Eat To Evolve is my platform to spread holistic nutrition to as many people as possible, especially those outside of my home town of Portland Oregon. As a former teacher I love to educate those who have an interest in nutrition.
There is so much bad information in the health and fat loss industry it can be tough to tell who is steering you in the right direction,and who is just a peddling bad information.
The problem is that when bad information is circulated for long enough people stop questioning it and accept it as an absolute truth.
With the amount of information available these days at our fingertips knowing what not to believe is just as important as knowing what to believe.
When it comes to fat loss a large majority of the information is downright incorrect, and does more harm than good physically and psychologically to those who use it.
This week we are going to be busting the three biggest myths and misconceptions about fat loss and learning how to avoid these fat loss traps.
Don’t worry though I’m not going to disrupt your misconceptions about fat loss without giving you a better alternative. At the end of this blog post I will help you to understand what is really required for you to lose fat.
As a bonus for those who are interested I’m going to be sending my newsletter subscribers a one week meal plan designed for fat loss. Sign up HERE to make sure you get the free meal plan!
Myth #1: Fat Loss Is Linear (a straight line)
Our body is a complex biological machine capable of amazing things when we give it the right input. Because of how complicated the human body is there are going to be fluctuations in everything, especially fat loss.
Fat loss is not a linear process meaning that the journey from your current body to your ideal body is not going to be a straight downward line from point A to point B.
Some weeks you will be lighter other weeks your weight may weigh more. Instead of fixating and zooming in on a single week or measurement, look at your overall trend of fat loss.
If overall you are losing inches and clothes are fitting better, even if weight remains the same it is a sign you are losing body fat. Realize and expect fluctuations in your weight and measurements, the body responds in many ways to the different inputs we give it.
Maybe you have more food in your digestive system or are retaining water from extra carbs from dinner last night. These are both factors that will impact weight and measurements.
Losing fat and achieving your ideal body composition takes time, and weight will not always be lower than it was.
There are going to be periods when weight and measurements are both increased, remain calm and realize this is a small portion of a large fat loss graph.
If it has been a month straight and both your measurements and weight have stalled entirely it might be time to take a closer look, but don’t lose sight of your long term progress over one weeks worth of data!
Myth #2: Eat Less and Exercise More Is The Answer!
When people hear that the way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more it makes perfect sense because we have been told all calories are equal, and calories in and calories out is all that matters.
While this equation of calories in vs calories out makes sense on a calculator, it doesn’t always pan out very well in the human body because we are more like a thermostat than a calculator.
As a result of this diet mentality people will set out to lose weight by eating far fewer calories per day, and hitting an extra hour of cardio every night. This works initially for some weight loss, but eventually weight loss stops.
Even though they are hungry and fatigued the person pushes through maybe losing a few more pounds here and there, eventually progress stops again.
Continuing on this path of eating less and exercising more is not sustainable, and when taken too far can damage the metabolism, adrenal glands and the thyroid.
Most won’t recognize the metabolic adaptation taking place and will start a downward spiral of dropping calories and exercising more, and this only causes the body to further resist fat loss.
This is a losing game because eventually your metabolism come to a slow crawl, you will also have zero energy, a damaged thyroid and your libido will be non existent.
When this person does fall off the wagon and have a food binge, because of the slowed down metabolism they will gain fat at a much quicker rate than before a causing negative self image and emotions.
I recently wrote blog series on what your metabolism is, how dieting can damage the metabolism and how to repair it. To start with Part 1 one click HERE and then for Part 2 and Parts 3 click HERE and HERE
Myth #3: A Calorie Is A Calorie (They Are All Equal)
Calories are what we use to measure that amount of energy/heat a food gives off when it is burned in a calorimeter.
Knowing the caloric breakdown of foods can be helpful, but in case you haven’t noticed the human body is neither a calorimeter, or a calculator.
The old information about all calories being equal is wrong. If it was correct to begin with we could say that calories alone make us gain body fat, and calorie restricted diets are successful for fat loss. Neither are true.
This is where the calories in and calories out equation misses the complexity of the human body.
This equation doesn’t account for someone’s metabolism, thyroid health, hormonal profile or the macronutrient breakdown of foods, all of which impact calories burned and fat loss.
The different macronutrients go through vastly different metabolic pathways that impact our hormones, appetite and mood.
One of the parts of that metabolism that is influenced by the foods you eat is known as the thermic effect of food (TEF).
Each macronutrient requires a different amount of calories to break down and digest. By consuming protein your body will expend 25-30% more calories at this meal because of high TEF value of protein. Over time these extra calories can add up and make a difference.
An added benefit is that protein, fat and fiber all promote satiety and naturally curb food cravings, while processed carbs and sugar stimulate the appetite and cause general overeating.
All calories are not created or even burned equally in the human body, and attempting to use calories as the sole measurement without paying attention to the quality and type of food you are eating is big mistake in the fat loss game.
Where To Go From Here ?
At the end of the day you have to find an approach that works best for you and your fat loss goals, there are a ton of ways to skin the cat, but there are some aspects of fat loss that all approaches share.
You need to check desperation at the door, and realize to get the body you desire it will not happen overnight or even in a few weeks. Be patient and realize six months from now you could have the body you desire… stay the course!
Make sure to take measurements and not only rely on the scale because as you learned weight fluctuates.
Don’t let a short period of increased weight or measurements discourage you, fat loss is more of a zig zag than a straight line. Take a look at where you started and the whole journey, not just today or this week.
Eat nutritious whole foods, and make sure you are eating enough. Yes you heard correct people who eat too little struggle just as much to lose undesired body fat.
Under eating for too long slows down the metabolism and signals to the body that times are rough, and resources need to be preserved.
Body fat is a resource and your body will fight you tooth and nail to keep that body fat to prevent starvation.
Women shouldn’t go below 1,800 calories and men 2,000. This is not to say you need to track everyday but make sure you are eating enough of the right kinds of foods: meat, eggs, fish, vegetables, coconut, butter, avocado, olive oil and consume limited nuts and fruit.
Earn your carbs for fat loss. If you didn’t work out for the day you will avoid starches and stick with protein, fat and vegetables .
If you hit the gym and worked hard you will have a dense sources of starch after your workout: oats, white rice, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, taro.
Movement and Lifestyle
Walk more than you currently are throughout the day, and aim for 8 hours of solid sleep in a pitch black room at night. Adopt a stress management practice that allows you to take the edge off. This could be journaling, taking your dog for a walk, a yoga class or some meditation.
A few times a week lift heavy weights in the gym focusing on compound movements such as squat,deadlift, presses, cleans, pull ups,and dips. Ditch the chronic cardio and replace it with 1-2 sprint sessions per week and toss in a short 10-15 conditioning session 1-2 times per week!
If you follow these above recommendations they will get you to 90% of where you want to be with fat loss, the basics are truly where everyone, myself included gets the most benefit.
Focus on making the process and habits as simple as possible. Overwhelm is a surefire road back to old habits. By keeping things simple you changes comes a lot easier and makes fat loss something that fits your life, not the other way around.
Fill out the form below if you’re looking for a coach who can help you adopt the simple habits necessary to reach your health, fat loss or muscle building goals.
These habits are based on getting you to your goal in a sustainable fashion that can be maintained, while keeping you accountable along the way.