Advertising
Advertising

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.

    Advertising

    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.

    Advertising

    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.

        Advertising

        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.

        Advertising

        Hopeless Dumbeldore GIF

          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

          More by this author

          3 Weight Loss Myths The 3 Worst & Most Common Weight Loss Tips That Everyone Believes Fasting Health Trend Is Fasting the New Health Trend? Here’s What You Need to Know Diet and Nutrition Quotes 10 Quotes that Explain What’s Wrong with Your Diet

          Trending in Food and Drink

          1 10 Brain Vitamins for Enhanced Brain Power 2 25 Quick and Healthy Breakfast Ideas to Energize Your Day 3 15 Healthy Recipes for Dinner (For Fast Weight Loss) 4 20 Easy Smoothie Recipes for Weight Loss 5 The Best Refreshing Morning Routine: Have a Vegan Breakfast

          Read Next

          Advertising
          Advertising
          Advertising

          Last Updated on September 18, 2020

          7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

          7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

          Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

          Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

          1. Exercise Daily

          It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

          If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

          Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

          Advertising

          If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

          2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

          Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

          One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

          This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

          3. Acknowledge Your Limits

          Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

          Advertising

          Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

          Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

          4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

          Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

          The basic nutritional advice includes:

          • Eat unprocessed foods
          • Eat more veggies
          • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
          • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

          Advertising

          Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

            5. Watch Out for Travel

            Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

            This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

            If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

            6. Start Slow

            Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

            If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

            Advertising

            7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

            Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

            My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

            If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

            I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

            Final Thoughts

            Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

            Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

            More Tips on Getting in Shape

            Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

            Reference

            Read Next