Last time, we talked about the Golden Rule of Weight Loss. This time I wanted to clear up some of the most popular weight loss myths, because – honestly – they can really hinder progress! Let’s debunk these myths.
You Can Target Fat Loss On Your Body (“Spot Reduction”)
You cannot control where your body loses fat from. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a picture of a fitness model with six pack abs next to a workout promising fat loss. Unfortunately, that’s not how the body works. Doing 100 crunches a day will NOT get you a six pack. The same thing applies for “waist trainers”, “sweat wraps” or any other product promising you a six pack for minimal work. Sorry, folks. Maintain that caloric deficit and in time through patience and consistent effort you will see fat loss in the areas you desire.
More Sweat = More Weight Loss
Sweat is a natural response your body triggers to maintain something called homeostasis. Think of homeostasis as your body trying to maintain balance internally and externally. When you exercise or do anything physically demanding, your body temperature increases. To compensate for this change in equilibrium, your body sweats to try and cool itself down. Temporary weight loss from sweat is regained when you rehydrate through the intake of water and food.
Carbohydrates Make You Fat
This is one of my favorite myths. Carbs get such a bad rep nowadays! Carbs are your body’s primary source of fuel. Your brain relies on carbs to function effectively in fact. When we exercise, our bodies utilize carbs to move and, without them, we just don’t move as efficiently. Carbs don’t make you fat, a caloric surplus, or consuming more calories than you burn, makes you fat. What is true about carbs and weight gain is that a lot of excess calories typically come from processed carbs that have very little fiber but high amounts of calories leading to over-consumption. Therefore, it’s not the macro-nutrient itself that leads to weight gain, but the over-consumption of it that leads to weight gain.
There Is One BEST Way To Exercise or Eat For Weight Loss
Whether it’s a new diet or new exercise for fat loss, there’s always some new modality between these two topics promising you results. However, there is NO end-all-be-all way to lose weight. What is the best way? The best way is the way that works for you, consistently. It’s the form of exercise and “diet” that you can do for the long-term. If you don’t see yourself moving this way, eating this way for a year down the line, three years down the line, it’s not worth it! Weight management is just as important as weight loss. Sure, those crash diets that drastically decrease your carbohydrate intake will help you lose weight in the short term (remember carbs are your primary source of fuel), but if you can’t maintain that lifestyle, you’ll most likely gain that weight back and maybe be worse off than when you started.
You Can Out-Train a Bad Diet
As I mentioned in the beginning, how you eat will ultimately reflect how you look, feel and perform. This means no matter how hard you grind in the gym, you cannot overpower the impact of what you eat daily. We tend to overestimate the amount of calories we burn, and underestimate the amount of calories we consume. As an experiment, track your macro-nutrients using myfitnesspal or loseit apps on your phone for two or three days. You will be shocked at the amount of excess calories you did not know you were consuming, especially if you dine out often.
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2. Golay, A., Allaz, A. F., Morel, Y., Tonnac, N. D., Tankova, S., & Reaven, G. (1996). Similar weight loss with low- or high-carbohydrate diets. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,63(2), 174-178. doi:10.1093/ajcn/63.2.174
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4. Vispute, S. S., Smith, J. D., Lecheminant, J. D., & Hurley, K. S. (2011). The Effect of Abdominal Exercise on Abdominal Fat. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 25(9), 2559-2564. doi:10.1519/jsc.0b013e3181fb4a46