Do you struggle when it comes to losing weight? Are you doing “all of the things”, yet you still aren’t getting results? We totally get it. And it can be so frustrating.
The good news is that we have some strategies you can implement right now to get you on track. In this article, we debunk 5 common myths about fat loss that may be holding you back.
1. All you need is 30 minutes of exercise per day
There is some truth to this; however, what this advice doesn’t tell you is how intense the activity should be and what it should entail. It’s important to be active and get those steps in, but if you’re not increasing your heart rate or pushing yourself, you likely won’t get results. To burn fat and build/sustain lean muscle, you must impose demands on your body through purposeful exercise.
Hot Tip: Incorporate intervals and resistance training to increase the intensity of your workout and turn your body into a fat burning machine.
2. To lose weight you must remove carbs entirely
The debate over carbs is one that has been going on for a long time. And it definitely can work as a short term strategy to improve your sensitivity/tolerance to carbs, reverse insulin resistance, suppress hunger and burn stored fat. But going ultra low-carb comes at a hefty price: it’s not sustainable long-term and we need carbs to fuel our brains and to build muscle.
Hot tip: Try timing carbs around your exercise (when your body needs them the most). Or, have them earlier in the day as opposed to late at night or before bedtime when you require less energy. You can also cycle them throughout the week. For example, try having more carbs on the days you require more energy and/or when you exercise.
3. Fat loss is all about calories in and calories out
Yes — there is some truth to this for sure. If you aren’t in a caloric deficit, you won’t lose weight. But when it comes to body composition, you need to pay close attention to the foods you are eating. For example, if you don’t eat enough protein, you will lose muscle mass. So although you will lose weight, you won’t necessarily look better. You will simply become a smaller version of yourself. On the other hand, the more lean muscle you have, the faster your metabolism will be. This means you will burn more calories at rest (even when you’re not working out). But if you tend to eat excessive amounts of sugar or refined carbs, your body will likely to store them as fat.
Hot tip: Include plenty of lean proteins, low-glycemic carbs, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Watch out for hidden sugars in prepared foods such as yogurt, cereals, frozen meals, canned goods and packaged foods. The best way to avoid this is by preparing your meals and snacks from scratch.
4. Do more cardiovascular exercise such as running, biking or the elliptical to elicit fat loss
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Cardio will help you lose weight, but if you do too much, it will be at the expense of your hard earned muscle. And when you lose muscle, your metabolism will slow down and you will lose tone and definition.
Hot tip: A combination of resistance training, cardio and a clean diet is the formula to improving your body composition.
5. Consume less than 1,200 calories per day
Did you know not eating enough can actually prevent weight loss? If you go below 1,200, your body will likely start to hold onto fat. Our bodies are very smart. They do what they can to prevent weight loss and starvation. So if you aren’t taking in enough calories to fuel your activity levels and support your body weight, you could slow down weight loss. But more importantly, it could be detrimental to your health. You need to make sure you are consuming enough calories to meet your body’s minimal daily requirements (also known as Basal Metabolic Rate).
Hot Tip: Use a calorie calculator or food tracking app to determine your daily caloric needs. This is different for everyone. For example, if you have a physical job or you exercise daily, you would require more calories than someone who is less active. You should aim to lose 1-2 lbs per week.