Common Weight Loss Myths: Busted
First, I’d like to say that having weight loss as a top goal is what keeps the weight on because it leads to very unhealthy habits. I wrote a whole post about it here. That being said, there are a TON of weight loss myths out there and they need to be busted! Let’s jump in….
Weight loss advice is so common (and contentious) now. There are competing opinions everywhere.
I say, forget about "who's right" and let's focus on "what's right." Because what gets results is what I'm focusing on in this post.
I respect you too much to make empty promises and try to sell you on something that doesn’t work.
There are too many weight loss myths out there. I’m going to tackle the top ones I come across in my practice.
Myth: Counting calories is the key to weight loss
Calories are important to understand. If you eat and absorb a ton more than you use, then your body will store some for later. Calories matter.
But, they are not the “be-all and end-all" of weight loss; they're important, but they're the symptom, not the cause. Let's think about the reasons people eat more calories. Let's focus on the causes.
People eat too many calories, not because they're hungry, but because they feel sad, lonely, or bored. Or maybe because they're tired or stressed. Or maybe even because they're happy and celebrating. And all these feelings interact with our gastrointestinal, nervous and hormonal systems; all of which influence our calorie intake.
Another reason why people eat too many calories is because most of us are nutrient deficient which causes our body to crave what we’re missing. Oftentimes, those cravings are misinterpreted which is when we find ourselves reaching for those late night chips/candy/ice cream/popcorn/etc.
Not all calories are created equal which I’ll cover in a minute. But please start to think of calories in terms of – quality over quantity! The type of calorie we’re consuming is way more important than the number of calories.
Myth: Eat less, move more
Well, then we're all in tip-top shape, right? Because people have been giving out this advice (myth) for years.
The premise of this is based on the above myth that calories in minus calories out equals your weight. So, eat fewer calories, and burn off more calories and you’ll be a skinny-mini!
One of my favorite sayings is that “We get skinny in the kitchen and fit in the gym!”.
This myth completely negates other factors that contribute to weight problems. Things like the causes of overeating we mentioned above. Not to mention our exposure to toxins that are "obesogenic.”
Myth: A calorie is a calorie
Can we please put this one to bed already?
Science has confirmed several caloric components of food differ from others. For example, the “thermic effect of food” (TEF) is that some nutrients require calories to be metabolized. They can slightly increase your metabolism, just by eating them.
For example, when you metabolize protein you burn more calories than when you metabolize carbohydrates. Proteins and carbohydrates both have 4 calories/gram; but, the TEF of protein = 15–30%; and the TEF for carbohydrates = 5–10%. (source)
Here’s another example of a calorie not being a calorie. Different fats are metabolized differently. Medium chain triglycerides (fats) (MCTs) have the same 9 calories/gram that other fats do; but, they're metabolized by the liver before getting into the bloodstream and therefore aren't utilized or stored the same way as other fats.
Another one of my favorite examples is those junk-filled 100 calorie snack packs – they’re full of chemically engineered food like substances that are void of any nutrients. For the same 100 calories, you can eat a delicious real food nutrient dense apple.
Myth: Buy this supplement/tea/food/magic potion to lose weight
There is no magic pill for weight loss. No supplement, tea, food, or other potion will do the trick.
There are products that make these claims, and they're full of garbage (or shall I say "marketing gold?"). The only thing you will lose is your money (and possibly your hope). So, please don’t believe this myth. There is a reason most people who lose weight can’t keep it off. The real magic is in adopting a sustainable holistic and healthy approach to living your life. What you need is a long-term lifestyle makeover, not a product.
Weight loss doesn’t have to be hard, but there are too many people out there trying to make it sound like they have the simple solution (or the latest and greatest!).
In a nutshell - eat real food, avoid highly processed junk as much as possible, and move.
Don’t fall for the myths mentioned in this post and PLEASE start to question everything you hear about weight loss.
Peace and wellbeing -
PS If you need help developing a healthy lifestyle, I would love to work with you! Please check out my programs here.
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