10 Fat Loss Myths – BUSTED!
Busting The Common Misconceptions of Fat Loss
Today I am dispelling some common myths the general populous have regarding how to get “in shape” and becoming a leaner, healthier version of themselves
The focus is all wrong, it is not about weight loss or diet this or diet that. It’s about health and how you can help your body help itself so you can feel full of energy and vitality, whilst dropping unwanted fat.
So What is a Diet?
Everyone has a negative connection with the word diet.
The ‘D’ word has gotten such a bad rap because everyone thinks “calorie restriction”, much of the health and fitness profession have all but given up the ‘D Word’ altogether, opting instead for ‘eating plan’ or ‘program’ or, well, anything other than diet.
So let’s get clear on the definition of the word diet so that using one is no longer the negative thing that many people seem to make it out to be.
Here is the dictionaries version…
According to Dictionary.com The word ‘Diet’ actually means:
Food and drink considered in terms of its qualities, composition and effects on health.
A particular selection of food prescribed to improve a person’s physical condition or prevent or treat a disease.
It takes the concept of starting a diet from being a negative, faddy and potentially harmful one to one that’s positive and beneficial to health.
Think of a diet as being:
The Way You Eat Every Day To Look, Feel and Perform At Your Best.
A diet should be; the way you eat to look, feel and perform at your best! In fact, that sounds an even better definition than the dictionary don’t you think?
Forget the negative meanings round the word, time to reprogram and see it for what it is.
This definition of diet allows you to eat freely of those foods that contribute to looking, feeling and performing at your best without having to worry about calories, portion control or any of the other nonsense normally associated with that old, tired, restrictive definition of diet that most people insist upon using.
Sound good to you?
The successful ‘diet’ is the one that is sustainable for you.
Health is Priority
Everyone’s main priority should be health and that runs much deeper than skin deep. Vanity is so prevalent in society these days that people will try anything to look good, even if it’s to the detriment of their health.
Healthy bodies don’t hang on to unwanted fat
Health is not weight loss, you can still be lean and unhealthy. Our bodies are complex organisms and have a delicate balance surrounding what we ingest, as that affects our hormones, which in turn affect our behaviours. Sustained calorie restrictions cause problems. Your metabolism down regulates (slows down) to protect the body, lack of calories affects bodily processes and how hormones are produced. It is a disaster for your long term health.
The purpose of this article though is not to dissect diets, it is about busting a few myths regarding health and weight loss to help you get your head in the game when it comes to sports performance.
To train and compete you have to be in shape, you also have to have a body that can recover quickly, give you energy on demand and a feeling of positivity every time you step on the mat to train or compete.
So let’s get busting some myths that you can move forwards and become that leaner, fitter stronger version of you:
Myth #1- I go to the gym so I can eat what I want
This is one of the most common things I see people do.
Can I categorically state that you just cannot out train a bad diet! It is much harder to burn calories than it is to put them in your body! Drinks in coffee shops can put in up to 700 calories in a matter of minutes and it is rare that you just have a cuppa, cakes/biscuits usually follow.
You could consume a whole pizza 1000+ calories in minutes. In fact if you got someone on a treadmill and ran the whole time you ate a pizza, the calories burned by the run would be nowhere near that figure.
While we are at it stop labelling bad foods “treats” to eat for give yourself a pat on the back for training. It is an excuse to eat crap whilst trying to justify it to yourself that it’s alright.
Take responsibility for your actions. You don’t train to eat rubbish, you train to feel better about yourself!
Myth #2 – Weight loss is the same as Fat Loss
People get confused by this. When you have weight loss through calorie restriction, it isn’t just fat, it is also fluid and muscle too. To have a healthy lifestyle you must add metabolic resistance training into it to preserve muscle tissue and get your body burning into your fat stores. Training this way with a good nutrition program is a sure fire way to let you hang onto your muscle, whilst burning fat.
Myth #3 – Cardio is great for Fat Loss
Whilst I am not knocking aerobic training such as running, there are far better ways to A) get fit and b) lose fat. Just like a car, which will become more efficient with fuel the longer it goes, so it is with running. Over time your body actually becomes efficient at burning fat for energy and so requires less of it. Plus it only burns calories whilst performing the exercise.
Anaerobic type resistance training however will help burn into your fuel stores for hours later through a process called EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) where the body uses energy to return your elevated metabolism to its resting state.
If you want to supplement a healthy diet, run some hill sprints, which are highly effective for fat loss. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is also a great way to get in shape, but make sure you have a coach who understands goof movement as HIIT places high demands on your body, not just fitness but functional movement too.
Myth #4 – BMI is Accurate
The Body mass index or BMI has been used by doctors for years. However, it is incredibly inaccurate, especially for someone who exercises and looks after themselves. The premise is that it assumes everyone on the planet is equal! Crazy right?
2 people can be the same weight, but a completely different body composition. Take a couch potato who is overweight at 250lb, then take a body builder who weighs the same and is the same height, yet the BMI classes them both as clinically obese! When achieving fat loss and getting into shape it is better to ditch the scales and go for measurements and how you look!
Myth #5 – A calorie is a calorie right?
The biggest problem I have with calorie restrictive diets is that all calories are not created equal, 100 calories of broccoli is not the same as 100 calories of chocolate, but sliming clubs treat it that way.
They are great marketers and want you to think that you can eat what you want AND lose weight. Unfortunately the biggest problem is that with this method, you eat food that can be toxic to your body, your liver cannot handle the load and becomes overstressed. It needs to get the toxins out of the blood quickly and so dumps them in your fat cells.
Short term you may lose weight, however if you lose weight whilst continuing to pour toxins into your body from poor food choices such e.g. takeaways, you become a smaller version of you so the toxins have a greater effect on you. You are MORE toxic!! Your body literally rebounds by increasing fat storage to remove the danger and you are back where you have started.
If however, you forgot about a calorie restrictive diet, binned the rubbish foods and ate natural whole foods (organic meats and poultry, eggs, fish, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds) as well as lots of clean water, your toxic load will be lowered, your liver would not be stressed and would be able to perform more normally. The result is fat loss and less toxins, which allows you to keep the weight off.
Myth #6 – You Can Eat Anything You want as long as there are less calories
This one is just to spell out the fact that you have to look after yourself from the inside out. I know and have seen fit looking people that have poor eating habits.
I will let you into a little secret, unless you start with internal health (i.e. what you ingest both physically AND mentally) you are on a long road to ruin. The body is an amazing machine and will try and adapt to every situation, but if you constantly abuse your bodies then at some point you will come a cropper.
Diseases and conditions with manifest because of the constant abuse, from acne and eczema to more serious conditions even cancer.
People can go day by day eating malnourished foods to the point where they are Overfed, but starving to death. By eating nutrient deficient foods, your body constantly tells you to eat, desperate for food it can use and replenish vital vitamins and minerals. However if you continue to put in processed garbage then it will lead to lead to constant hunger and weight gain.
Your body is telling you what it wants, you have to listen, and no it is NOT telling you to go to McDonalds!!!
Myth #7 – It’s ok to starve yourself
This is the opposite side of the coin
Some people diet too hard and in turn basically shut off their metabolism.
When you cut calories too low your thyroid will shut down and losing fat will become very difficult. One easy way to monitor this is by taking your temperature when you wake up. If it starts dipping way below normal you’ll know you’ve royally screwed up your metabolism.
At that point the best thing you can do is crank your calories through the roof for a few days, or even weeks until you get back to normal. Nothing else will help.
Myth #8 – Sleep is overrated, I don’t need it
When you’re short on sleep your insulin sensitivity decreases and your cortisol goes up. Both things lead to less than optimal fat loss.
You also miss out on the critically important Growth Hormone boost that comes each night during deep sleep. If you want to lose more fat you have to get more sleep. Most people will ignore this and some of you are probably reading this when you should be asleep. Unfortunately this just might be the most important thing on the whole list.
More sleep improves EVERYTHING. Make it a priority.
Myth #9 – Quick Fixes Work Every Time
How long did it take you to become overweight? How much time and effort went into it? How many crappy meals did you have to eat and how many training sessions did you have to miss?
Add all that up and you’ll get an estimate of how long it’s going to take you to lose that fat.
There are no quick fixes. They just don’t work and you always rebound and gain the fat back later. The only thing that works is a complete lifestyle change.
That and accepting the fact that it’s going to take some hard work and dedication to the cause.
Myth #10 – Stress? That doesn’t matter
When you get stressed out your body produces a hormone known as cortisol. This increases body fat storage if it’s not controlled. Most people are stressed out all day long which means their cortisol levels are always high. That leads to an increase in body fat even if your diet and training are perfect. So make sure to take the time to de-stress, mediate, laugh, do something fun and try not to take things so seriously. Stress management is overlooked and is key in fat loss.
What should you do to get Healthier and Leaner?
To summarise, to become that lean healthier version of you, this is what you should be doing…
- Reduce the stress in your life
- Get more sleep
- Eating cleaner whole foods at least 80% of the time
- Drink plenty of water and cut down or remove caffeine
- Focus on long term lifestyle changes
- Eat Enough Food every day (but not too much), work on portion control.
- Reward yourself with items that make you feel good, don’t undo your hard work be losing weight and them eating rubbish!
- Focus on how you look in the mirror not what the number on scales say
- Make sure you do resistance training to preserve muscle tissue
- Do high intensity conditioning instead of long distance running to keep yourself lean
Do this and you will start seeing that leaner, healthier version of you in the mirror.
To your strength and Health