As 2017 approaches, “Losing Weight” remains to be the number #1 New Year’s Resolution among Americans. As a NASM-certified “Weight Loss Specialist”, let me go over 3 of the most common diet misconceptions that I come across with my clients on a daily basis.
Myth #1: The Best Way to Lose Weight is to Eat Very Few Calories. FALSE!
Body weight is determined by energy intake (calories consumed) and energy expenditure (calories spent). The only way to lose weight is by creating a “calorie deficit”: consuming fewer calories than you expend. However, your body’s main objective is to survive. So, if your calorie intake is too low, the body will perceive this as an emergency, and go into starvation mode. It will accommodate itself by holding onto your stored body fat (because it has no idea when it will be fed again!) and your metabolism will slow down to conserve its energy stores. You will eventually reach a plateau, and stop losing weight. Plus, you will probably gain it all back (and sometimes, more) when you start eating “normal” again. What you need is a balanced diet with the right amount of nutrients (macronutrients: carbs, protein, fat ~ micronutrients: vitamins, minerals) that your body needs to “function properly” while still placing you in a calorie deficit (more calories burned than consumed). No fad diets please!
Myth #2: Low-Fat or Non-Fat Foods are Safe to Eat. FALSE!
Most of the processed low-fat or nonfat foods contain added sugar, flour or starch thickeners to improve flavor and texture after the fat is removed; and therefore, have just as many calories as the full-fat version of the same food, if not more. Always check the serving size (they are usually less than what you’re used to eating) and read the Nutrition Facts Label on the packaging to find out how many calories are in one serving.
Myth #3: A Lot of Cardio is The Best Way to Lose Body Fat. FALSE!
Excessive cardio will strip your muscle mass; and once you begin stripping muscle tissue, your body becomes less efficient at burning body fat. Muscle is a metabolically active organism which means that it stimulates the metabolism. For each pound of muscle you put on your body, you will burn up to 50 additional calories per day. If you strip muscle tissue with excessive cardio, all you accomplish is sabotaging your efforts to efficiently reduce body fat. What you need in order to accomplish your weight loss goal is to combine the proper amount of “cardiovascular exercise” with efficient “weight training” and a “clean diet”. Consistency is key. Just keep going, and results will follow, eventually…