Top 5 Weight Loss Myths
We have all seen advertisements for miracle weight loss tips, secrets, or diets (etc). And we’ve all shared the disappointment when they end up being bogus. Weight loss myths are hard to avoid and even harder to not try. At SDS, we understand the temptation, but it’s time we go through the fact.
Weight Loss Myths 1 : Crash Diets
The intention of crash diets are to lose a lot of weight in the least amount of time. That definitely sounds ideal, but how do they actually work ? And how do they affect you?
As you can imagine there is a plethora of crash diets available. Some are a bit strange and some are just unsafe. Crash diets are highly restrictive. Typically this means eating very little calories and little nutrients. Juice cleanses and detoxes for example, severely limit you on nutrients. This could result in simple ailments like fatigue or more severe ones like gastrointestinal issues. The good news is that your body naturally detoxifies you. You have a liver. Your liver is responsible for cleaning toxins and wastes from your blood, and separating out the useful nutrients to synthesize hundreds of biochemicals that your body needs for daily functioning. Your liver also activates and regulates important hormones.
So lets talk functionality. If you were to attempt a crash diet and lost weight, congratulation it may have not been the healthiest way but you got what you wanted. Now the question is can you keep it off. The likelihood of gaining weight back after crash dieting is higher than other diets. Why? Because healthy habits haven’t been formed. So in this case, someone might attempt crash dieting again. This is where problems form. Repeated crash dieting has been linked to heart damage/disease, binge eating, low metabolism, multiple vitamin deficiencies, and more harmful conditions.
What should you do?
Develop healthy habits that you can continue even when the weight is lost. This doesn’t mean dramatic rapid changes to your lifestyle. Picking up small habits everyday or every week are a great way to promote healthy, long term, weight loss. This could mean replacing some snack foods with fruits or drinking flavored water instead of soda. Going on walks that turn to jogs and eventually runs. You don’t need to restrict yourself of foods or time; just keep in mind moderation. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full.
Weight Loss Myths 2 : Progress
We want progress and we want it now! Our second weight loss myth is a little more vague. Sometimes losing weight can feel impossible. You can hit plateaus or even lose some weight then gain back a little. Unfortunately progress isn’t linear. The journey is going to have ups and downs, and moreover your weight will too.
However there’s more that affects your weight than just food intake and expenditure. Mood, water intake, physical state (are you sick or getting sick), menstruation, pms – the list goes on. You can’t just track you progress by your weight. For starters there’s more to weight loss than fat loss.
If you were down 10lbs total then check your weight the next day to see you gained 2lbs that doesn’t mean 2 lbs of fat. Most of your body is made out of water, and of course, fat and muscle. So when you’ve lost weight a portion of that is going to be water and maybe fat/muscle loss. You can’t accurately determine these proportions on a scale. On that same note, if you’re gaining weight it may not be fat or water, it could be muscle mass.
What should you do ?
When you’re tracking progress, track more than just your weight. Are you getting stronger? Faster? Then you’re making progress. How do you feel? Are you happier? Less tired? That’s progress too. Do you find yourself going to gym/being active out of habit rather than force? Progress. You can’t beat yourself up for not being where you want to be if don’t stop trying to get there. The key to any goal is consistency. And the key to consistency is motivation. Set up small goals that you can achieve within your journey to help keep your motivation up.
Weight Loss Myths 3 : Nutrition
When we’re talking about nutrition, we don’t just mean what you eat. Nutrition refers to the food/nutrients required for optimal health and growth. A calorie is a calorie.. in some ways. Calories are a measurement of energy. However the sources of a calorie can affect how it’s used and stored in the body.
For example, a protein calorie is not the same as a fat calorie or a carb calorie. Replacing carbs and fat with protein can boost metabolism, reduce appetite and cravings, while optimizing the function of some weight-regulating hormones. This is why when you’re reading about weight loss diet plans you often see high protein meals. However you can’t solely eat protein.
Carbs for example are the body’s preferred source of energy. Without them your body will use protein and fat for energy. Meaning you risk losing muscle mass. As well as put yourself at risk for other conditions like vitamin or mineral deficiencies, bone loss, and digestive issues. Dietary fats are also essential to give your body energy and to support cell growth. They also help protect your organs and help keep your body warm. Fats help your body absorb some nutrients and produce important hormones, too.
What should you do?
Opt for a variety of foods and cut out sugar when possible. Keep in mind you can’t out train a bad diet. Also zero calorie or sugar free doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Artificial sweeteners have been linked to insulin problems like diabetes and hyperglycemia. If you love the fizzy taste, go for a smarter alternative. Try seltzer, there are some with hints of flavor and they don’t contain artificial sweeteners.
Weight Loss Myths 4 : Time
In today’s society we want most things to be faster; internet speed, meetings, traffic, and of course weight loss. However faster doesn’t always mean better, as we touched on in weight loss myths 1. But there are other things we do based on time that we believe influence our weight loss and progress.
For example, when we eat. There’s a lot of mixed opinions and some research on meal timing. Lets take breakfast for example. Many researchers agree that your first meal of the day has less to do with the time of day and more to do with what you eat. The act of eating in the morning sadly doesn’t kick start your metabolism. Which makes sense if you are doing IF or thinking of trying it.
Its about breaking your fast, not pancakes. Then there’s the idea of the Anabolic window. The anabolic window refers to the time period (30 to 40 mins) after a workout, when it’s supposedly ideal to get in food to help you build muscle. Without getting into too much detail, unless you are training fasted (or haven’t eaten in a few hours) there isn’t going to be a notable increase in muscle protein synthesis.
Digestion is a long process. After you eat, it can take about six to eight hours for food to pass through your stomach and small intestine. So if you ate a pre workout meal, nutrients will still be circulating when you finish your last set.
What should you do?
If you want breakfast, eat it. If you rather wait, wait. As long as your getting enough calories/nutrients in a day, timing isn’t going to matter that much. If you’re not sure how much you should aim for, check out myfitnesspal or another app that can help you track your progress. Training wise, if you ate a pre workout meal it’s not necessary to eat immediately after the gym.
However the time of day you train can have impacts on your progress. If you struggle to fall asleep it’s not a good idea to train in the evening/before bed. Instead opt to train in the morning or afternoon. Training in the morning has also been seen to increase weight loss. This is because people who training in the morning have been seen to continue making healthy decisions throughout the day.
Weight Loss Myths 5 : Supplements
Supplements can be a great aid to any lifestyle. But that’s what it is, an aid. Supplements are meant to help you get where you want to be but they won’t do the entire job. Fat burners for example are meant to help kick start lipolysis (fat break down), increase energy, improve focus and mood, and manage appetite.
So if you already have your ducks in row, a fat burner is a great addition to help promote weight loss. Protein shakes are a little different. Some shakes are promoted as meal replacements so you can get away with just taking that. However not every protein supplement is a meal replacement. They’re still a supplement so they come second to food.
What should you do?
You have to get your ducks in a row. This means having a diet and exercise regimen already in place. If you decide to take a fat burner without changing your diet and without working out, you won’t see progress. If you struggle to get enough protein or other nutrients in from food, that’s when supplementation is beneficial. You can’t out train a bad diet and you can’t out supplement no diet/training.
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