Raise your hand if you have a weight loss guru on your Facebook feed? You know what I’m talking about…that mom or friend who friended you so they could talk all about how amazing this nutritional cleansing is, or this new Beachbody workout…the one spreading weight loss misconceptions around like the flu.
Weight Loss Misconceptions
I get it, and I’m totally guilty of being that person. I mean, weight loss trends are super hot right now. You see advice on how to lose weight (use HCG! Try Isagenix! Beachbody will do it! Try this new gizmo that turns 10 minutes of exercise into an hour!) literally everywhere.
And the thing is, no one seems to agree. It’s maddening!
I want to lose weight. I’m trying. I’m struggling. I’ve tried the shakes, and the diet pills, and the workouts. And some of it works…but a lot of it doesn’t.
And a lot of the weight loss advice out there can actually be harmful to your health.
I vote that we start worrying about what’s healthy, instead of who’s got the best testimonial.
Yes, calories matter. I know that’s not what you wanted to hear, but it’s the truth.
If you eat and absorb a ton more calories than your body can use, then your body does what it does best-it puts those calories in storage, which means more fat.
I see so many people putting a hefty amount of attention on calories for weight loss, and while abs are built in the kitchen, calories are just part of your weight loss journey.
We all consume too many calories not because we’re hungry, but because we are sad, or lonely, or tired, or stressed out, or happy, or celebrating, or bored, or our kids used their clean clothes to mop up spilled milk (true story).
But the only reason we should be eating is hunger. If we paid more attention to our natural hunger signals, we’d likely eat a whole lot less.
Less is More
Let’s just get this straight, starving yourself is never a good idea.
We put way too much weight on the outdated assumption that calories IN minus calories OUT equal your weight.
We mistakenly believe that if we eat fewer calories, and workout like a crazy person we’ll lose weight.
This is just not true.
Even if you can happily and sustainably follow this advice (which I know I can’t!), you completely ignore other factors that contribute to weight gain.
Weight gain is a symptom of a bigger problem (like overeating).
And don’t forget about your genes, or any chronic health issues you’re dealing with. Please make sure that you’re eating enough calories to sustain yourself. If you don’t know how many that is, then you can calculate your BMR by following a simple formula.
All Calories are Created Equal
I’m going to get a little nerdy for a minute here:
Science has confirmed that some caloric components of food differ from others.
For example, the “thermic effect of food” (TEF) basically means that you burn calories by digesting food. This is where that myth that celery is a ‘negative calorie food’ comes from.
That being said, there are some foods that can slightly increase your metabolism while you digest them.
But what this really means is that when you metabolize protein you burn more calories than when you metabolize carbohydrates.
Proteins and carbohydrates both have 4 calories/gram; but, the TEF of protein = 15–30%; and the TEF for carbohydrates = 5–10%.
Let’s go a little bit deeper into calorie nerddom:
Different fats are metabolized differently.
Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) have the same 9 calories/gram that other fats do; but, MCTs are metabolized by the liver before getting into the bloodstream and therefore aren’t utilized or stored the same way as other fats.
This is why people are so geeked out about coconut oil (myself included).
The Magic Pill
There’s not a single supplement, tea, “zero calorie food”, or another secret that will do the work for you. Sorry, not sorry.
There are so many products that make these claims, and they’re all lying to you.
Sure, some of the supplements can help support a healthy weight, but even that is pushing it.
It’s all just really great marketing.
What you need to make weight loss stick is a long-term lifestyle makeover, not a magical product. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true…it probably is.
Y’all I get it. Weight loss is hard! It takes a lot of time, and literal sweat to make it happen.
Don’t fall for all of the crazy weight loss misconceptions out there. The next time you see them, you’ll know better.
- Calories cause weight gain, and fewer calories are the path to weight loss.
- “Eat less move more” is good
- A calorie is a calorie.
- Buy this supplement/tea/food/magic potion to lose weight.
The best (and most effective) way to lose weight is simply to adopt a healthy lifestyle and make small changes, one at a time.