Shining A Light On Weight/Fat Loss Myths
Weight and fat loss are the hardest goals to achieve for a lot of people and this is usually due to a lack of concrete knowledge in this area. The issue surrounding fat loss is that many individuals overcomplicate their approach to it because of what they have heard and read by a variety of unreliable sources.
Below I will uncover some common myths usually associated with weight/fat loss so you can enjoy and get the most out of your own weight/fat loss journey:
# 1 - Losing Weight Means Losing Fat
Unfortunately this isn't the case!
You can lose weight without losing much fat and vice versa.
Weight Loss - If your goal is to lose weight you will be fixated on seeing the numbers on the scales decline over a prolonged period of time. This is not a goal I encourage for my clients unless they have to attain a certain weight for an operation/surgery or elite level sport. An individuals body weight can vary on a daily basis due to many variables such as; water retention, hormonal imbalances, fat loss/gain and muscle loss/gain. With that in mind it is difficult to determine the reason why weight loss has occurred, but also visually it is difficult to see weight change unless a substantial amount is lost.
Fat Loss - An individuals goal in this case is focused on seeing a change in body shape and body composition from a reduction in body fat. A fat loss goal is centred around achieving a more 'toned' and 'defined' appearance and this can be measured more easily from a visual perspective. Not to mention, reducing fat on the body will also be reducing your risk of obtaining health-related diseases such as; diabetes, hypertension and stroke.
# 2 - You Have To Starve To Lose Weight
The best way to lose weight is to find 'the diet' that you can adhere to. Now I am not saying you need to follow a specific diet like the Ketogenic or Paleo diet to lose weight. Fundamentally, weight loss relies on an individual being in a calorie deficit - consuming fewer calories than you expend over a prolonged period of time. Most diets or trends will encourage you to create this caloric deficit by restricting certain food sources or limit your opportunity to consume calories through periods of fasting.
My point is - you can still lose weight and feel satisfied by eating an adequate amount of calories. It may be less calories then you are used to, otherwise weight loss would already be occurring. But, you can still eat some of your favourite foods and still lose weight as long as you remain in a calorie deficit.
# 3 - Eating Carbs Makes You Fat
Carbohydrates are the body's main source of energy. This means that all body movement and performance is reliant upon this macronutrient. Without an adequate supply expect to; feel energy less/lethargic and encounter possible headaches, dizziness and nausea when exercising.
During bouts of exercise, carbohydrates are used as an immediate energy source in the form of glucose in the blood and as glycogen in muscles.
Post-exercise these sites of carbohydrate storage need to be replenished in order for you to perform optimally in all capacities.
Ultimately, carbohydrates do not make you fat. It is an excess of total daily calories consumed that encourages weight gain to occur. Yes, carbohydrates tend to include all the tasty foods we enjoy such as; pizza, bread, pasta, rice and confectionary/sweets. Therefore it is easy for us to over consume on foods such as these which is why we negatively associate weight/fat gain to carbohydrates.
# 4 - You Have To Skip Meals To Reduce Your Calorie Intake
Now I am not completely against this idea. Some individuals may already skip out on breakfast due to a lack of hunger first thing in the morning. This isn't necessarily a bad thing! If your aim is to lose weight then skipping an unnecessary breakfast could be an easy way for you to limit your calorie consumption on a daily basis. If this is something you already do within your routine and it works for you then great!
However, breakfast comes from the Old English (Break-Fast) whereby you break the fast by eating after a period of sleep. Many individuals (myself included) need breakfast to set them up for the day and provide staple sources of carbohydrates and protein for optimal energy levels, function and strength.
You do not have to skip whole meals in order to reduce your calorie intake. You could first start by reducing unnecessary snacking and stick to 3/4 meals daily. Even with good intentions, snacks do not tend to provide the same important nutrients as the whole foods we eat with our meals and will not leave you feeling full and satisfied for long.
My top tip - try reducing your portion size of main meals instead of replacing them or skipping them completely.
# 5 - The Only Way To Lose Weight Is To Spend An Excessive Amount Of Time In The Gym
As we established earlier it is a non-negotiable to create a calorie deficit as far as weight loss is concerned. This does not have to be from the result of hours spent in the gym or on a treadmill though.
An increase of daily activity, such as walking, gardening or house chores otherwise known as NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) will encourage more calories to be used/expended on a daily basis and sometime this can be enough. If you dread the thought of going to the gym anyway try increasing your daily step count to 10,000+ before anything else.
As mentioned earlier, a calorie deficit can also be created from the reduction of calories consumed. However, you are more likely to be successful with your weight/fat loss goal if you follow an approach that incorporates both an increase in activity and reduction in calories. Spend too much energy focused on one or the other and you will feel that your goal is unattainable as it will be more difficult to maintain the same level of effort for a prolonged period of time.
My Top Tip - Nail your nutrition! Create a nutrition approach which incorporates some of the foods you enjoy eating and will keep you in touch of your calorie deficit. Compliment with an exercise routine that is sustainable for you! Play a sport, learn to perform strength training correctly, get outside for a long walk, run or cycle.