Everyone spends more time on Facebook than they realize, myself included.
Each day I see “weight loss tips,” “fat loss facts” and articles on how to lose weight more effectively.
Some articles popping up on my feed from fitness professionals are awesome–scientific based, evidence based and well researched.
But unfortunately, I see more fat loss articles from pop culture sites, all of which have more enticing titles and are less valid.
Recently there have been some pretty bizarre tips; I feel the need to blast these myths and put these “fat loss tips” to bed.
Four fat loss tips that are actually destroying your progress:
1) Do not eat two hours before bed.
If you are hungry and you have not eaten enough throughout the day, it does not matter when you get your calories.
Saying this is like telling a person their workout is only effective if done between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 a.m.
Let’s say you had a busy day at the office and couldn’t eat a snack nor dinner and it’s almost 9 p.m.?
Eating at 9 p.m. will not make you fat.
The calories sitting in your gut overnight after eating and going to bed will not automatically turn to fat because they were consumed around bedtime.
However, if you are eating in a caloric surplus (more calories than you need to maintain your weight), it will store as fat or muscle.
Depending on whether or not you lifted weights, your body will know if it should use the surplus to rebuild muscles or store as fat.
When you eat can affect your ability to hit specific caloric parameters. If you eat more often, (say every two hours), you may accidentally eat more than you should.
Conversely, some people will accidentally eat too much if they go too long without eating and then binge when they finally get to eat.
Thus spacing meals in even increments can be an excellent tool for many people to stay on track; it provides a consistent energy balance for the body.
Eating in specific time intervals is like being a well-oiled machine. The body knows when it will be fed and in turn, hunger pangs don’t occur to an extreme nor does one ever experience the feeling of being extremely full.
However, eating at specific hours of the day, (around bedtime or after waking) does not dictate what calories turn to fat.
The amount of calories you are consuming overall throughout the day dictates whether or not you gain or lose weight.
If you are trying to avoid eating and go to bed too hungry, only to wake up and scarf down a huge breakfast, this could be inhibiting your nutrition success.
You may be destroying your progress if you feel guilty when you give in to eating late at night.
You might think to yourself, “Ahh darn, I messed it up….”
If you think you messed up your diet you may continue to eat more than you should and thus begin a negative cycle.
If you take nothing from this article take this– you can’t mess it up— you can only choose whether or not to keep moving forward, or to stay in the same place.
2) Eating protein makes you big.
I eat at least 150 grams of protein everyday.
I can assure you, my clients will tell you eating enough protein can be rather tough; but they always feel full and they are all losing weight.
One gram of protein has about the same amount of calories as one gram of carbohydrates. However, protein is the main ingredient to build muscle. Thus, if you eat it, it will most likely be used to build and repair the muscles after lifting heavy weights.
It can be used for energy and it is also more filling than carbs because it is more dense.
There is more bang for your buck when you eat protein and by no means will it make you look “big.”
Hormones are a major component of building muscle. Testosterone, for example, is the key hormone responsible for increasing muscle size and, as you know, men have way more testosterone than women. Like…way more. Even with higher levels of testosterone, though, it’s still challenging for men to get bigger.
So do women have to worry about getting bigger solely from eating protein?
No. Absolutely not.
You don’t have enough testosterone and odds are you aren’t training like a bodybuilder.
However, one reason a person may gain weight on a high protein diet, could be eating high calorie, high protein and high fat foods.
First, eating too much of anything and maintaining a caloric surplus will make you gain weight. However some people gain weight without meaning to while emphasizing protein because the protein they consume comes with high amounts of fat.
Therefore, one thing to consider is where your protein is coming from–lean or fatty sources?
Some animal products have significant amounts of protein and fat alike.
Take beef for example; beef has a significant amount of protein, but depending on the cut of meat, it may have an equal amount of fat or greater amount of fat within it.
Therefore if your goal is to eat more protein than fat, you may want to focus on eating leaner meats with less fat in order to get the protein without the fat. Below is an example of how you might get 22 grams of protein with almost half the fat instead of the same amount of fat.
One thing to note, if you eat other fats throughout the day and you still need to consume more protein at dinner to hit your goal, try buying the 93% lean beef, it has even less fat.
It is important to realize that fat from beef is NOT bad fat; however, too much of anything is too much.
Therefore, it may be helpful to track what you are eating; then you will be able to see when you are in your upper limits for the day as far as fat goes. Choose leaner meat for dinner to stay on track.
3) Diet soda will make you fat.
Disclaimer: Diet soda is not nutritious. It will not really add to your diet.
However, it will not make you fat.
Having one to two sodas a day will not kill your progress.
I drink diet sodas. Am I addicted? No. Do I make my clients give them up completely? No. However, I do encourage them to drink more water and set up special benchmarks for their daily water intake.
Diet soda will not pack pounds onto your hips.
Saying such is like saying the squat machine alone with make your legs big or make you stronger. You cannot demonize one food just like you cannot attribute all strength gains to one exercise.
Diet soda is typically zero calories. At the end of the day, the only way to gain weight or get “fat” is to eat more calories than you actually need. Thus, if you are drinking a zero calorie drink, you will not be going over your daily needs with this drink alone.
In some instances, however, it may be important to omit diet soda. I actually have a client whose personal success was linked to giving up diet soda because it triggered her to eat fatty foods.
In this client’s case, she was also eating higher calorie foods because she thought the soda would allow her the room in her diet. She was also not drinking any water… at all.
Your takeaway: NOT drinking the zero-calorie soda may destroy progress if you think doing so gives you the option to eat more calories (than you should)– doing the latter will make you fat.
4) You have to follow the 8-hour diet, 4-hour diet, Atkins Diet, paleo lifestyle, low carb zone diet, or vegan lifestyle to lose weight.
What if I told you, you had to ride a bike 40 miles everyday for 12 weeks to lose fat. And after 12 weeks to stop riding completely?
First, those 40 miles everyday would suck. Second, you would be so happy when it was over yet clueless because you wouldn’t know what else to do for weight loss, right?
Choosing to drastically change your eating habits for a specific amount of time will not give you success. It will not be successful long-term even if it works short-term.
Weight loss should happen by reducing your calorie intake to an amount that allows you to feel good, to live and to be at a slight deficit in order to promote fat loss.
Obviously if you are eating twinkies everyday and coca-cola with donuts, fried chicken and pizza, changes need to be made in order to hit your caloric parameters and feel better; but there should be no drastic, unsustainable change.
Side note: Twinkies and Doritos are not sustainable long-term
Take “juice cleanses” for example. Would you be able to live on juice only for the rest of your life?
My rule of thumb is that if you can’t see yourself adhering to some idea or eating habit in ten years, you should probably find a more sustainable method.
Numerous, (strict) specific diets have come about because somebody at some point has seen personal success with that lifestyle.
Henceforth they marketed their idea in order to help others. However, just because it is marketed with taglines of great secrets and promised success doesn’t mean it is “the way” for everyone.
Also, by convincing yourself you have to be militant and adhere to a strict diet with a title and rigorous principles, you are in a sense signing up for that 40 mile bike ride everyday– waiting until the process is over.
At the end of the day, there are a lot of myths about fat loss. In my opinion it comes down to a few simple principles.
You either are eating more calories to gain weight, the right amount of calories to maintain weight, or less calories than you need, in order to lose weight. See my article on this principle here.
In order to achieve a surplus or deficit many people share “tricks of the trade” which they believe work to achieve aforementioned outcomes.
However the tricks of the trade are not the end all be all and may in fact destroy your progress if taken too literally.
Check out this article on What are you eating for?
If you have more questions about fat loss or weight gain, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
As always, #daretomove #daretoeat