5 Myths and Mistakes of Weight Loss
A very common conversation that happens amoungst women surrounds the subject of weight loss. With the power of Goggle at our fingertips, we are able to find the “latest and greatest” weight loss tricks and tips. But with all of the different methods available to us, we question what actually works and what doesn’t. In this week’s blog post, I want to discuss the 5 most common myths and mistakes we, as woman, make when it comes to trying to lose weight. You may be shocked that a lot of these myths and mistakes you have probably already tried.
I need to workout 2 hours a day
First and foremost….the answer to this one is NO! In all honesty, anything over an hour or so (especially if it is higher intensity) is a massive overkill and can actually do more harm than good. In a previous blog post, I reviewed the benefits of high intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT has been documented in many studies and journal articles as being one of the most effective ways to lose weight. Even lowering to a more a moderate intensity versus higher (meaning modifying the intensity of the different movements) has great data supporting weight loss. Make sure you check that blog post out for the references supporting these statements.
I can say, for me, that HIIT most definitely has been a “game changer” - not only in my life, but in the lives of my friends and family. And let's be honest—we don’t live in a world where its even remotely possible to spend more than an hour at the gym. Or in my case, I can’t even get to a gym. With HIIT you can literally perform it anywhere (ie: garage, hotel room etc) but still get a great workout in a short period of time.
Erin and I both tend to educate our patients to stick around 30-45 minutes daily. Why this time frame? Because it is the most realistic when it comes to sticking to a daily routine and once you hit 30-45 minutes of a high intensity workout—you are done!
Simple: Calories in/Calories out
Yes this is another myth/mistake that has be etched into our brains. While there is a something to be said when it comes to keeping your caloric intake at a balanced level (especially when you are trying to lose weight), restricting your calories to the point of putting your body into starvation mode will backfire on your efforts.
If you are even remotely interested in losing weight, I am sure you have came across the term “oxidative stress” in your research. Oxidative stress “is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body.” (1) Why is this important? Because oxidative stress leads to low chronic inflammation which, in turn, can cause weight gain- specifically around the abdomen. You know those women who say “I am barely eating anything but still gaining weight/can’t lose a pound”? Yep…its likely due to the stress they are putting on their bodies by not feeding it properly.
In a previous blog post “Our favorite health and wellness apps,” we mentioned the app My Fitness Pal. This is a great app for tracking your caloric intake and output. Most importantly, it gives you a suggested amount of calories for that day when you set up your profile and what goals you have for weight loss. If you don’t meet close to the suggested number it will give you a warning that you are not taking enough calories and could potentially be sabotaging your weight loss efforts. I love the fact that this app encourages its clients to hit a certain number rather than not mention this at all. It also will tell you how much sodium you have taken in, if you are eating too many carbohydrates versus protein, and encourages you to make better choices. And, for me, I am a visual learner so seeing what I am eating (in numbers) puts more emphasis on the fact that its not about how much you actually eat but the quality of what you are putting into your body.
Fat makes you fat!
Ugh! Seriously, this has to be one of the most annoying myths out there- at least for me. With all of the clinical data coming out, and what has already been proven, I am not sure how anyone still believes that fat will make you fat. Now, there is a difference between good fats and bad fats (and yes, we wrote a lengthly, heavily evidence-based supported blog post about this subject as well). But overall, it's the quality of your fat intake that can actually help you in your weight loss journey rather than detour you from your goal.
“Fat is a macronutrient that is essential for our very existence. When the right kind of fat is consumed in appropriate portion sizes, it provides us energy and keeps our brain and vital organs protected and healthy. It aids in the absorption of important vitamins such as vitamins D, A, and E. In childhood, it supports our growth and development.” (2)
Higher quality fatty foods (ie: avocados, certain oils, nuts and seeds etc) are not only good for us, they are highlighted in certain weight loss diets such as ketogenic, paleo, and elimination diets such as the Whole 30. Now, is the weight loss due to the higher fat intake or the removal/drastic reduction of carbohydrates? Most likely it is both. But overall, the combination tends to work well for the majority of us who are trying to shed fat by utilizing it as an energy source.
My gut health has nothing to do with my weight
As you know by now, Erin and I are #gutgeeks. Yes, even the gut has a major roll in your weight loss journey. Many clinical studies (3) (4) (5) have shown there is a major correlation between your gut health and obesity; 2,701 studies to be exact (6)--when using the search words “gut microbiota obesity”. And it won’t stop there.
Gut health has become the center of attention when it comes to researching and treating chronic diseases, including obesity. Why you may ask? Dr Mark Hyman, director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, wrote an article titled “How to fix your gut bacteria and lose weight” in which he states that our ingestion of foods high in omega-6 fatty acids (bad fat!) and low intake of omega-3 fatty acids (anti-inflammatory good fats) alters our gut microbiota, thereby causing a systemic, chronic low inflammatory response throughout our body. “Bad bugs produce toxins called lipopolysacchardies (LPS) that trigger inflammation, insulin resistance or pre-diabetes and therefore, promote weight gain.” (7)
So how do we “fix” our gut microbiota and stabilize the trillions of microbes home? Dietary changes and supplementation. Anti-inflammatory resets such as Whole 30 help you to decrease this chronic inflammation, “starve” the bad gut bacteria that are causing these issues, and allow you feed the good bacteria in order for them to thrive and flourish. Along with the elimination of inflammatory triggers that allows healing to occur, you must replace and replenish with good bacteria and foods to feed the good bacteria.
When it comes to replacing and replenishing, Erin and I both love Amare’s Fundamentals line. This pack contains all you need when it comes to syncing your gut-brain axis and rebooting your gut microbiota with high-quality pro and pre-biotics.
Not only will you allow your body to let go of the unwanted pounds, you will decrease overall chronic inflammation and help to prevent other chronic diseases from forming including diabetes, heart disease, depression, anxiety, and many others that are continuing to be researched.
Losing weight is a linear process
Lastly, the biggest myth—weight loss is the same process with everyone. This is truly NOT the case. Some days and weeks you will be able to lose weight and others you may remain at the same number. But remember, so many factors play into this - everything from hormone fluctuations to sodium intake and weight lifting versus cardio exercises. These elements can be in or out of your control and it's the power of knowing the difference that can help you with hitting your goal. Maybe, if you know it's “that time of the month,” staying away from higher sodium foods and drinks and increasing your water intake to double what you normally consume can help you avoid additional water weight gain. Or, if you are doing more weight lifting more than cardio, you know the scale may be something to avoid as the “increase” in numbers is more likely due to muscle rather than fat. Again, knowing the difference and preparing during certain insistences can help you avoid becoming frustrated and possibly losing motivation.
Just know that everyone’s weight loss journey looks different and you are able to meet your goal IF you are willing to put the work in, remain determined and motivated, and never give up on yourself. Hopefully debunking these very common myths and mistakes will give you the confidence and reassurance to either start your weight loss journey or continue onward to your goal. Just remember YOU’VE GOT THIS!