I hear a lot of myths from my clients when it comes to dieting and weight loss so I thought I would debunk some of those myths. Here are the 10 most common I hear:
1. Carbohydrates make you fat!
Carbs don’t make you fat, excess calories make you fat. You can cut all the carbs you want, but if you are still in a calories surplus, your body will store those calories as fat. There are good carbs and bad carbs. Fruits, vegetables, oats and sweet potato are examples of good carbs. Your body uses carbohydrates as fuel which helps you exercise and burn fat. Fruits and vegetables are powerful weight loss foods that you should be eating lots of. Good carbohydrates are also high in fibre and help regulate your blood sugar level.
2. Fats are bad for you!
Eating the wrong kinds of fats can play a role in weight gain, but eating the right kind can help you lose weight as part of a calorie controlled diet. Saturated fats like high-fat cuts of meat, dairy products and trans-fats in cookies, doughnuts and cakes in excess quantities are bad for you because they raise your cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease. However, monounsaturated fats in avocados, olives, olive oil and polyunsaturated fats, such as pumpkin seeds, flax seeds and walnuts support your health. They help to lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease. They don’t make you fat as long as you don’t overdo them.
As far as I am concerned you should weigh yourself every day which helps you to compare the average weights each week. Most importantly though, when you have set yourself a nutrition plan and you are tracking your calories you will see how your current plan is affecting your weight allowing you to make small adjustments over time to lose weight.
4. Snacking is a bad idea!
Mindless snacking will most certainly sabotage your weight loss plan, but calculated snacking is an excellent strategy to keep you feeling satisfied between meals. You’ll also be less likely to overeat at mealtime, or binge when hunger gets the best of you. Try and incorporate one two snacks into your daily plan.
5. You shouldn't eat after 7pm
Your body does not know what time it is and a calorie is a calorie no matter when you eat it. It’s about the total calories you eat in that day not when you eat them. Obviously try to eat a good hour and a half before you go to sleep but if you are in a calorie deficit and you eat your last meal at 9pm and go to sleep at 11pm every night, you will lose weight!
6. Don't do strength training, it will make you bulky!
Here is probably the most common myth I hear. Some people, especially women, are concerned about doing too much strength training and getting too big. You are not going to get super big muscles overnight. It takes a lot of hard work to get big including putting your body in a calorific surplus of the correct calories to help you grow, YOU WILL NOT GET BIG IN A CALORIFIC DEFICIT. Strength training is important for weight loss as muscle tissue burns more calories per day than fat tissue does.
7. Losing weight is a linear process!
Losing weight is usually not a linear process, like some people think. Some days and weeks you may lose, while during others you may gain a little bit. This is not a cause for concern. It is normal for body weight to fluctuate up and down by a few pounds. For example, you may be carrying more food in your digestive system or your body may be holding on to more water than usual. This is more relevant in women, as water weight can fluctuate quite a bit during the menstrual cycle. As long as you are consistent with your weight loss plan you will succeed in the long term!
8. Eating breakfast is necessary to lose weight!
Whether you eat breakfast or skip breakfast, it doesn’t really matter. Eating breakfast does not boost your metabolism and eating multiple, smaller meals does not make you burn more calories throughout the day. Again it all comes down to the amount of calories you eat in that day whether it be 6 small meals or 3 larger meals. Plan your meals around what suits your body and timetable best!
9. Eat whatever you want as long as you exercise!
This is certainly not the case. Losing weight occurs when you create a calorie deficit either by eating fewer calories, burning calories through exercise or a combination of both. Diet plans that include cutting calories and regular physical activity tend to be the most successful and sustainable. Also the quality of the food you consume and regular physical activity are important to overall health, regardless of weight.
If you eat nothing but celery or oranges all day long for a week you will, of course, lose weight. But fad diets that drastically cut calories will quickly become boring and won’t be effective in the long run. It’s not necessary to starve to lose weight - making small changes that you can stick to is the key to long-term success. Track your daily weight and make small adjustments weekly!
I hope you have enjoyed my blog and found it useful!
Rich Palmer PT
"Making your fitness goals a reality"