As we approach April and the mini shorts, crop tops, and bathing suits begin to make their way out of the closets, the focus becomes getting beach body ready. As a result, one of the most common fitness requests we get here at Staterra is to loose weight. No matter the age, gender, ethnicity, or marital status of our clients, weight-loss seems to always come up in terms of fitness goals.
Although balancing your own bodies deficiencies is one of your best tools for success, here are a few myths we most commonly run in to when speaking to clients about weight-loss and our tips when discussing REAL, long term results.
1.) Going on a Diet Is the Best Way to Lose Weight
The Theory: Switching to a restrictive plan temporarily is the smartest way to drop pounds.
The Reality: Short-term, you do lose weight on any plan that results in your eating fewer calories. But temporary changes don’t lead to permanent losses.
A diet won’t work if you think of it as doing a different thing for a while and then you’re going to stop doing it. If you have a new way of eating and think, I’m going to eat like this forever, that’s the way to lose weight. And keep it off.
The Best Advice: Don’t go on a “diet”― a quick fix that begins on New Year’s Day or before bathing-suit season. Instead, focus on changing the way you eat. Find a satisfying eating plan that you can live with long-term.
2.) To Lose Weight, You Need to Cut Calories Drastically
The Theory: Eat much less; weigh much less.
The Reality: Again – Sure, if you subsist on 1,200 calories a day, you’ll take off weight, but it won’t be for long.
Consider an analysis of 31 studies of long-term diets, where the diets averaged 1,200 calories a day. The report, published last April found that within four to five years, the majority of dieters in these studies regained the weight they had lost.
The Best Advice: Don’t starve yourself. Psychologically, it’s difficult for people to adhere to strict diets over a long period because they feel deprived and hungry. Also, our bodies are brilliant at keeping us alive when we try to starve them. Your body becomes more efficient at using the calories you consume, so you need fewer to survive. In addition, people who are put on a very-low-calorie diet (800 calories a day) have an increased risk of developing gallstones and digestive issues.
3.) Diet Foods Help You Diet
The Theory: Low-fat, low-carb, and artificially sweetened packaged foods make losing weight painless.
The Reality: Low-fat and low-carb don’t always mean low-cal, and if you’re trying to lose weight, stocking up on these treats could undermine your efforts.
In a series of recent studies, for instance, participants ate up to 50 percent more of foods that the researchers falsely labeled “low-fat” than they did of the same exact foods with real labels. “Consumers expect that low-fat M&M’s contain 20 percent fewer calories than their regular counterparts,” concluded the authors of the studies, Brian Wansink, Ph.D., and Pierre Chandon, Ph.D., in the Journal of Marketing Research, in November 2006. Importantly, as a result, they expect that comparable increases in serving sizes are justified. Some experts also believe that consuming artificial sweeteners might backfire. Two long-term studies looking at the drinking habits of thousands of people have found a correlation between drinking diet soda and being overweight.
The Best Advice: When you’re tempted by a snack food that’s labeled “light” or “low-fat,” check the nutrition label. Look at how many calories are in a serving, then compare that number with the calories in a comparable product that’s not making a label claim. And then consider having just a small amount of the real thing. You may end up consuming fewer calories with, say, a full-fat product than you would with a low-fat version, because fat tends to be more satisfying. And take care that you don’t decide―consciously or not―that substituting a diet soda for a full-sugar one gives you license to eat a box of Christmas chocolates instead.
4.) Coffee Can Help You Lose Weight
The Theory: The caffeine in coffee acts as an appetite suppressant and a metabolism booster.
The Reality: While coffee may temporarily squelch your appetite, drinking a couple of cups a day won’t have enough of an effect to help you lose weight. Besides, pouring too much coffee into your system―drinking, say, four to seven cups a day―may lead to anxiety, sleeplessness, and an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.
The Best Advice: Enjoy a cup or two of coffee (or tea) every day, if you please. Just be sure that if you add anything to the brew―like cream, sugar, or cocoa powder―you take those calories into account.
For example, a 16-ounce Starbucks Café Mocha can contain a whopping 330 calories (60 more than some chocolate bars). What’s more, those calories might not make you feel as full as the same number of calories eaten in solid form. Another coffee concern: sleep disruption, which new evidence reveals is linked to weight control.
“Every time people feel tired, they think, I have to have a latte,” says Liz Applegate, Ph.D., director of sports nutrition at the University of California, Davis. “They become addicted to caffeine on a higher level, and it takes four to six hours to clear out of the system. Sleep is not as good, and you’re tired the next day.” And probably hungrier, too. At least two studies have shown that when people are sleep-deprived, they produce more of the hormone ghrelin, an appetite stimulant, and less leptin, an appetite suppressant. Not to mention that your resistance to the doughnut’s siren song is a whole lot lower when you’re pooped.
5.) Eating Fat Makes You Fat
The Theory: Fat has nine calories per gram, whereas carbs and protein have only four per gram, so to lose weight you have to avoid fat.
The Reality: Fat is not the enemy. Although fat-laden products can be full of calories, a modest amount of fat may help you feel full (so you eat less overall) and make healthy foods, like vegetables, taste better (so you may eat more of them). Fat also helps with the absorption of certain vitamins and phytonutrients, which are compounds in plants that are thought to promote health.
The Best Advice: Eat fat, but don’t go overboard, and think about which fats you do eat. For example, trans fats (which are in a lot of packaged foods, fried fast foods, and margarine) are no more caloric than the good fats, but they are less healthful, as they increase the risk of heart disease. There’s no need to eat dry salad or forgo any food you adore. Most everything in moderation will keep your weight where it belongs.