then your body is going to do the exact opposite of what you want it to. Prolonged periods of “starvation can also be detrimental to your metabolism, which can cause long term weight gain (something I am sure you definitely don’t want). So rather do things properly, slowly and consistently – eat clean, nourishing wholefoods, listen to your body, be mindful – eat when you are hungry, stop when you are satisfied. Enjoy your food; learn how much food is enough food; don’t over eat, and don’t restrict yourself – because all that will do is make you crave absolutely everything, and turn your relationship with food into one that is very complex and unhealthy.
Fat makes you fat
Refined sugar is the culprit, not fat! Animal fats and hydrogenated vegetable oils are the types of fats you want to stay clear of. But healthy fats such as olives, olive oil, nut butters, raw nuts, seeds, full fat kefir, sesame oil, and coconut oil are fantastic sources of healthy fats that will actually promote weight loss – why? Because they keep your blood sugar levels stable, and satisfy your hunger. A little goes a long way when it comes to healthy fats, so enjoy these in small portions with every meal to keep you energized and sustained throughout the day!
Fat free products will help you lose weight
Um no!! So just because the fat has been removed or reduced, doesn’t mean it’s better for you. In fact, most fat free products use sugar and fillers to make up for the fat that’s been removed. Always remember, for anything that’s been removed, somethings been added to ensure the product still tastes good, so don’t be fooled by clever marketing gimmicks. Especially when it comes to dairy – full cream, full fat is always best!
The numbers on the scale are the best way to tell how much weight you’ve lost
Muscle weighs more than fat, so if you are exercising and building up muscle as a result, the numbers on the scale may not change at all, perhaps they may increase. Go by how you look in the mirror, how you feel, and how your pants fit. Don’t fixate on the scale. It really doesn’t tell you much. Your body weight can fluctuate for many reasons – menstruation, hormones, water retention, time of day etc, and so it is an inaccurate indicator of how much body fat you have actually lost.
All calories are the same
While all calories essentially yield energy, it’s what these calories do in and for your body that matters. I can eat a slice of cake or a massive chicken salad each holding the same amount of calories – here the salad will keep me energised and sustained for hours, will fire up my metabolism and keep my blood sugar levels stable. The cake however will cause my blood sugar levels to sky rocket, will provide me with a short spurt of energy followed by a major slump, and I will probably feel hungry soon after eating it. I will also probably crave more sugar rich foods that day, which in turn will lead me to make the wrong food choices. So no – calories are not all the same!
Ultimately, the best advice I can give you is to keep it simple and logical. Block out all the noise, ignore the fads, and eat in a way that is balanced and simple. Listen to your body and choose foods that work for you specifically. If a vegan lifestyle suits you then great, if not then don’t do it. No one can tell you what is going to work for you – you have to figure it out based on your own body, so tune and start listening to what your own body really needs.
Always Ask yourself, what would make the most sense?
Fruit, vegetable, raw nuts, seeds, wholegrains, lean proteins, healthy fats, legumes. These make sense right? They are from nature, they don’t contain additives, colourants or any of that stuff, and these things were available thousands of years ago.
The rest of the stuff out there never existed even 100-200 years ago – all that processed, packaged, sugary stuff- it’s manmade! It doesn’t come from nature, and we really don’t need it. Sure, eat these things every now and again if you must, but don’t let these things become your staples. Everything in moderation – don’t over-restrict, but don’t be slack either. At the end of the day, these foods were created to make someone else richer – at the expense of your health.
So keep it real, simple, balanced, and listen to your body!
Yours in Health Always