If weight loss hasn’t come easy to you, it’s probably not your fault.
We’re taught incorrect nutrition everywhere we turn – food labels, commercials, school, etc.
I don’t believe we were meant to drink slim fast, cut out all carbs, or buy prepackaged weight loss meals. Our ancestors ate simpler, and they didn’t suffer from obesity, cancer, and diabetes like we do.
Like usual, we’ve gone and taken something simple and made it all complicated.
Here are some of the weight loss tips you’ve been taught that are just plain wrong:
10 Common Myths We’ve Been Taught About Weight Loss
Myth 1: Long Periods of No-Carb is the Secret
Not only does a no-carb diet make me perpetually hangry, it often leads to binge-eating something sugary and floury and cookie-y. Or pizza-y.
Also when you go super-low carb, your body gets stressed out. After all, its main energy source just got shut off.
When you stress, you release cortisol – and prolonged cortisol release leads to adrenal fatigue. And one of the main symptoms of adrenal fatigue? Weight gain.
If I do go no carbs, it’s NEVER for more than a week. Maybe it’s fine for a kick-start to your weight loss, but I’d highly recommend staying away from a zero carb diet for long periods of time.
Myth 2: Running Yourself Ragged on a Treadmill Works Wonders
We don’t cover exercise much on this blog, but we’re SUPER into weightlifting, even women. (We’ve got a whole post about it over at Holistic Squid)
In fact, weightlifting has been proven to burn calories for longer (up to a day or two even after your done) and each pound of muscle you carry requires around 30-50 calories per day.
If food alone isn’t quite doing it, pump some iron!
Plus, there’s evidence that running long distances causes issues like respiratory infections, decreased immune function, and digestive issues. High intensity interval training is the way to go when it comes to doing cardio.
Myth 3: All Weight Loss is Good Weight Loss
Before our real food eatin’ days, I joined a work weight loss contest. According to the scale, I lost 30 pounds. According to a fat percentage scale, I lost 17 pounds of fat.
So, I lost 13 pounds of… whatever? Yay?
I’d been eating purely chicken and beans for like 2 weeks, and my calories were pretty low. When your body doesn’t get enough, it freaks out and starts cannibalizing from any source it can find to keep you chugging along.
Muscle, bone, whatever.
If you’re not losing weight in a sensible way, you won’t actually get skinnier even though the scale says you’ve lost a couple.
Myth 4: Use a Calorie Counter
Counting calories gets me frustrated. One day I got fed up and wrote a whole dang post about it! (Warning: very ranty)
- Going too low with calories causes you to lose the wrong kind of weight, and stresses out your body. You need a minimum number of calories to function properly, and calorie counting emphasizes keeping calories low.
- It’s easy to rationalize eating cruddy foods if you’re 300 calories under your goal (oooh! I can fit a Twinkie in and still be under my limit!).
- Counting calories assumes as true that all calories are created equal. 200 calories of Gushers and 200 calories of tomatoes are not the same thing. It’s a wee bit crazy.
- Nutrient-rich foods and balance will always be more important than calories.
- Plus… ain’t nobody got time to count calories!
Myth 5: You Shouldn’t Ever Cheat
First off, we’d go insane without a cheat meal.
It gives us a fun time out and helps us from going off the deep end and eating a mountainful of M&Ms.
When you’ve been eating sensibly (normal-sized meals, not overeating carbs), a planned mega-meal of your favorite food can actually spark your metabolism into gear. Someone who’s normally a well-balanced machine with eating can handle a cheat meal like that without gaining weight (it’s the cheat days that get you).
Myth 6: Stay Away From Fat
The world’s recipe for losing weight:
Cut out carbs. Cut out fat.
Um… that’s 2 of the 3 macronutrients essential to your life. (Protein is the other macronutrient in case you were wondering.)
While we cut down on carbs to drop a little weight (but never out completely), we don’t worry about fat. Studies show that fat isn’t the culprit behind heart attacks. Also, a recent Harvard study shows that people lost more weight by cutting carbs than by cutting fat.
As our holistic doctor likes to say, “Fat doesn’t make you fat. Sugar makes you fat.”
Myth 7: Lose Weight Slowly!
This is an interesting one, because fast weight loss CAN lead to unhealthy weight loss – but only if it’s done wrong.
For example, someone who’s very overweight could eat a well-balanced, nutrition-exploding diet and start exercising 2 hours a day.
That person’s probably going to lose a lot of weight fast. But, he’s doing it the right way.
A juice cleanse.
You provide your body with tons of healing nutrients, so there’s no shortage of good stuff for your body to use. You’re losing fat because the toxins stored in your fat cells are expelled – meaning your body can begin dropping that fat again.
Our complete Juicing Cleanse Guide shows what to drink, how much, and what supplements to take for proper weight loss and body-wide healing. A proper juice cleanse is much more than just drinking a bunch of juice.
Myth 8: You Must Eat Breakfast
I’ve read at least a dozen articles on each side of this debate, and I could easily make a case for or against breakfast.
Goes to show how little we know about nutrition! Worrying about the exact times we eat seems much, MUCH less important than just making sure you’re eating the right stuff.
I will point you in the direction of a great article from Steve at Nerd Fitness about the benefits of intermittent fasting – and that’s what missing breakfast is. In fact, he strategically uses intermittent fasting to lose weight or balance out that cheat meal the day before.
I ALWAYS eat breakfast, but that’s because I get ravenously hungry if I don’t – leading to me eating anything in sight. Especially if it’s pizza or chocolate.
Myth 9: Don’t Snack
Once again, eat if you’re hungry, not just because you’re bored – and don’t make it a Big Mac. If you’re snacking on an orange or a string cheese, that won’t ruin your weight loss.
But swerving into a Walmart in a hunger-induced haze and binge-eating a Ben & Jerry’s pint of Half-Baked? Yeah, that’ll ruin you.
Myth 10: Don’t Weigh Yourself Every Day
I love weighing myself every day! Some people say it’s discouraging, and I can understand that argument.
For me, it’s insightful. I can understand things that help and hurt weight loss. The one caveat to remember is that a single day of gaining 2 pounds could mean nothing. Your body fluctuates.
But, if you notice that every. single. time. you eat pizza, you gain 2 pounds? That’s good to know.
I’ve noticed that when I drink a TON of water the day before, I usually drop weight the next day. It’s counter-intuitive, but drinking lots of water helps wash out extra water weight that your body holds onto. When your body is properly hydrated it doesn’t feel the need to hold on to every last ounce you drink.
Ultimately you should be putting more focus on how your clothes fit, your measurements, and how you feel. The scale is just a number and sometimes doesn’t mean a dang thing.
Just Tell Us What You Do!
I’m not someone born skinny who’s thin as a rail no matter how much pizza I consume. I’ve always gained weight easily, and I was pretty chunky as a kid.
When I’ve wanted to lose weight, here’s what I do:
- Lower carbs (usually I cut out most grains, even if it’s sourdough).
- One cheat meal per week.
- Lift my weights, as I do whether I’m trying to cut pounds or not.
- Often I’ll add in an extra meal. I don’t worry about calories, and an extra healthy meal keeps me from getting so hungry that I binge-eat something. Another small meal also gives me a tad more energy to exercise more.
- I eat strictly real foods.
And most of that is pretty close to my normal diet – just maybe a teeny bit stricter to drop a few pounds.