Weight loss advice is so common (and contentious) now. There are competing opinions everywhere.
I say, forget about “who’s right” and let’s focus on “what’s right.” Because what I’m focusing on in this post gets results.
I respect you too much to make empty promises and try to sell you on something that doesn’t work.
There are too many weight loss myths out there. I’m going to tackle the top ones I come across in my practice.
Myth: Calories cause weight gain, and fewer calories are the path to weight loss
Calories are important for weight loss. If you eat and absorb a ton more than you use, then your body will store some for later. Calories do matter.
But, they are not the end-all, be-all of weight loss. They’re important, but they’re the symptom…not the cause. Let’s think about the reasons people eat more calories. Let’s focus on the causes.
People eat too many calories, not because they’re hungry, but because they feel sad, lonely, or bored. Or maybe because they’re tired or stressed. Or maybe even because they’re happy and celebrating. And all these feelings interact with our gastrointestinal, nervous and hormonal systems; all of which influence our calorie intake.
Myth: “Eat less, move more” is good advice
Well, then we’re all in tip-top shape, right? Because people have been handing out this advice (myth) for years.
The premise of this is based on the above myth that calories in minus calories out equals your weight. So, eat fewer calories and/or burn off more calories…because human physiology is a simple math equation, right?!
Even if people can happily and sustainably follow this advice (which they can’t!); it completely negates other factors that contribute to weight problems. Things like the causes of overeating we mentioned above. Not to mention our genetics, health conditions we’re dealing with or our exposure to compounds that are “obesogenic.”
And if we restrict calories enough, our bodies learn to hold on to whatever they can. Metabolism slows and the bodies learns to store fat for when it won’t get enough calories to function.
Myth: A calorie is a calorie
Can we please put this one to bed already?
Science has confirmed several caloric components of food differ from others. For example, the “thermic effect of food” (TEF) is that some nutrients require calories to be metabolized. They can slightly increase your metabolism, just by eating them.
For example, 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%.
Here’s another example of a calorie not being a calorie. Different fats are metabolized differently. Medium chain triglycerides (fats) (MCTs) have the same 9 calories/gram that other fats do; but, they’re metabolized by the liver before getting into the bloodstream and therefore aren’t utilized or stored the same way as other fats.
Myth: Buy this supplement/tea/food/magic potion to lose weight
There is no magic pill for weight loss. No supplement, tea, food, or other potion will do the trick.
There are products that make these claims, and they’re full of garbage (or shall I say “marketing gold?”). The only thing you will lose is your money (and possibly your hope). So, please don’t believe this myth. There is a reason most people who lose weight can’t keep it off. The real magic is in adopting a sustainable, holistic and healthy approach to living your life. What you need is a long-term lifestyle makeover, not a product.
So you might be saying, but don’t you drink a shake everyday?!
Yes, I do, but this is just one of my TOOLS (along with fitness, minimizing toxic chemicals and an awareness of what I eat and where it comes from) that help me live a healthy lifestyle. It is not a miracle weight loss shake. It is a dense source of the nutrients that my body needs to function optimally. It helps my digestion, energy levels and provides my body with the nutrients it needs so that I don’t crave as much junk food.
Myth: You must cut out entire food groups/macronutrients to lose weight
You would think that after the low-fat craze that I grew up with in the 80s and 90s, we would have figured out by now that we don’t need to cut out entire food groups or macronutrients (i.e. fat or carbohydrates) to lose weight. But vegan and keto diets, which tend to limit the exact opposite things, are both hot topics right now.
Yes, due to our genetic ancestry and how our bodies evolved to process food and nutrients, our bodies may prefer to have a higher percentage of one macronutrient than another. But you do not have to cut out carbohydrates to lose weight. In fact, that can be very dangerous if not done properly with the right medical supervision.
So let’s be real. Weight loss is hard! There are too many people out there trying to make it sound like they have the simple solution (or the latest and greatest!).
Don’t fall for the myths that say:
- 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.
- You must cut out entire food groups/macronutrients to lose weight.
If you are looking to lose weight and want to learn the “right way” to do it for long-term results, join me for a 30 Day Slim Down to Summer Health Bet starting May 7 on Facebook.