We truly do live in the golden age of information, you can find literally anything on the internet. In fact you can probably find multiple articles to support whatever position you might already have on a topic. This is particularly true with weight loss articles since our society is utterly obsessed with finding fast, long lasting strategies to drop a few pounds for whatever grand event they have circled on their calendar that month. First of all, the problem with fast is it probably isn’t sustainable nor is it healthy, and beyond that, the advice you’re following to achieve your goal is probably just plain wrong anyways.
I’m here to tell you that if everyone is agreeing with it, you should still question it.
Let’s go through the top 5 weight loss strategies that are circling the internet today and talk about what’s wrong with them, shall we?
1. Stop eating after [insert arbitrary time here]
I frequent a lot of message boards to see what strategies people are currently using to lose weight, and I can’t tell you how often I see this one. Here’s the thing, your body doesn’t have any concept of time. We as people do, because we invented it! Your body works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and not at all within the parameters of days like we do. It doesn’t know that you’re gorging out on pizza today because it’s Friday or that you’ve had a couple extra cocktails because it’s Saturday night, it just knows that some new items have entered your system and now it’s going to work to process it as best it can. If I eat 2500 calories at 8am and nothing for the rest of the day, or if I eat them at 8pm, my body is none the wiser, it just knows I’ve had them, and regardless of the time, if I haven’t burned off 2500 calories that day, I will have gone over my calories.
The real tip you should follow: Eat when you’re hungry, eat mindfully, and try to make healthier choices wherever possible; your body will thank you for it.
2. Skip meals
This one goes pretty hand in hand with the above. I know a lot of people think that if they skip meals they’ll be able to pig out a little more at a later time. While to a degree this is true because fundamentally you’re “banking” your calories for later, in the long run you could be setting yourself up for a disaster. The real problem with skipping meals is that it trains you not to listen to your natural hunger cues, and while you might be able to keep it up for a few days, sooner or later you’re body is going to be screaming at your to nourish it. And what do people usually do when their body is screaming out for nourishment? They binge! This usually leads to a restrict-binge cycle and ultimately squashes the potential for healthy, sustainable habits.
The real tip you should follow: Again, eat when you’re hungry. If you really want to bank your calories because you know you’re going out to a nice calorie-dense dinner later, don’t starve yourself at lunch, but perhaps have a light snack instead rich with protein to keep you full and satisfied until your meal.
3. Switch all your condiments/dressings to their low-fat counterpart
The war on fat is still at large, and it couldn’t be more foolish. When eaten in moderation fats can help lower your cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease. In addition, fat helps you absorb important vitamins like vitamin A, D, E and K. Something labelled low fat isn’t necessarily healthy at all, it just means that the amount of fat in that condiment or dressing is low enough to hold that label. Know how they make up the taste difference when they make something low fat? Sugar. Lots and lots of sugar, which is arguably a heck of a lot worse than the fat you’d get if you just had the full-fat version of the product. So stop hating on fat. It’s good for you.
The real tip you should follow: Limit your saturated and trans fats, but keep the unsaturated fats as found in fish, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds.
4. Stop eating those damn carbs
The only thing bigger than the war on fat is the war on carbs. Every woman I know is saying no to delicious pasta, breads, pizzas, and I’m here to remind you that you don’t have to do that. Seriously. Carbs are key because not only do they help give you long lasting energy to get you through your day, they also boost serotonin levels which means you’ll be happier for including them. They’ll also keep your memory sharp, and if you fill your tummy with “slow-release” carbs like found in beans and oatmeal, you won’t spike your blood sugar like you would with refined carbs such as white bread. This is important to remember because insulin plays a role in signaling your body to store fat, so by choosing slow-release alternatives, you’ll actually ensure your body is turning to your fat stores for energy rather than loading them up.
The real top you should follow: Vegetables, whole fruit, potatoes, and whole grains will serve your body better in the long run, so make those swaps when possible. You don’t have to say no to your favourite white pasta dish all the time, but be mindful of the effects it has on your blood sugar, over time it might be more worthwhile to stick to a whole wheat alternative.
5. [x] will speed up your metabolism
Another one that I see ALL the time, so often that the amount of times my eyes have rolled into the back of my head have probably damaged my brain. “You should drink/eat __ to speed up your metabolism” – NO. No, no, no, and no. There is no magic food or beverage or root vegetable or spice that will boost your metabolism. Every body has a set number of calories required to maintain its weight, if you go over that number, you will gain, and if you go under, you will lose. That’s all. If you ate 17 avocados because someone told you it will boost your metabolism, boy are you in for a shocker when you jump on the scale. You cannot boost your metabolism with anything. I’m going to keep repeating this until you understand. The very definition of metabolism is “the chemical processes that occur within a living organism in order to maintain life.” The process doesn’t change because you drank apple cider with vinegar (disgusting, by the way.)
The real tip you should follow: Eat what your body needs, and if you need to, add some extra exercise into your life to burn additional calories. Might I remind you that a walk a day keeps the doctor away?
So there you have it, 5 of the biggest myths still circling the net that you really shouldn’t listen to, because they’re nonsense.
Any other myths you’d like some clarity on, or perhaps some of these in a more detailed post? Let me know!