Happy Monday to you! Starting today, I will be using Monday’s to expose some very common weight loss myths. As you know, there are plenty of them out there, so it will take us 2-3 months to bust as many of them as possible.
Myth #1 – To Lose Weight, Cut Carbs or Fat
If you’ve tried or read up on some of those drop-weight-fast diet plans out there, what makes them special is that they restrict your intake of one particular nutrient, usually carbs or fat. When you cut out all of your starchy carbs (bread, cereal, rice, pasta, potatoes, etc.), not only are you cutting back your overall calorie intake, but you’re removing from your diet they very foods that help your body retain water. Think of when you make a pot of rice – you start off with 1 cup of uncooked rice and end up with 3 cups of cooked rice. What happens during the cooking process is that the rice grain swells as it fills with water. So too does your body if you are eating too many starchy carbs. When you cut them out, so to goes the excess body water. Unfortunately, this is not a healthy weight loss idea, as your body needs the nutrients found in unprocessed whole grains like sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice, and oats. These foods are full of cholesterol-lowering fiber, and immune-boosting antioxidants and phytochemicals. More important is to figure out what the appropriate amount is to help you achieve your weight loss goals.
A recent study of various diets followed participants for 24 months. They all followed a calorie-restricted diet with varying amounts of carbs, protein, and fat. The results published in the New England Journal of Medicineshowed that all participants lost about the same amount of weight (9 lbs.), proving that calories are the most important thing in losing weight, not the restriction of a particular food group. To lose weight, you have to take in less calories than you burn. Gimmicky diets are a recipe for nutrient deficiency and have no success in long-term successful weight maintenance.
What should you do?
First, figure out how many calories you need to lose weight. I recommend giving yourself a range of calories so that you don’t feel restricted and that you provide enough fuel to your body to keep you metabolism high. The worst thing you can do is to slash you food calories too low, as this will only cause your metabolism to slow down, making it more difficult to lose the weight. Anything under 1,200 calories is too low. If you’re planning on exercising regularly(which I hope you are), you absolutely need more calories to help your body recover so that you can continue to exercise at a high level. Also, listen to your body – If it is hungry (physical hunger, not emotional hunger), then feed it, even if it means going over your calorie range.
- Multiply your goal weight by 12 = ______
- Multiply your goal weight by 16 = ______
- This is your calorie range to aim for every day
The best way to lose weight is through a combination of healthy, clean eating and regular exercise. Not only will you lose weight, but you will improve your aerobic capacity, insulin sensitivity, blood sugar level, blood pressure, and cholesterol – without going into starvation mode.