Weight loss advice is so common and can be quite confusing at times. 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.
One rule I live by is that I don’t make empty promises and try to sell people on something that doesn’t work. There are too many weight loss myths out there and people getting sucked in, only to find themselves gaining more weight back than they started with. I’m also not going to sugar coat this. Weight loss is hard WORK, but with consistent effort you can win the battle. Today I’m going to tackle the top myths I get asked about most in my practice so you can focus on what really matters.
Myth #1: Calories cause weight gain, and fewer calories are the path to weight loss
Calories are important for weight loss. If you eat and absorb a ton more than you use, then your body’s wisdom 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.
So before you go cutting out all of your calories and focusing on that as the problem, how about thinking about the reasons you are consuming those not so good or empty calories in the first place?
Myth #2: “Eat less move more” is good advice
Well, then we’re all in tip-top shape, right? Because people have been doling 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 (because human physiology is a simple math equation, right?).
Even if people can happily and sustain-ably follow this advice (which they can’t!); it completely negates other factors that contribute to weight problems. Things like the causes of overeating we mentioned above. Not to mention our genetics, health conditions we’re dealing with or our exposure to compounds that are “obesogenic.”
Yes, exercise is important for weight loss, along with many other health benefits, but I will honestly say you “can’t out train a bad diet”. What, how, why, and when you eat is what counts!
Myth #3: 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%.
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. #acalorieisnotacalorie
Myth #4: 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.
Conclusion: Weight loss is hard work! There are too many people out there trying to make it sound like they have the simple solution (or the latest and greatest!). It gets harder as we age (for a number of different reasons) and there are many factors involved. But, the good news is that you CAN lose weight- at any age. It takes time, but as I like to tell my clients, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.
So what does work? Focus on eating whole foods, getting in the recommended 25 gram of fiber per day, drinking lots of water, and staying active everyday. Be consistent with these 4 habits and the weight will come off.
Ps. If you are someone who struggles with losing weight, and need support getting back into shape, check out my 6 Week Shape Up Challenge. It’s limited to a small number of people so I can give everyone the personal coaching they need.
The program is designed to help you lose the bloat, ease your achy, tired joints and teach how how to eat for long term lasting weight loss.
I’ll be taking people’s names on a wait list for the next round, so be sure to let me know if you’d like to be on the list!