May 28, 2021
9 Weight Loss Myths, Busted
There are so many weight loss tips and tricks out there, that can often be very misleading. We are here today to discuss and debunk some of these weight loss approaches!
MYTH 1: Eat Less and Exercise More
All you need for weight loss is to eat less and exercise more? This one is often brought up, the idea that if you expend more energy than you bring in (meaning you are in a caloric deficit) then you are going to lose weight. Whilst this is true to an extent, it is not so simple.
Energy expenditure is more than just your exercise. It encompasses the energy that requires you to power your body day in and day out. So simply exercising more, is not going to have a major impact on that.
This concept is a little bit outdated, the body is so much more complex and the influence of our hormones is really crucial in this as well.
MYTH 2: Trunk exercises will help me lose weight in my mid section
The other myth that we hear a lot about is, to get rid of some of the visceral fat or the fat mass in the mid-section you have to complete more trunk exercises, such as sit ups.
Unfortunately, this alone is not going to have any role in losing any weight at all. We cannot spot check fat from our abdominals or any other region of our body for that matter. The body takes fat from where it is more accessible first.
On top of that, exercising alone is not enough to help us lose weight. Regardless of whether you are just doing a thousand sit-ups or a thousand push-ups , you may improve your core strength, but there are many other factors that go into weight management and weight loss as well.
MYTH 3: Eating small meals throughout the day
One thing that we have heard a couple of times is that you should eat lots of small meals throughout the day, so that you are not getting hungry.
Whilst you are less likely to get hungry due to eating numerous small meals throughout the day, you are also more likely to eat some worse quality foods.
As we know it is actually about what foods that you eat and when you eat them that determine your satiety or your hunger.
We spoke last week about insulin and having more circulating in your body increases fat gain and prevents fat loss. We also spoke about how insulin, if it is increased by eating sugar and carbohydrates, it is going to exacerbate this problem probably even more.
So if we are eating six times a day, you are going to get constant spikes in your blood sugar levels and your insulin levels as well, making it almost impossible to lose any weight.
Whereas eating at meal times and eating lower carbohydrate meals means you are going to get less of an insulin response and generally be less hungry throughout the day.
So, snacking all throughout the day is not such a great idea.
MYTH 4: Everything in moderation
The other one that people throw around is having everything in moderation.
We hear this one a lot and I suppose it is a misconception as to what it even is.
The sugar that we have is addictive, so having it in moderation is difficult or having any moderate amount is really difficult.
Once we sort of start having sugar, our body almost wires itself to wanting more. It is almost like smoking in that regard. Your body, once it sort of has that input of the sugar, the dopamine goes up in your brain and it just wants more of it basically.
Saying "I'll just have a little bit today or a little bit there or a little bit more" in moderation is pretty hard to stick to.
Even if you do go the moderation sort of route, your insulin is going to remain high which is going to mean that it is very difficult to lose weight as well.
The theory of having everything in moderation, only having your chocolate on weekends or whatever the case is, I guess it can work but it is just going to be very very difficult.
MYTH 5: Counting Calories
Something else that we have heard quite a bit about is the idea of counting calories for weight loss.
If you need to be in a caloric deficit, then counting calories is the best way to do that, but we know now that being in a caloric deficit is not what it is all about. It is more about the content of the food that you are eating and when you are eating it.
Your calories in and calories out are largely unconsciously controlled mostly by hunger and satiety signaling and your basal metabolic rate. Whilst we think we have a lot of control over how many calories you bring in and how many you are expending; we actually don't really have control of this. You can decide not to eat but you cannot decide not to be hungry. You can decide to exercise but you cannot decide to increase your metabolic rate. Your body does that over time by itself autonomously.
MYTH 6: A Calorie, is a Calorie
A calorie is a calorie and a lot of the confectionary and soda companies push this, that in their scientific studies that the difference between one calorie and another is the same, but it actually isn’t. 100 calories from a piece of salmon is very different to 100 calories from a soft drink or an apple or something like that. Your body is going to process them very differently and your food choices do matter. So, the quality of your food matters, but counting calories not so much.
Food star and health star ratings on foods is where a lot of companies suck people in, by saying that something that is full of sugar is actually healthy because it does not have many calories, but on the whole your metabolic health is taking a hit for consuming those things even though the food star rating or the health star rating says otherwise.
MYTH 7: Supplements and weight loss
Another myth we hear a lot is the concept of supplements.
Supplements and shakes are basically like "a silver bullet, I'll just sort of start having my shake for breakfast and then I'll be right as rain".
If this was as simple as that, we would have a shake for breakfast, lunch and dinner, then it would be something that everyone would do, if it was that sort of fail proof. Unfortunately, when it comes to weight loss, there are no shortcuts. It takes a healthier lifestyle, so inclusive of a healthier diet with less refined sugars and carbohydrates, obviously incorporating exercise and managing other elements of your lifestyle like your stress and sleep.
You have got to really address the root cause of what is bringing about your weight gain. Supplement companies and other pharmaceutical companies just want you to take the quick fix because it seemingly does not take much effort. Obviously your meal prep time is going to be much less as opposed to sticking two spoonfuls of something into a blender. But on the whole, It is just something that has not got any longevity.
There are no shortcuts, it is a lifestyle, often an overhaul really, whether you've got to slowly make gradual modifications to your lifestyle.
That is not to say that you should not have shakes or supplements at all, they definitely have a place and it might be something that you take to start with that really helps to curb hunger, but then obviously having the real food that controls your hunger and insulin is going to be the key to that as well.
MYTH 8: Eating Fat, will make you Fat?
Something that prevailed for several years and probably was exacerbated through the 70s, 80s, and 90s is the idea that eating fat is going to make you fat.
We have explained weight gain today. We know that high levels of insulin contribute to that. So, we know that carbohydrates influence your insulin levels, but healthy fat has almost no impact on raising your insulin levels.
By healthy fats, we refer to animal products like fish or red meat or fatty fruits like avocado, olives or olive oil.
But eating healthy fats like olive oils, avocados, salmon, red meat, those kinds of things are not what are going to make you fat and when you break it down and think about it, natural products that are basically from the source, are real food.
MYTH 9: Thin = Healthy
This one comes up a lot, the idea that being thin means you are healthy. This is not necessarily true.
One can be healthy when measured on sort of their BMI, but when we actually take it all into consideration, they have some fat in some pretty bad places. Visceral area so they might assess as being healthy, but really when it is all said and done, they are actually not that healthy at all because they have visceral fat in around some pretty vital organs in their midsection.
There is a term for this TOFI - thin on the outside fat on the inside. Having a weight distribution like that is certainly not healthy. You have probably seen people like this, people who appear quite thin but they do have I suppose a belly or some visceral fat that may hang over their belt line. Again, if we pop them on the scales there's every chance that based on their BMI, they would get assessed healthy, but that is why we use other measures like waist circumferences as a key measure too because it is definitely not a healthy way to be.
We hope that today has helped to dispelled some weight loss myths, set the record straight on some weight loss concepts that have worked or have been touted for long periods of time.