5 Outdated Myths That Are Holding You Back!
Bad weight management advice is no news – and whilst the fat loss soap from the 20s fortunately isn’t in favour anymore, many of us keep falling for downright terrible recommendations. It’s hard not to, though, when ill-conceived “fat busting plans” and “miracle diets” are endorsed by everyone from celebrities and self-proclaimed health experts to your mum’s friend Karen.
We’ve previously discussed fad diets and how to spot them – however, unfortunately, fat loss myths are truly a gift that keeps on giving. So today, let’s have a chat about some of the most stubborn fat loss myths that might be holding you back from reaching your health and fitness goals!
#1 “All you need to do is eat less and move more”
Ok, in theory, this may be true.
However, giving this kind of advice is a bit like telling a depressed person to cheer up and get over it. Or to someone with chronic pain – to just pop a couple of over-the-counter painkillers.
The truth is, most people who need to “eat less and move more” have already tried following that approach and failed…multiple times. There is nothing less specific than “eating less and moving more”, so really, it’s the worst kind of goal to set!
Instead, a more helpful strategy would be to focus on perceived barriers to making the positive lifestyle changes. One of the most common culprits here is the “all or nothing” approach! Can you relate to having a few drinks or brownies too may and postponing improving your nutrition yet again on that basis (because you ‘screwed up anyway’, and it’s ‘pointless to start now)? Or, perhaps, you had an insanely busy day and couldn’t get to the gym, and decided to do nothing instead of throwing in a quick 15-min circuit at home, because ‘it’s not the same workout, and it’s necessary to spend at least an hour at the gym’? If that sounds familiar, here’s your new mantra: the tiniest positive step is always better than nothing, period.
#2 “This one nutrient is making me fat” (insert ‘carbs’ or ‘fat’)
These myths usually come from generalising facts big time.
For instance, when it comes to carbs, highly processed ones (think added sugars) can definitely get a bit too comfortable around your waist. However, that’s not the case for wholesome foods that are high in carbs, such as fruit, vegetables and whole-grains – and excluding them as a food group can undermine the quality of your diet!
Much the same with fats: the notion that since our energy stores are primarily fat, we should eliminate fats from our plates to get leaner, is simplistic – and horribly wrong. The myth stems from the fact that people who consume high-fat diets tend to have higher body mass – however, their diets also tend to consist from highly processed junk food, which speaks for itself. Whole foods with high fat content – such as oily fish or avocados – are an excellent and necessary addition to any balanced nutrition plan.
And whilst we’re on the topic of nutrients and such, here’s another juicy myth for you:…
#3 “A calorie is a calorie”
That one gets thrown around a lot, and can be very confusing and misleading, because on the surface the concept seems totally legitimate! A calorie is a measure of energy, so no matter where you get the calories from, the result will be the same, right?
In addition to obtaining energy from food, our bodies react differently to different combinations of nutrients, switching on various networks of metabolic pathways. For instance, with the same caloric intake, nutrition plans higher in protein can promote fullness, boost metabolism and activate hormonal pathways responsible for weight regulation.
On the other hand, very energy-dense nutrition patterns based on highly processed foods can potentially leave you both overweight and malnourished, causing micronutrient deficiencies and potentially disrupting glucose metabolism (which further reinforces the obesity cycle).
The answer? A balanced nutrition plan that includes a variety of nutritious foods from each food group whilst also ensuring appropriate intake of all nutrients to match your goals and individual preferences! Have a look at this BBR blog to find out more about one of the potential approaches that can help you achieve that balance.
#4 “Supplements are necessary for weight loss”
The supplement industry is incredibly profitable – no surprise here, as who doesn’t want an easily accessible ‘magic pill’!
The truth is – particularly with fat loss supplements – that those are far from necessary. Most are useless, and some select ones can bring modest results if you use them in conjunction with diet and exercise. The most effective ones are also surprisingly accessible – such as caffeine and green coffee bean extract!
Bottom line: don’t expect miracles from supplements, and if you do choose to take them, reach for products that stick to the basics whilst mainly relying on your nutrition and fitness regime.
#5 “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”
Good news for those who simply can’t stomach anything in the morning – having breakfast is not nearly as important as having a balanced diet overall!
The truth is, whilst some studies do show that breakfast eaters are less likely to be overweight on average, it’s also pretty clear that these individuals are also more likely to engage in other health behaviours that contribute to their leaner physiques.
In contrast, controlled studies show that so long as overall intake is the same, it doesn’t matter whether one has breakfast or not.
If you’re a chronic breakfast skipper, consider using it to your advantage and trying intermittent fasting! Here’s where you can find out more if you’re interested.
And there you have it – some of the most abused myths that may be holding you back on your health journey! Hope you found this helpful, and nothing will be holding you back anymore!