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The Top Five Things People Worry About That Don’t Actually Matter For Weight Loss

The Top Five Things People Worry About That Don’t Actually Matter For Weight Loss

In the world of health & fitness, we’re currently facing a supreme irony: We are more obsessed with health, fitness, and weight loss than ever, yet we are also fatter than ever. This is largely due to our priorities being totally out of whack. The common question people ask is “what more can I do to improve my health & fitness?”

This approach is totally wrong.

The much better question to ask is “what can I stop worrying about to make improving my health & fitness easier?” If the strategy at hand to achieve a goal is simpler, easier, and less time consuming, the more likely you are to succeed. That’s just basic logic.

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With that sentiment, I’m going to share with you the top five things people worry about that don’t actually matter for weight loss. The less nonsense you worry about, the more effort you can focus on the true weight loss fundamentals that matter. Before I get into it, though let me share my personal results in applying what I’m about to share in this article:

simple weight loss before after

    That’s 7 months of solid progress, during which the following was true:

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    • No food type restriction. I ate whatever I wanted (with reasonable moderation)
    • No cardio
    • Weight lifting in the gym 2 – 3 times per week, no longer than 45 minutes per session
    • No meal frequency/timing restriction. There were plenty of huge carb heavy meals late at night
    • Plenty of gluttonous restaurant meals and family dinners

    You’re thinking… “this contradicts everything I know that someone ‘should’ do to lose weight, how is this possible?” Well, as I said, people’s priorities are generally speaking way out of whack when it comes to weight loss. To help get things back “in whack,” here are the top 5 things people worry about for weight loss that don’t actually matter.

    1. Meal Frequency

    Perhaps the most pervasive and damaging fitness myth is that one needs to eat small frequent meals to upkeep the metabolic fire, else enter fat loss stalling “starvation mode.” Let me be clear, there is absolutely zero scientific evidence that this is true. No ward based clinical trials have ever showed that manipulating short term meal frequency influences weight gain/loss or one’s metabolic output. In fact, in reality it takes over 3 days of fasting before there is a measurable decrease in caloric expenditure.

    2. Meal Timing

    Similar to #1, there is no scientific evidence that short term meal timing influences weight gain/loss. As long as your overall caloric intake is under control, it doesn’t matter if you’re pounding carbs at 10:00am or 10:00pm, or if you eat breakfast when you first wake up or after noon.

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    3. Food Selection

    All aboard the fad diet train! Hucksters would love for you to believe that their special food type diet holds the magic key to weight loss: Paleo, Gluten Free, Vegan, Low Carb, Low Fat, the list goes on and on. But, aside from a small metabolic and satiety advantage garnered from higher protein intake, the food you eat for weight loss really doesn’t matter all that much. A nutrition professor shows us this with his ground breaking Twinkie weight loss diet.

    I’m not saying you can eat whatever you want, or that healthy eating isn’t important. Just understand that a “clean” diet in excess is still a diet in excess. To lose weight, you have to eat less than you burn, one way or another. And, a little junk here and there won’t stall weight loss, as long as you’re maintaining that negative energy balance.

    4. Exercise

    Of course you need to exercise to lose weight, right? No, you don’t. If you’re burning more energy than you’re consuming over time, you’ll lose weight. It doesn’t matter if you do it by increasing your caloric expenditure with working out, or if you decrease your caloric intake by eating less. They are both means to the same end.

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    Don’t take me as saying exercise isn’t important. It is, of course, but do understand that begrudgingly adhering to an unsustainable hour+ a day of cardio regiment is not necessary for weight loss. Rather, focus on doing exercise that you enjoy, makes you feel good, and improves your health. Exercising with the primary goal of weight loss is not an effective strategy.

    5. Too Much Carbohydrate or Fat Intake

    The crux of virtually every fad diet is the ostensible restriction of carbs or fat. Too many grams of a so called boogeyman nutrient and you’ll stall your weight loss. It’s bogus. You can only eat too much fat or carbohydrate insofar as you’re eating too many calories. As long as your caloric intake over time is under control, it really doesn’t matter how much of each you eat. Optimal fat and carb intake depends on the person, their activity levels, and their lifestyle. Don’t pigeonhole yourself into ostensible macronutrient restriction to adhere to a fad diet. Do eat in such a way that you feel/perform your best. That optimal way will be different for everyone.

    Conclusion

    At the end of the day, if you’re eating less calories than you burn over time, you will lose weight. It’s pretty much a scientifically infallible truth at this point. No matter what else you do, if that condition is met you will lose weight.

    The take home point: Stop worrying about anything else, especially if it comes at the expense of worrying about that.

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    Pete Anthony

    Pete is a health and fitness specialist. He helps people achieve their health and fitness goals with the least amount of effort possible.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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]

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    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.

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      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

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