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The 3 Worst & Most Common Weight Loss Tips That Everyone Believes

The 3 Worst & Most Common Weight Loss Tips That Everyone Believes

You’ve heard it. I’ve heard it. Everyone’s heard it. In fact, it has been so common for so long that most people’s understanding of weight loss now looks something like this: Calories In – Calories Out = Body Fat. Sounds good, right? I mean, it’s simple and it makes sense.

But then how do you explain your skinny friend that eats everything in sight and doesn’t gain a pound. I bet she even complains about it.

Skinny Friend Meme

    Myth #1: Eat Less to Lose Weight

    And how come every time you diet and lose a little weight, you gain it all back?

    Well, when we peak behind the curtain of the “eat less to lose weight” advice we find that it’s based on several false assumptions.

    False Assumption #1: Calories in & calories out are independent.

    The basic idea here is that you burn the same amount of calories no matter how many calories you eat.

    The normal amount of calories you burn is called your basal metabolic rate. It varies greatly and is affected by many factors such as exercise, non-exercise activity, oxygen consumption, and external temperature. The greatest factor affecting your metabolic rate, however, is the food you eat. You burn more calories when you eat more, and less when you eat less. This is known as the thermic (or thermogenic) effect of food.

    The Truth: Eat less to lose weight doesn’t work because your metabolism adapts to the food you eat.

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    Why? Because of Homeostasis, the defining characteristic of the human body. It is your ability to adapt to change. Your body makes adjustments to externalities in order to minimize effects and to return to its original state.

    That’s why most dieting efforts usually look something like this: you start eating less and begin to lose weight. Woohoo! But then over time the weight begins to creep back up. Or you just quit the diet because, let’s be honest, dieting is no fun.

    And for good reason. When you eat less your body adapts by slowing your metabolism, and then by releasing hormones that signal hunger. So you are burning less calories and are hungrier.

    Your body automatically resists weight loss because it wants to stay the same.

    False Assumption #2: A calorie is a calorie.

    This assumption stems from the first one, because if weight loss is all about calories then it doesn’t matter what type of calories you eat. Let’s take a deeper look at this.

    We don’t need science to figure this out if we just think about it for a minute.

    Butterfingers are hands down my favorite candy bar. I also love almonds; specifically Blue Diamond Wasabi & Soy Sauce Almonds.

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    Now you tell me, is it in any way reasonable to think that eating 1,000 calories of butterfingers (which is only 2 king sized bars) will have the same hormonal and physiological effect as eating 1,000 calories of almonds?

    Balanced Diet GIF

      The answer is no. Butterfingers ≠ almonds when it comes to your health. Different foods affect your body differently.

      The Truth: Eat less to lose weight doesn’t work because what you eat matters more than how much you eat.

      Myth #2: Exercise More to Lose Weight

      Since the 1980s, physical activity in North America has significantly increased, yet the obesity rate has risen even more sharply – indicating that exercise does not prevent weight gain. Let me say that again, as a society, we exercise more and are fatter than ever. Hmm.

      Exercise GIF

        There’s tons of research supporting this.

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        So, why? Well, it goes back to your metabolic rate. Exercise accounts for an insignificant portion of the total energy (calories) you burn in a day. The total amount of energy you expend (calories you burn) each day depends on multiple variables and the largest percentage is accounted for by basic tasks such as digesting food, breathing, pumping your heart, and maintaining body temperature – NOT exercise.

        The Truth: Diet, not exercise, does most of the work in weight loss.

        Quick note, it has also been proven that increased exercise leads to increased caloric intake. When you exercise you get hungrier and you eat more. Not that you shouldn’t exercise, you should. Exercise is important. It’s just not equally important. Diet matters more.

        Myth #3: It’s your fault that you aren’t losing weight

        We now know that you won’t permanently lose weight by eating less, nor will you lose weight by exercising more.

        Most leading weight loss theories are based on these assumptions, which is why they are failing in mass proportions. But instead of looking for reasons why the theories are failing, most “experts” prefer to blame you for failing the theory.

        At some point, you have probably believed that it’s your fault you can’t lose weight. You are too lazy. You aren’t actually exercising as much as you say you are. You don’t have enough self-discipline to stick to your diet. Or you are secretly snacking between meals.

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          These accusations effectively make you a liar. They make you feel guilty and shameful for failing, as if your inability to lose weight is completely your fault.

          It’s not your fault that you struggle to lose weight and keep it off. It is the theory’s fault. We need a better theory.

          How Weight Loss Actually Works

          Two important factors. What you eat & when you eat.

          What To & Not To Eat

          • Definitely not sugar. I know, I hate it tool. But sugar is uniquely fattening and contributes no nutritional qualities. Food manufacturers are sneaky, so read labels. Here are a few ways sugar is disguised: high-fructose corn syrup, sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, dextrose, molasses, hydrolyzed starch, any other type of syrup. If you see it, don’t eat it.
          • Your Drinks Are Killing You, Softly. Sweetened drinks gotta go too, which is most: soda, juices, shakes, anything with added sugar. What should you drink? Water. But if you need some flavor (ahem, caffeine) in your life, then drink coffee & tea.
          • Stop Eating Refined Carbohydrates. Cereal is not good for you, despite what the heart healthy labels would have you believe (no, not even cheerios). A good rule of thumb is to avoid all processed foods. That includes bread, bagels, cookies, cake, donuts, biscuits, tortillas, muffins, crackers, pasta, and noodles. You can still eat carbs, just eat the good kind. Carbohydrates are found in veggies like tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, brussels, zucchini, avocados, cucumbers, asparagus, spinach, etc.
          • If You Need Dessert, Then Do Dessert Right. Eat fresh fruit, or a bowl of berries. Top it with whipped cream (full fat). This will allow some sugar in your diet but the fiber and substance of the fruit will keep you from overindulging and acts as a buffer against spiking your blood sugar. Have some dark chocolate, preferably that is over 70% cocoa – it’s good for you. Just remember that I said SOME.
          • Eat More Fat. This may seem weird or counterintuitive because it is completely contradictory to everything you have been told about nutrition your whole life. Fats can actually be protective because when eaten in conjunction with other foods they keep your blood sugar low

          There are good fats and bad fats, so be sure to get the right ones.

          • Natural oils: olive oil, coconut oil, anything of the like. No vegetable oil.
          • Real Butter, not margarine.
          • Nuts: almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, etc.
          • Peanuts don’t count, they are actually legumes.
          • Full-fat dairy: whole milk, cream, full fat cheese, and avocados.
          • Low-fat dairy is heavily processed, unnatural and high in carbohydrates.

          When to Eat

          • At Meal Time. Very funny, but really. Set three meals per day and don’t snack in between! Eating between makes it hard for your body to clear the sugar from your blood. Besides, most snacks are highly refined foods like bars, cookies, muffins, or anything else that comes wrapped in plastic.
          • Consider Fasting. You have nothing to fear from fasting. You already fast every day! From the time you finish dinner until your first meal the next day you are fasting. Here are a few simple ways to start.
          1. Skip Breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – to skip! Wait to eat your first meal at lunch time. This is known as intermittent fasting and is a very common practice. Not only does it give your body more time with low insulin levels and blood sugar, you will also avoid unhealthy breakfast foods like bars, cereals, muffins, biscuits, etc.
          2. Fast 1 Day per week. Pick one day per week and don’t eat anything for the whole day. Just drink water. Coffee and tea are acceptable too as long as you don’t add cream or sugar.
          3. Try a Fasting Mimicking Diet. Last year a study was performed at USC to see if the effects of fasting could be replicated with extreme calorie restriction. The answer is yes. The reason this is awesome because it is all the benefits of fasting without the burden of it, because you get some (very little, but some) food.

          With a little patience and the right understanding, permanent weight loss is a completely realistic goal. Go get it.

          Featured photo credit: By Anh Phan via Unsplash via unsplash.com

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          Last Updated on July 8, 2020

          18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

          18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

          The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

          1. Understand Yourself Better

          Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

          Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

          2. Keep Track of Small Changes

          I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

          Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

          3. Become Aware of What Matters

          As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

          You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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          4. Boost Creativity

          The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

          When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

          You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

          5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

          A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

          Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

          6. Process Life Experiences

          When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

          Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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          7. Stress Relief

          In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

          Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

          8. Provide Direction

          Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

          One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

          9. Solve Problems

          Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

          Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

          When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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          10. Find Relief From Fighting

          Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

          Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

          11. Find Meaning in Life

          Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

          12. Allow Yourself to Focus

          Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

          13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

          When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

          14. Let the Past Go

          I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

          15. Allow Freedom

          Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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          16. Enhance Your Career

          Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

          Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

          17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

          All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

          18. Catalog Your Life for Others

          No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

          We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

          Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

          Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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