We all know that weight loss requires healthy eating, regular exercise, determination and a lot of patience. Yet, from time to time, we hear about fad diets and magical quick fixes that promise to help you lose weight overnight. Don’t let these common weight loss myths hold you back from achieving your fitness goals. We’re debunking 4 of the most common ones out there, so you can stay on track with your weight loss goals!
1. ALL CALORIES ARE EQUAL
This one’s a weight loss misconception we cone across all the time! Calories can be a tricky one but understanding how calories work will help you a lot along your fitness journey.
Calories are units of energy. Although all calories have the same energy content, not all calories are created equal, meaning, not all calorie sources will have the same effect on your body. Calories come from 3 main macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fat. Depending on your intake of calories and where they came from, they can affect your body in very different ways.
For example, some fats are better for your health than others. Polyunsaturated omega-3 fats have anti-inflammatory properties, whereas artificial trans fats can cause weight gain and increase chances of heart disease. Likewise, not all proteins are created equal. Higher quality proteins, often found in foods like salmon or eggs, are better at satiating hunger and muscle repair than lower quality proteins such as processed meats which are linked to insulin resistance and metabolic disease. Carbohydrates are the most difficult to differentiate and include starch, sugar and fibre. Foods high in fibre are usually considered “high-quality” while those low in fibre are considered “low-quality".
Although there’s a lot of science involved, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Focus on the quality of your calories by consuming a healthy and balanced diet and avoid processed foods as best you can so you know your body is running on the right kind of fuel.
2. CARBS & FATS ARE BAD FOR YOU
Have you ever been heard that in order to lose weight, you must avoid carbohydrates and fats? This is a huge weight loss misconception and can be extremely misleading.
Weight gain occurs when you consume an excess of kilojoules (units of energy), which can come from any food group including carbohydrates, fats or proteins. As we discussed earlier, not all carbohydrates and fats are bad for you. The healthiest way to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle is not to restrict one food group or another, but to maintain a balanced diet that incorporates fresh, unprocessed wholefoods from every food group.
Carbs and fats are essential for healthy bodily function and shouldn’t be completely eliminated from a diet. All macronutrients are essential for a healthy body and weight!
3. MORE TIME AT THE GYM = MORE WEIGHT LOSS
Spending more time at the gym working out doesn’t necessarily equate to more weight loss. Just like the saying, “work smarter, not harder”, the more effective you make your workouts, the more fat you will burn. So, if you’re worried that you don’t have enough time to get a 2 hour workout in every day, worry not! Try HIIT (high-intensity interval training) for 30 minutes every second day and you’ll quickly see results! HIIT utilises cardiovascular exercise in the form of interval training alternating short periods of anaerobic exercise with even shorter recovery periods. HIIT sessions burn more calories in less time than a regular cardio workout at the gym, making them extremely efficient and effective. No equipment is necessary either – so anyone can participate in this exercise. HIIT accelerates fat loss, improves aerobic and anaerobic endurance, and increases metabolism. Try it out today!
4. CUT OUT ALL JUNK FOOD TO SEE RESULTS
You might be surprised to hear this one, but it’s actually good to indulge in your favourite foods every once in a while. When dieting to achieve weight loss, the average intake of calories is lower than the average output. When pursued continuously, the body begins to recognise this imbalance eventually tries to rebalance calories-in vs calories-out and causes your metabolism to drop. When you allow yourself a cheat day, this tricks the body into thinking it’s intaking enough calories and will speed up your metabolism. Just make sure you don’t over-indulge on high-calorie foods, as this will cause weight gain.
Allowing yourself an occasional “cheat day” or “cheat meal” can help you stay on track too, lowering your chances of falling off the wagon or giving up on your diet altogether. Just make sure you keep your portions in check and go for healthier alternatives (if you feel like hot chips, bake them instead of deep frying them; if you feel like chocolate, opt for dark chocolate; if you feel like a burger, use wholemeal bread, grilled chicken, lots of veggies and your favourite herbs and spices).
It’s all about balance. Make sure you plan your cheat days ahead and account for special occasions like birthdays, holidays, weddings, and nights out. Try to overlap cheat days to days where your activity level is especially high to help balance calories-in vs calories-out.
Do you have any weight loss myths? Drop them in the comments below.