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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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        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

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          Last Updated on March 13, 2019

          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

          Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

          You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

          Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

          1. Work on the small tasks.

          When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

          Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

          2. Take a break from your work desk.

          Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

          Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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          3. Upgrade yourself

          Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

          The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

          4. Talk to a friend.

          Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

          Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

          5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

          If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

          Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

          Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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          6. Paint a vision to work towards.

          If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

          Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

          Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

          7. Read a book (or blog).

          The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

          Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

          Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

          8. Have a quick nap.

          If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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          9. Remember why you are doing this.

          Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

          What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

          10. Find some competition.

          Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

          Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

          11. Go exercise.

          Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

          Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

          As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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          Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

          12. Take a good break.

          Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

          Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

          Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

          Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

          More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

          Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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