August 21, 2011

8 Fat Loss Myths

There's a ton of them...
here's a few that I hear
most often.
Over the years I have heard many tales of fat loss strategies, special exercises, and foods that promise lasting results in the battle of the bulge.  For successful (life long) weight loss to happen, one must face the facts and kick the myths to the curb. Below is a few of these myths.

Myth 1:  I'm gaining weight because my metabolism is slowing down as I age.

Because muscle eats up a lot of energy to exist, the more muscle one has the more energy is needed.  Over the years, we lose lean muscle tissue and inevitably gain more fat tissue. The good news is no matter what your age, you can always add more lean tissue and burn more calories at rest. Resistance training is the key to this to maintain the metabolism you have now.

Myth 2:  The StairMaster is better at slimming my thighs than the treadmill.

There continues to be a belief that if one exercises a specific body part, that body part will reduce in size and lose the fat.  This is referred to as "spot reduction" and every fitness trainer on the planet is aware of this myth (I hope). Unfortunately, although you may strengthen the muscle in that body part, it won't lead to losing the fat there. A combination of resistance training and cardio (not to mention a healthy diet) for the entire body will. Therefore, if you are getting rid of a treadmill for another piece of equipment because you think it will work better...don't. If you are doing 100 sit ups before bed to gain a flat stomach....stop.

Myth 3:  I don't have the time to dedicate to exercise.

If you want to change behaviour you have to go slow. Therefore, it is not recommended to exercise more than 2 times per week to start. In addition, adding only 15 minutes of walking a day (or each of those days) is all you need to start. Just stick with that for a month and add on as you stick to it. The belief that you must workout 5 days a week coupled with a strict diet is the reason why so many people fall off the wagon.
Every little bit counts.

Myth 4:  I am eating healthy and doing all the right things and am still not losing anything.

This one is a toughie because whatever we think we are doing, the chances are good that we are overlooking a few things getting in our way of success.  That's why I always start my sessions with new clients by asking them to write down everything that passes their lips. This way I can get a clear picture of what is happening now. Many times it's the pops or juices (because people still think juice is a healthy option). Perhaps it is the amount of butter / fat in the diet or other habits we just don't consider. The fact of the matter is...any diet can be tweaked to ensure success. The only problem is it needs to be a diet you are happy with and not one you feel you can't sustain for the rest of your life.

Another myth suggests you
will gain more weight if you
eat after eight.  Remember,
a calorie is a calorie no matter
what time it is....
Myth 5:  Diet alone will keep the weight off.

Although what you eat makes a huge difference, it must be coupled with daily physical activity. As noted in myth #1, lean muscle tissue helps to increase metabolism. In addition, a daily walk can burn those calories that you would otherwise store.  Don't let the notion of daily physical activity intimidate you, start a walking program and maintain it for the rest of your life. Start slowly and progress moderately for a year. Within the year you could be walking up to 60 minutes a day!

Myth 6:  There are specific foods I should eat for effective fat loss.

No matter who suggests eating a bowlful of broccoli or cauliflower may speed up the fat loss not pay any attention.  The fact is the calories that you eat must equal or be less than the calories you burn to either maintain or lose fat.  A pound of fat is 3,500 calories. Therefore, to lose a pound a week you must have a deficit of 3,500 calories. No vegetable, drink, powder, or pill will do it for you. By cutting out the sodas and juice and opting for water you may just make that differences by one little change. Add some walking to that (be it up the stairs vs. the elevator or even getting up to change the channel) and you have burned even more.

Myth 7:  A food low in fat and sugar is a healthy option and great for fat loss.

Just because a frozen entre with a weight loss program's label on it may be low in fat, doesn't mean it is a healthy option. Although it may be better than driving through McDonald's (although I have to tell ya...I just had one of their grilled chicken salads and have to say it's a great option for fast food if ever you need one) it still contains a list of chemicals needed for shelf life, colouring, taste, and the like.  If you are choosing to eat oatmeal for breakfast, choose one without the additional sugar and flavourings...choose whole oats with nothing else. Fat is a healthy part of any diet.  The good fats come from fish, oils, nuts, and avocado (to name a few), add some of this to your diet and get rid of any food item with a list of more than 6 ingredients and/or ingredients you can't pronounce.

Myth 8:  The faster I loose it the more successful I will be.

Unlike the myths you see playing out on the Biggest Loser, losing fat fast is your ticket to gaining weight in the future. Only a very small percentage of losers keep it off for life. It is important to make changes that you can keep for life. It is also important to lose weight slowly; 1-2 pounds per week is suggested for healthy weight loss.  If you are losing quickly enjoy it while you can and don't throw out your fat will need them soon enough.

It's not sexy and I'm certainly no competition for the websites and blogs touting the latest in fat loss...but it is the truth. Fat loss is an industry and for every one fat loss guru out there there are thousands of followers taking notes. Thank God for that...or I would be out of a job.


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