The Four Most Common Weight Loss Myths Busted

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Whether it’s gossip at the gym, an Internet search that leads to article after article of the latest and greatest fad diet, or simply what Mom grew up telling you, the topic of weight loss, weight gain, diet, and exercise seems to be all the rage, all the time. But with so many opinions and ideas floating around as to how to best lose weight and keep it off, it is hard to distinguish between what is actually helpful and effective, and what is just a big ole’ lie. Our list below explains why four commonly promoted ideas surrounding weight loss are actually not true at all, and what you should be focusing on instead if you are looking to safely and efficiently lose a couple of pounds.

  1. You Can “Spot Train” Your Trouble Areas

As much as we wish it was not true, there is no such thing as “spot training.” Spot training refers to targeting specific areas and parts of the body through exercise, in an attempt to lose the layer of fat in that region. But, unfortunately, doing a million sit-ups is not going to target the belly fat that is covering up your six-pack. You will certainly work the abdominal muscles in excess, but you will not directly burn the fat in that area. You might have heard it before – “abs are made in the kitchen.” This is true, to an extent, in that it explains that diet is critical to fat loss. Even if you were NOT doing a ton of core and abdominal work, if you have a healthy diet and are not overeating, you will likely see at least a little muscle definition.

2. You Can Just Exercise To Make Up For Your Bad Diet

Hate to break it to ya, but just because you spend 2 hours a day in the gym grinding it out does not mean you can top off each evening with half a pizza and a pint of ice cream. We all wish it was true because the desire to eat rich, decadent, and indulgent foods is too real! And it sucks to think about because, after all, exercising is HARD! It would seem that, if we are working our bodies out to their extremes, we should be able to eat whatever the heck we want, whenever we want it! But, unless you are an elite athlete or an ultramarathoner, (who are actually STILL extremely conscious of their diet and the way the foods they consume make them feel and help or hinder their performance, despite burning thousands of calories a day) when you break down the calories to compare expenditure versus intake, it just does not balance out.

For example, let’s say you ran for an hour (about 7 miles) and then did an hour of intense weight training. Being generous, we can estimate that you burned somewhere between 1300-1700 calories. That is a lot! But then suppose you use that to justify a lunch of a quarter pounder burger with cheese (about 500 calories), a medium side of fries (about 350 calories), and a medium chocolate shake (800 calories). In one meal, you put back everything you just burned… and maybe even a little more. That does not even include your other two meals and snacks! Every once in a while, you should ABSOLUTELY be treating yourself with indulgent meals (heck, even every couple of days would be okay!) But a daily bad food habit is going to wreak habit on your weight loss goals.

  1. Excessively Cutting Calories

This one might make you a bit happy – when you want to lose weight, the answer is NOT to drastically cut calories so much that you are not fueling your body’s needs in the right way. First of all, under-eating can deprive your body of vital nutrients that it needs in order to simply function well. As a result, your body will start shutting down important functions that it does not necessarily need in order to survive, and your metabolism will slow way down (which is the exact opposite of what you want as far as weight loss is concerned!)

Instead of burning fat, a major calorie deficit will likely just trigger your body into “starvation” mode, and it will actually hold on to fat, in an attempt to keep itself fed. Undereating also almost always inevitably just leads to overeating, which is the body’s natural reaction to starvation! When you don’t give your body the number of calories it NEEDS, you will be far less likely to control yourself when it is finally time to eat. If you have ever tried to drastically diet for a specific event, you understand this. Let’s say you dieted for months before your wedding. On the day of your wedding, and especially thereafter during your honeymoon, you probably couldn’t control yourself and your hunger (and, in due time, you likely gained back whatever weight you might’ve lost).

  1. Cutting Out Certain Food Groups Will Help You Lose Weight

Carbs have somewhat of a bad reputation in the diet and fitness world. And more and more, people are turning to gluten-free diets, non-dairy diets, vegan diets and vegetarian diets in an attempt to help them lose weight. But unless you have an actual food allergy, cutting out (or even just limiting) certain food groups can actually deter your weight loss attempts. The body was literally created to function off of consumption of ALL three macronutrients – protein, fat, AND carbs. Your body was designed to not just crave these food groups but actually FUNCTION off of them. Your body needs carbohydrates for energy. Carbs help you exercise, they help you run errands, clean your kitchen and play with your kids, and they help your brain focus on monumental tasks and approaching deadlines at work. Without them, your body suffers – and so does your weight loss! In moderation, all food groups will work to help your body perform its very best, and you won’t be left craving something because you’re refusing your body’s desires to eat it (which just runs the risk of bingeing uncontrollably on it later and undoing your weight loss work). The key to eating ALL food groups in moderation.

Sources

  1. Christina Stiehl & Molly Donovan, 20 Weight Loss Myths You Probably Believe, Eat This, Not That! Article, Apr 13, 2018
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