Weight-Loss Myths: BUSTED!
Are you setting a goal for weight loss? If you've ever struggled with your weight, you know that there are many health myths out there about how to lose body fat and gain muscle mass.
Only one thing is for certain... body weight and composition is truly a matter of bio-individuality. What works for someone else, may not work for you. You need to figure out the "rules" that work for you as an individual.
Both the quantity and quality of food matter. Calories and hormones matter. Differences in metabolic expression, psychology, and personal lifestyle choices matter, too. In this series of blog posts, I address myths about weight-loss that most people accept as facts.
MYTH #1: "It's simply a matter of calories in & calories out"
The truth: According to author, Gary Taubes, in his awesome book, Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It, there are good calories and bad calories. They are not all equal. Calories from proteins, fats, and carbohydrates act very differently in your body. Calories from refined foods are detrimental to your health, whereas calories from whole foods are more health supportive.
To lose weight, a calorie deficit is needed. That's also the truth. But, when it comes to eating (calories in), 100 calories from a snickers bar vs. broccoli vs. a grass-fed steak will have significantly different effects on your body.
As far as exercise (calories out), you can burn 100 calories by sitting on the couch, walking in a treadmill, or lifting weights. These will obviously have differing effects on the body, too.
Hopefully the above examples illustrate this myth clearly. The quality and type of calories matter. To lose weight, focus on your health first, by eating nutrient rich, whole foods. Avoid refined, artificial foods, and especially foods that cause a sharp rise in insulin like sugar and sugar equivalents (grains & starches). Toxins (like food additives) are much more prevalent than you'd think, and they completely hold your metabolism hostage! Read much more about this in my article: Toxins: Are They Making You Fat & Sick?
This is the healthy, natural way to permanently lose weight:
BY VALUING YOUR HEALTH FIRST.
Now that you understand that calories are a complicated matter, it's easy to see why tracking calories is futile in the end. There is really no way to accurately track calories in/out with all their various differences.
Smart Weight Loss
Firstly, YES, do keep a food journal to keep yourself accountable and bring about self-awareness (click here for a printable journal page). But, NO, don't bother tracking calories. Eat real wholesome, nourishing foods & get in the exercise that you enjoy (that's the best kind)!
Secondly, when you say you want to lose weight, what you really mean is that you want to lose adipose (fat) tissue and gain (not lose) muscle. Doing weight training is fantastic for many, many reasons, and gaining muscle tissue is actually helpful in burning off body fat. High intensity interval training is great, too. (You'll get much more bang-for-your-buck health-wise than by doing chronic cardio exercise).
However, muscle tissue weighs more than fat tissue of an equal volume. So, NO, don't go by the scale! Pick an article of clothing and judge by how it fits, instead. Or, measure yourself and watch the #'s decrease. YOU CAN DO IT!
Now - Please go on to read Weight-loss MYTH #2, MYTH #3, and (Part 4) Real Weight-loss: Au Naturale Nutrition Style! (and they are biggies!)
Jenny Yelle, MHNE Holistic Wellness Educator
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