Hey friends! I must admit I hate all Weight Loss Solutions that try to sell us pills for tighten up our tummies, lose those last 10 pounds in order to finally feel confident in our own skin. However, what I hate the most is the bad advice on how one can avoid excess weight (coming from supposedly healthcare professionals).
There’s probably no single topic that is as rife with misconceptions, misunderstandings and outright mythology as weight loss. Unfortunately, there are many beliefs and partial truths and somehow they end up as the end-all truth only to disappoint many. We have all fallen for one myth or another over the years so read on for clarification and good health. The weight loss will come.
Myth #1: Eating Fat Makes You Fat
Wrong! Wrong! So Wrong!
Let’s be honest, this misconception was backed up for over a decade by researchers, scientists, even random strangers on the street, but let’s try again. So, why do so many people still believe that fat is bad for you and causes heart attacks?
This all started in the Dr. Key’s Seven Countries Study decades ago that examined heart risk based on lifestyle and dietary habits. He found that in the countries where people ate more fat — especially saturated fat — there were more cases of heart disease, and he concluded that the fat caused the disease. But here is the problem with this study: Correlation is not causation. Just because both fat intake and heart disease were higher among the same population doesn’t mean the heart disease was caused by the fat consumption. Here’s another way to look at it: Every day, you wake up and the sun comes up, but although these events happen at the same time, you waking up doesn’t cause the sun to come up. A study that observed this would show a 100 percent correlation between these two events, but it would be wrong to conclude that you caused the sun to rise.
Take-home message: Eating fat does not make you fat. Sugar makes you fat. Eating good fats can actually help you stay healthy. So, eat good quality fats and real, whole, fresh food, and don’t worry about it.
My favorite sources of fat, you ask? Sure! Whole Eggs, Nuts (almonds, walnuts and cashew), Seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, chia, flaxseeds, and sesame), Avocado, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Fatty Fish (tuna, salmon, trout) including sardines and herring, and Coconut Oil.
Myth #2: Weight Loss Is All About Calories In and Calories Out
“If you want to lose weight, just eating less will get you there! And eating even LESS than that will help you get there even faster!”
Wrong! Wrong! So Wrong!
Yes, technically speaking the most important thing when it comes to weight loss is using up more calories than you take in. Eating two McDonald’s meals a day will contain the same amount of calories as a healthy weight loss plan with 4-5 meals that meet all your bodies nutrient requirements. One will make you lose weight and the other will not. The human body is a highly complex biochemical system with elaborate processes that regulate energy balance. Different foods and macronutrients have a major effect on the hormones and brain centres that control hunger and eating behavior.
And, YES, eating less will help you lose weight. However, that is not the whole story. Surviving on 1200 calories (or less a day) is a miserable way to go through life: always hungry, never happy. Our bodies need real food, and they need enough of it in order to operate at optimum efficiency.
Take-home message: Instead of being SO concerned with counting calories, think of your diet in terms of freshness, variety, and color. Focus on avoiding packaged and processed foods and opting for more fresh ingredients. Just eat food. Eat real food, be active, and live your life. Forget all the diet and weight loss nonsense. It’s really just that. Nonsense.
Myth #3: Don’t Eat Late
This is another myth that drives me crazy because so many people do not get home until after 6 pm and to ask them to not eat anything the rest of the evening is not feasible and downright cruel. It is WHAT you eat after 6 pm that can get you in trouble and cause more weight gain.
Take-home message: Eat healthy snacks between breakfast, lunch and dinner (so you eat more than 3 meals a day) and you will be less likely to grab junk food once you get home.
Myth #4: You Can Just Run It Off
Repeat after me: You can’t outrun a bad diet. This one we all kind of know, yet we don’t want to believe. Sorry, it’s true. That’s why some people even gain weight when they start running more—they over-compensate. Those 500 calories you burn during your early morning run are pretty easy to erase with a pizza and a coke afterwards. The exercise is important. But what you put on your plate is even more so.
“If I exercise – I can eat what I want.” – I hear this quite often.
Tell you the truth, exercise does burn calories, but not enough to make up for eating french fries every day. Weight loss requires burning more calories than you take in.
Take-home message: It’s just easier (not to mention smarter) to control what you take in.
Myth #5: Carbs Make You Fat
Here’s the truth: Not all carbs are created equal. A lot of trendy diets like Atkins and Paleo diets claim that a low carbohydrate diet is the key to weight loss. These claims are based on no scientific evidence at all. Think about it – fruit and vegetables contain carbohydrates and they are the most nutritious food groups out there right? Healthy, slow releasing carbs help to keep you full, decrease sugar cravings, and prevent development of common diseases such as diabetes. Not eating carbs is not going to magically help you lose weight, but changing the type of carbs you eat might.
So for thinking and to prevent energy levels from sinking, you can be selective with your carb choices but don’t take them off the plate.
Take-home message: The key of course is moderation—and the quality of the carb. Remember that carbs come in many forms, including fruits, legumes, beans, and vegetables.
Now, I’d love to hear what other myths drive you crazy. Let’s hear it! 😉
Stay healthy and be happy!