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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 March 30, 2020

          Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

          Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

          Feeling tired all the time?

          Have you ever caught yourself nodding off when you’re watching TV, listening to someone drone on during a meeting or even driving a car?

          I know I have, especially when I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive.

          Feeling tired all the time may be more widespread than you think. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

          If you’re tired of feeling tired, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

          In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re feeling tired all the time and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

          What Happens When You’re Too Tired

          If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

          Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

          • You may have trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired within your brain.
          • You may experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not because your brain’s neurotransmitters are misfiring.
          • You may get dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
          • You may find it more difficult to exercise or to perform any type of athletic activity.
          • Your immune system may weaken causing you to pick up infections more easily.
          • You may overeat because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids even when you’re not hungry.
          • Your metabolism slows down so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

          Are you saying that feeling tired can make me overweight?

          Unfortunately, yes!

          Feeling tired all the time can cause you to put on the pounds especially around your waist. But it is a classic chicken and egg situation, too.

          Heavier people are more likely to feel fatigued during the day than lighter ones. And that’s even true for overweight people who don’t have sleep apnea (source: National Institutes of Health).

          Speaking of sleep apnea, you may be wondering if that or something else is causing you to feel tired all the time.

          Why Are you Feeling Tired All the Time?

          Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

          Here’s a quick overview of each root cause of feeling tired all of the time:

          1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep restorative sleep.
          2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness which could be triggered by numerous issues such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
          3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

          The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance or emotional trauma.

          It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

          Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

          Feeling Tired vs Being Fatigued

          If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

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          Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

          Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep.

          But fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive (source: Science Direct).

          Symptoms of fatigue include:

          • Difficulty concentrating
          • Low stamina
          • Difficulty sleeping
          • Anxiety
          • Low motivation

          These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness but they usually last longer and are more intense.

          Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. But there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

          How Much Sleep Is Enough?

          The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

          Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

          So, quantity and quality do matter when it comes to sleep.

          The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

          Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

          Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[5] So, you should definitely plan on getting seven hours of deep restorative sleep every night.

          If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is most likely reason you feel tired all the time.

          And that is good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

          It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

          4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

          Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

          1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
          2. Exercising regularly
          3. Using stressbusters
          4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

          So, I know it is possible to change your lifestyle even when you’re working crazy hours and have lots of family responsibilities.

          After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

          In addition, I lost two inches off my waist and looked and felt better than ever.

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          I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

          Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

          • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy including getting enough sleep.
          • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of exercise a day ideally for six days a week.
          • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
          • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

          The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight and to achieve overall wellness.[6]

          And yes, there does seem to be an important correlation between being lean and feeling rested.

          But overall based on my personal experience and Dr. Sear’s scientific proof, the key to not feeling tired all of the time does seem to be 4 simple changes to your lifestyle.

          L — Living Healthy

          Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested and better overall.

          So, whether you’re sleep deprived or potentially suffering from fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you probably want to find a way to sleep better.

          In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger.

          As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

          Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

          1. Unplug

          Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. But tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime.

          So turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

          2. Unwind

          Do something to relax.

          Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating or taking an Epsom salt bath.

          3. Get Comfortable

          Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

          Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep.

          Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

          Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed.

          If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[7]

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          Above all, be gentle with yourself and count your blessings, some sheep or whatever helps.

          This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

          E — Exercise

          Many people know that exercise is good for them, but just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

          That’s what happened in my case.

          But when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my lifestyle.

          As part of my lifestyle upgrade, I knew I needed to move more.

          My friends who exercise all gave me the same advice: find an exercise you like to do and find a specific time in your schedule when you can consistently do it.

          That made sense to me.

          So, I decided to swim.

          I used to love to swim when I was young, but I hadn’t done it for years. The best time for me to do it was immediately after work, since I could easily get an open swim lane at my local fitness club then.

          Also, swimming became a nice reason for me to leave work on time. And I got to enjoy a nice workout before eating dinner.

          Swimming is a good way to get your cardio or endurance training. But, walking, running and dancing are nice alternatives.

          So find an exercise you love and stick to it. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training and flexibility training in during your daily 20-minute workout.

          If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try because you will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

          A — Attitude

          Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

          When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted. But there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued.

          Do you want to know what that master stress-busting technique was?

          Breathing.

          But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

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          Here’s how you do “Long-Exhale Breathing”:

          1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy (so you know you are breathing deeply from your diaphragm and not shallowly from your chest)
          2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air)
          3. Hold your breath while you count to 7 mentally and enjoy the stillness
          4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it)
          5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep, long exhale breath
          6. Repeat 3 times ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system

          This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

          When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[8]

          Plus, this is a great technique for helping you get to sleep, too.

          N — Nutrition

          Diet is vital for beating fatigue – after all, food is your main source of energy.

          If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels.

          Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated, time-consuming though.

          For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

          Unless your current diet is solely made up of fast food and ready meals, adjusting to a fatigue-fighting diet shouldn’t be too much of a shock to the system.

          Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

          1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
          2. Add a healthy fat or protein to your any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed. Please note that carb-only snacks lead to blood-sugar crashes that can make you eat more and they can keep you from sleeping.
          3. Fill up with fiber especially green leafy vegetables. Strive to get at least 25g per day with at least 5 servings (a serving is the size of your fist) of green vegetables.
          4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice and corn.
          5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
          6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives such as So Delicious Dairy-Free Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream.
          7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive and nut oils.
          8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts such as Kite Hill Plain Yoghurt with 1g sugar or Lifeway Farmer Cheese with 0g sugar.
          9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice

          Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

          That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

          Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multi-vitamin or specific supplement.

          The Bottom Line

          If you are tired of feeling tired, then there is tremendous hope.

          If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices.

          If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes including:

          • Enough High-Quality Sleep with Bedtime Routine
          • Regular Exercise You Love
          • Stress Reduction with Long-Exhale Breathing
          • Fatigue-Reducing Diet

          Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle Is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

          More Tips to Help You Rest Better

          Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
          [2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
          [3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
          [4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
          [5] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
          [6] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
          [7] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
          [8] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

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