Weight Loss / Fat Loss has always been a hotly debated topic in the fitness field. It is the No.1 reason for the majority of people to start gymming and working out.
Nowadays ‘weight loss and getting lean’ trend has been set up.
After all who doesn’t want to stay fit and the better version of themselves? We all want to look good and impressive with better health.
Weight loss (obviously fat) is considered to be directly connected in improving your fitness level and health.
But the problem nowadays is, everyone claims to be an expert and self-proclaimed gurus which have spread the misinformation amongst people.
This conflicting and bro-science information has set up many false beliefs in them and is pretty common with the fitness enthusiasts at the gym.
Today I will be busting out 7 most common weight loss myths and misconceptions you might have heard of and might be even following for weight loss!
Weight Loss Myths: #1 CARBS are evil and they make you fat
“Carbs are not bad for you. Anything if you eat more than the required amount of calories by your body will make you gain weight, as it may spill over and get stored into body fat”
(Total number of calories required by your body to maintain your body weight is known as TDEE i.e Total Daily Energy Expenditure. It is also known as ‘Maintenance Calories’ )
Let me keep it simple and not get too much technical,
It is the quantity/quality of carbohydrates and your ‘overall calories’ that matter.
Any particular nutrient won’t make you fat as long as you are following a ‘calorie deficit diet’ or not eating beyond your TDEE i.e Maintenance Calories.
CARBS are the primary fuel of our brain and body. They are our source of energy.
You should always consider adding up good quality carbohydrates (complex carbs, fruits & veggies, fiber) which are richly dense in nutrients rather than going for refined carbs like sugar, sweets, candies, etc.
CARBS which are nutritionally dense are always better options to go with.
But generally, people tend to go overboard on these refined foods loaded with calories which do not provide sustained energy and blood sugar levels. All they provide you is plain calories without any nutritional benefits.
MODERATION and ENERGY BALANCE is the KEY. Don’t blame it on CARBS if you’re overloading on JUNK and too many calories.
No matter Simple/Complex Carbs or any other nutrient, you will gain weight if you have too much of it.
Weight Loss Myths: #2 We need to cut out carbs completely to lose weight
First of all, as a thumb rule, you need to know that, to lose weight you need to create a ‘CALORIE DEFICIT’.
It all boils down to CALORIES IN v/s CALORIES OUT. You just need to consume lesser calories than you burn or vice versa.
Now coming back to the hot topic when it comes to fat loss and weight loss myths – CARBS
The carbohydrates which get stored in your body as glycogen holds water. Sadly this is the nature of them. 1 gram of carb holds around 3-4grams of water.
You are often told to cut out or drop down your carbs, and cutting out carbs can be a magical solution when it comes to losing weight.
Yes, this is true that you would lose weight and your weighing scale would go down this way, but all the weight loss will be ‘water weight’. This water weight (not fat) will regain as soon as you introduce carbs.
So, you are just losing the water which glycogen holds up resulting your weight scale to go down.
You can still stick to CARBS in your calorie-deficit diet and continue to lose fat at the same pace. There is no need to cut down carbs from your diet to lose weight. Your emphasis should be having carbs which are nutritionally dense.
This is utter BROSCIENCE !!!
Your approach should always be losing fat rather than just losing weight.
Weight Loss Myths: #3 Fats make you FAT
As I mentioned earlier – No matter FATS, CARBS, or PROTEIN, it can all be stored as body fat if you consume it extra than needed by your body.
‘Fat’ is the essential nutrient in so many bodily processes. Whether it is the absorption of vitamins or the production of important hormones and brain functioning, fats play a very vital role.
Your weight gain has nothing to do with solely the ‘fat’ nutrient.
Weight gain does not rely upon any single nutrient particularly and the fats that you eat doesn’t automatically get shuffled straight into the fat tissues of your body.
“Fats” usually get a bad image because of the name of the nutrient itself and it is often misbelieved that eating fats will get stored into body fat.
Weight Loss Myths: #4 No Carbs after 6-7PM / Carbs at night will make you fat
Surprisingly, this is one of the most believed weight loss myths.
Carb timing doesn’t matter as long as you are eating clean and within the total daily caloric expenditure. The only exception for timings would-be athletes and the ones who work out multiple times a day.
They need to recover quickly for another session and optimize their performance. So time-to-time nutrition does make sense for them for maximum performance and speedy recovery. But that doesn’t mean ONE CAN’T HAVE CARBS AT NIGHT or POST EVENING.
“So It’s not about when you eat, but what you eat, and how many calories you eat”.
The logic behind this misbelief is that the metabolism slows down during the latter part of the day. Having carbs after this will result in fat accumulation.
Well, as long as you are meeting your daily caloric/energy requirements, TIMINGS doesn’t matter!
Again it’s all about CALORIES IN vs CALORIES OUT.
Your body is way too smart and adaptable which balances out your energy levels. Even while sleeping you are burning calories.
Even they make you sleep better as ingestion of carbs releases a hormone called ‘serotonin’ – which is a feel-good hormone and ‘melatonin’ – which makes you sleepy.
Weight Loss Myths: #5 Eat around 6-7 small meals throughout the day
Meal frequency is not what matters, It’s the overall calories you eat during the whole day.
You must have come across this ‘6-7 meals’ advice plenty of times in order to lose weight or gain muscle.
They generally believe in this hypothesis that it fire ups the metabolism and doesn’t let your body enter into starvation mode. That’s where this idea of having 6-7 meals a day or small frequent meals came in from!
Now ever wondered how does having more frequently spikes up your metabolism?
Let me explain this in short.
In order to get energy from the food, our body burns calories. This process is known as the TEF i.e Thermal Energy effect of the Food. It is the amount of energy that our body requires to metabolize the food that we consume.
So technically the more frequently we eat, the higher our metabolism and the calories we burn right? sounds cool?
It doesn’t go that way.
Yes, it does take energy to digest our food, but eating more often doesn’t mean we are burning more calories.
Your overall calories are what matters and if your overall calories for the day is the same whether you eat 3 big meals or 6-7 small meals, You will burn the same amount of calories to digest it.
On average, the TEF of food is just around 10% of your total caloric intake.
An example for you:
On one hand 1) If I eat 2 smaller meals of 300 calories and on the other hand 2) If I eat one big meal of 600 calories.
Now if we calculate the calories burnt because of TEF for the
1) 300+300 = 600 Calories and 10% of that which is 60 calories and
2) 600 Calorie big meal and 10% of that which will still be 60 calories !!
Now if you don’t eat quite often your body enters into ‘starvation mode’ right?
HELL NO! Practically it takes a hell lot time for your body to consider itself as ‘starving’ and getting in the mode of starvation.
Until and unless someone has a terrible lack of access to the food for days or some eating disorder like anorexia the body doesn’t enter into that mode.
A human body is way too smart and it still utilizes and uses up the calories which you have eaten before.
GOING COUPLE OF HOURS WITHOUT FOOD is not the same as FASTING FOR DAYS!
Weight Loss Myths: #6 RUN RUN and Do a lot of CARDIO if you wanna lose weight – CARDIO is the way to go!
CARDIO is not the only way or the best way to lose weight. In fact, you will burn more fat and calories by performing weight training or a combination of both.
I have seen people going too much on the name of cardio which is not at all necessary when you wanna shed fat and drop some weight.
There is no point in torturing yourself for hours and hours on the treadmill at the gym.
In fact, weight training would help you to burn more calories by shooting up your metabolism even when your body is at rest (which is known as – the afterburn).
Also, more muscles you have, the more calories your body burns.
CARDIO should just be used as a tool for enhancing your fat loss journey by increasing your energy expenditure instead of solely relying upon it.
No matter fat loss or muscle gain,
it’s your DIET and training which are the most effective tools!
If you really wanna go the cardio way to burn fat, then I would suggest you for a short HIIT- High-Intensity Interval cardio rather than walking for hours which is LISS- Low-Intensity Steady State cardio.
Researches have shown that High-Intensity Cardio is far more effective than steady-state cardio as it helps you to burn calories even while your body is at rest by keeping your metabolism elevated for the next 24-48 hours. (1) (2)
TIP: When your goal is to burn fat, You can try adding 5-10 minutes short bursts of sprints after you finish your strength training to increase your afterburn i.e 1 minute of a sprint followed by 30 secs of walking for cooldown.
WARMING UP of your legs and joints is advised before high-intensity cardio.
Weight Loss Myths: #7 FAT BURNERS will make you slim
A Combination of a proper CALORIE DEFICIT DIET and EXERCISE is the real FAT BURNER!
I personally think that many people don’t understand the meaning of the word ‘Supplement’.
As the name says, these are dietary supplements which are just ADD-ONs providing you with an extra edge (Supplementary).
‘Dietary supplements’ won’t work magically without following a diet.
Similarly ‘Fat Burners’ are the supplements loaded with stimulants and thermogenics which do the job by assisting you, providing a little edge to your efforts considering your diet & nutrition.
They aren’t any magical pills which will just provide you results as soon as you consumed them.
Do they work? – Yes. Do you need them or Are they necessary to burn fat? – NO!
Combination of proper nutrition and workout would itself do the job.
As I said, nothing works without a good diet. Don’t expect a fat burner to do much without following a clean calorie deficit diet.
Amongst these weight loss myths, which ones you followed? Let me know in the comments box below.