Weight Loss Myths Debunked
We are fed a lot of information about weight loss and dieting, and it can be difficult to decide what to believe. Here’s the truth about a lot of what you hear in the media.
1. Carbs make you gain weight
Carbohydrates can be great for you. They offer a great deal of energy that can be helpful to fuel your body, especially before a workout. Like all categories of food, not all carbs are created equal. There are complex carbohydrates (like whole grains and rice), and simple carbs (like refined flour and baked goods). Simple carbs are turned into sugar, which is what our body stores as fat when consumed in excess. In reality, it is sugar and simple carbohydrates that make you gain weight. Complex carbs should be included in your diet in moderation. They are digested much slower than simple carbs, and therefore offer a slow stream of energy rather than a blood sugar spike. They can be found in oats, rice, grains, and even in fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
2.Fat makes you gain weight
Similar to carbohydrates, the right kind of fat can be very good for you. Fat has a bad reputation because of the unhealthy saturated fats that are linked to heart conditions. Healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts, avocados, and coconut can have great health benefits. They can help lower cholesterol, they are great for your skin and hair, and they have individual benefits in addition.
3. Cardio is the best form of exercise for weight loss
Cardio is a very healthy exercise, but that doesn’t mean you need to do over an hour of it daily to lose weight. 30 minutes of high intensity cardio can be just as effective. Fluctuation in heart rate has been shown to be very effective in burning fat. This means that the more your heart rate moves up and down, the more fat your are burning. HIIT, circuit training, and Tabata are great at moving your heart rate into fat burning mode.
4. Weights make you bulk and look heavier
Weight training is also great for fat burning as well. When you do a high number of repetitions on a low weight, you burn fat and build muscle without bulking. Include weight training in your daily workout routine to see full body results.
5. You need to cut calories to lose weight
We wrote a full post already on why cutting calories isn’t always effective here, but to summarize, cutting calories isn’t always the way to go. Eating too little can damage your metabolism just like eating too much can. Increasing your calories can speed up your metabolism and help you lose weight. Also, not all calories are created equal! Eating the same amount of calories but focusing more on protein than carbs can help you lose weight without reducing calories.
6. Dieting can help me lose weight fast and keep it off permanently
A lot of the time, the weight you lose from dieting is only temporary. Diets are not something you can follow long term, and so you gain the weight back the minute you go back to your typical lifestyle. Eating healthy in a way you can maintain is much more effective. The weight you lose will stay off if you continue with your lifestyle change permanently.
7. Low fat, fat free, sugar free, and diet foods help with weight loss
These labels signal that these foods are filled with chemicals. In order to lose weight and be healthy, you should avoid anything in a box, especially with these labels. Processed foods filled with preservatives and refined ingredients are digested as sugars and stored as fat. Eat nutritious foods that don’t need to be fat free and sugar free, and you’ll be much better off.
8. Having off-limit foods is an effective way to avoid temptation
Completely avoiding foods you enjoy only triggers temptation. It is more effective to enjoy your favorite foods in moderation, and practice balance. Enjoy those off-limits foods on occasion, and fuel your body with nutritious foods most of the time.
9. Skipping meals can help me lose weight
We wrote a full article on this as well here, but skipping meals ruins your metabolism. Eating 3+ times a day is much better for weight loss, because it keeps your metabolism running and prevents energy crashes.
10. Eating healthy is too expensive
There are a lot of nutritious foods you can purchase for cheaper than pre-packaged diet foods. For example, beans, rice, and chicken are all thrifty options that can fill you up. Besides, your health is an investment and it should be a priority.
11. You can lose weight by either focusing on diet OR exercise
To effectively lose weight, you need to balance your nutrition and exercise. You won’t get anywhere by focusing on one without the other. It is important to fuel your body with the right food and burn extra calories at the same time.
12. Skinny people are healthier
Skinny people can be just as malnourished as everyone else. Just because they seem to be in shape, it does not mean that they are feeding their body nutritious foods. It is also possible to be overweight and malnourished as well.
13. Fat and muscle weigh the same
Muscle is very dense compared to fat, so the same mass weighs more when it is made up of muscle. Don’t focus on weight! Focus on how you feel and aim to be the healthiest version of yourself possible.