It’s been a hell of a week. I’ve minimized my travel with the end of year, but I don’t feel like I’ve been any less busy.
I’ve been struggling with topics lately, but here’s one that is very near and dear to my heart; some of the biggest myths in weight loss. When I started my journey, I found I had so much misinformation. Here are some of the biggest myths folks fall prey to:
- Lifting weights makes you look bulky.
FALSE. I use to fall victim to this philosophy. When I was heavy, I would go to the same gym every night and do the same elliptical for an hour. I’d burn 400 calories. I’d log my weight watcher points and count out my reduced fat cheez-its feeling pretty damn accomplished. I get it. Here’s what I didn’t know: Lifting heavy weights has many benefits, specifically in that you can burn up to 40% more fat. While cardio does burn some fat, it also burns your muscle, which creates the “flabby batwings,” all ladies hate. Lifting weights burns mostly fat. Additionally, muscle is smaller than fat, creating a toned appearance and smaller package. Don’t believe me? Check out this little flick. Here’s the difference a balanced diet and weight training program makes: Incorporating weight training also burns more calories POST workout. For example, yesterday I worked out with my trainer Matt doing a variety of overhead squats, bench press, ab circuits, push-ups and some quick 30 second sprints on the bike. I went to brunch and by the end had burned 1500 calories (that’s by 12pm). Today I went to the gym and did one hour of steady state cardio on the Stair master and Tread climber. Two hours later, I’ve burned 450 calories.
Now of course, one thing to remember is that weight loss at it’s core comes down to being in a deficit (meaning I EAT less calories than I expend). One common mistake women make is that they come home starving from weight lifting and eat all the calories they just put out. THAT will make you bulky. If you’re struggling with where to start with the weights, I recommend trying an online program like mine or taking a local class.
2. Carbs are bad.
If I hear another person talk about low carb dieting I am going to totally freak out. I have freaky flashbacks to Atkins diets watching people shovel jerky and cheese down their throats. The jury is still out on this, but many studies showed that participants in low-carb diets often gained the weight back, some double. While low-carb diets can prove beneficial in some medical situations (ie, severe obesity), they often don’t fare well for the average dieter. There are a few reasons for this, but the most important one is that statistically, restrictive diets fail. If a person goes into a starvation-type state, they are going to gain weight the second they slip up. No bueno. Additionally carbs boost your mood, provide energy to work out, and promote healthy weight loss by keeping you full. Eating carbs build and repair the amazing muscle that we spoke about in item #1. Remember that there are types of carbs; complex and simple. Complex carbs are items like vegetables and fruits, while simple carbs make up sugary pastries and breads. I like to keep my diet rich with carbs like oatmeal, whole grain bread, sweet potatoes, and brown rice. Of course, fruits and veggies are always needed too!
3. Losing weight is the only way to measure progress.
Barf. Throw your scale away. One of the worst thing you can do is only measure your progress by the scale. Remember what I said about muscle? It looks a lot different and there is a difference between body fat and body composition. Other factors that can change the scale is time of day, your body holding water weight, or even just the actual scale! Keeping track of WEIGHT is just one way to measure progress. It’s important to take progress photos, measurements, and keep track of how your clothes are fitting!
4. In order to lose fat, you should cut fat.
Many people think that gaining “fat,” is caused by eating too much “fat.” It sounds logical right? Actually no. Fats are proven to boost your immune system, prevent lower belly fat, and have even been linked to better fertility. While saturated fats like butter and whole milk can increase your cholesterol, unsaturated fats like olive oils and nuts are very beneficial. Fats additionally help you have a “full” feeling! My favorite healthy fats are olive oil, avocado, almonds, and sunflower seeds.
5. Everything you eat has to be “healthy.”
“I’m just trying really hard to be healthy by only eating vegetables, fruits, and protein.” Oh lawd have mercy girls! I admire you, but I don’t envy you. While these diets are great for quick weight loss and resets, why would you need/want to live this way? Mama needs her wine. Many people think that in order to be shredded that you can’t drink or eat anything bad. That’s the beauty of macro dieting. While it is important to be good most of the time, it’s OK to have a cheat meal once a week or splurge on a glass of wine (or two) as long as you account for it. As long as you are properly intaking proteins, carbs, and fats, (AND ACCOUNTING FOR THEM!) a little cheat meal won’t hurt you.
These are just a few myths I learned through my process. What about you?