With everything you’ve heard and read about weight loss, you might be confused about how to lose weight in a healthy, permanent way.
With all of the untested theories of weight loss floating around in diet books – remember, not everything you read in a book written by ‘doctors’ or ‘professors’ is necessarily true – there are many ideas that may have snuck in the back door of your consciousness and affected how you think about eating, dieting, exercising and, ultimately, losing weight.
Here are 6 unhealthy thoughts to banish from your mind forever.
1. MYTH: Cutting out carbs is the best way to lose weight
This is a ‘don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater’ type deal. Processed sugar is a carbohydrate. Processed sugar – in the amounts common to the Western diet – is a sure-fire way to gain weight and become unhealthy.
The ‘popular solution’? Demonize carbohydrates! Don’t eat cake and sweets and chocolates, but ALSO don’t eat perfectly good carbs like fruits, potatoes and rice.
The difference between an apple and a piece of chocolate cake is so obvious is frightens me to have to mention it… One is a NATURAL food, the other is MANUFACTURED from highly processed ingredients and sugars.
Instead of cutting out ALL carbs, maybe a more BALANCED approach would be to try to cut out UNNATURAL foods from your diet. Makes sense, right?
2. MYTH: ‘Banting cake’ is OK to eat
Ummm… It’s still CAKE! A slice of ANY kind of cake is full of calories. Whether the calories are from sugar or almonds is only relevant if you’re cutting out sugar from your diet.
But don’t expect to lose weight by cutting out sugar and replacing it with extra calories from ‘healthy’ stuff.
Extra calories WILL turn into fat. Your body doesn’t know how to magically parcel-up extra calories from gluten-free muffins and excrete them instead of storing them as fat just because they are ‘healthy’ calories.
If you’re trying to lose weight, skip the cake unless there is some sort of occasion to celebrate. PS ‘It’s 10am on Tuesday morning and there’s cake’ is not an occasion.
3. MYTH: You need to eat lots of protein
The research since the 1950’s has consistently shown that the average person needs around 70g of protein per day to maintain muscle mass and other body proteins.
Someone trying to add to their skeletal muscle can use up to a maximum of 130g or so. Beyond that? The protein becomes FAT just like any other extra calories your body can’t use.
This is why people on low carb diets who ‘eat healthy’ but slam down 10 chicken breasts and 8 protein shakes per day don’t lose weight easily. Too much protein = lots of extra calories = lots of extra fat.
4. MYTH: Fat won’t make you fat
Eating a high fat diet is very fashionable right now. It seems like people think that having a tablespoon of butter in your coffee and a plate full of bacon is going to help their weight loss efforts.
Unfortunately, if you do this regularly enough, having a ‘revolutionary’ diet book on your shelf won’t stop your cholesterol levels from rising and your body from increasing in size… in a bad way.
Fat is a macronutrient. There are three of them. Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat. If you eat too many calories from any of these groups you will become fatter.
The problem with fat is that it contains 9 calories per gram, so eating 10g of fat means you have consumed 90 calories. That means that if you drink 5 bulletproof coffees per day you have effectively eaten an extra meal.
5. MYTH: You can make up for that slice of ‘Banting’ cake you ate by going to the gym…
The effect (in terms of burning calories) of going to the gym is so small it’s negligible. Yes, it does speed up your metabolism (by 3% or so) for a couple of hours, but it’s NOT going to help you make up for all the rubbish you ate at the weekend.
The function of going to the gym (and exercise in general) is to strengthen your body and become fitter to do the tasks life sends your way.
If you exercise consistently, you will naturally eat better because you won’t want to waste your progress, and eating healthily helps you perform better in the gym. But gym does not make you lose weight, and it doesn’t mean that you effectively didn’t eat all the things you definitely did eat.
6. MYTH: You get ‘gains’ from going to the gym once
We all do this… Go to gym, train hard, go home, look in the mirror for progress. Sadly, it just doesn’t work like that. They say it takes 4 weeks of consistent effort before you will see real progress in your own body, 8 weeks for family to notice, and 12 weeks for friends to notice.
The reality of training is that it takes a lot of consistent efforts to create a little bit of progress. The great thing about it is that the progress is guaranteed if you train hard enough over a long enough period of time, so keep at it.