One of my clients as she was finishing up her 12 weeks, and saying how much she had learned and her life had been changed was discussing with me all of the myths that you hear all the time in traditional dieting, and how FALSE those are when you really want to get results, and long term results for that matter. If you are in the fitness industry at all, I think that it's clear there is a lot of people out there that just want to make money and it makes the people who aren't as interested and who just want to get in shape very VERY confused. It's really not as hard as it seems...like at all. So, I asked her to write out some of the thoughts that she had before and why those are just wrong.
- No Eating after 7pm
So, everything that has a myth associated with it could just have been made up for money purposes but it also could be that there was some study that showed this. I will not sit here and claim to have read every study known to man, but just recognizing to think clinically when reviewing things in the fitness world. Where did this info come from? Why does this work and not something else?
There have been a blue million studies done on the timing of foods. Intermittent fasting has really picked up popularity and that's all about timing of food. However, every single study that I have read shows each time that patients that are given carbs at different times of day show no difference in results as patients who are given carbs at only one specific time of day. Patients that stop eating at 7pm with the same caloric deficit as someone who stops eating right before bed have the same amount of progress as well.
Also, when evaluating something that you might want to put into practice, it's so so important to look at if this is something that you will clinically be able to implement. Let's say that someone came to us and said "Yep, for sure, magical things happen when you stop eating at 5-6pm." so you thought "WOW. Well I guess I better do that." How is that realistic? It's not. It needs to be something that you can stick with. Intermittent fasting in my opinion and in the life that I live is completely unrealistic, and so therefore even if literature says that it's fantastic, there is no way on God's green earth that I'm not eating until 2pm every day. NO THANKYOU. However, that might look completely different to someone else.
Not only clinically but also psychologically. Psychology plays SUCH a huge roll in health and fitness and weight loss, and people almost always tend to have some form of relationship with food. Therefore, this has to be taken into consideration when implementing the best program for that person. There are some of my clients that MUST have a cheat meal. There are some that HATE cheat meals and it makes them binge. It's all individual and bio individuality in dieting is so very important.
- Cutting calories drastically is the only way to lose weight
Yes, cutting calories works. Cutting calories drastically works even more for weight loss, but it's silly and not the only way. People want instant gratification and are not thinking about the journey or the long term. They want the weight loss done and over with so I have so many people that tell me they'd rather just plow through 500 calories/day on some crazy cleanse than just figure out and learn macro counting and live at peace. I can't really get my head space around that thought, but I get it all the time.
Cutting calories drastically from the start puts so many girls in the boat that many of them come to me in- metabolically not able to lose weight on super low calories because they've been doing low low calories so many times in their lives on all these crazy diets. The more times that you take the "fast and quick" route, the more damage that you are doing to your body. This doesn't mean that you can't come out of this but you want to start dieting as high as possible in calories to give your body a chance to respond, preserving your metabolism, and then reducing slowly from there.
- You have to do endless amounts of cardio because lifting will make women bulky and manly.
If only I knew how to break women of this thought. It's so untrue. The amount of lifting that it takes to make you bulky and manly is far more than any regular lady on the street is going to want to do. I'm not going to get all PC because I know some people now a days will be like 'What's manly? What's womanly? Why gender roles?' but this is not a political debate. lol! We all know what was meant by my client (who gave me all the topics). We all know that when you walk into a weight room, you will only find men that are lifting most of the time. The women are on the treadmill and elliptical. I could write an entire blog post on this so I'll try to keep it short.
First, men naturally have more testosterone so they are able to build muscle quicker (like much quicker) so to compare the rate at which a woman gains muscle to the rate that a man would is just silly. It won't happen. As you lift weights, the best way that I know to describe it is with proper dieting you exchange fat for muscle. This does not mean bulky muscle. This just means you are improving your metabolism, and leaning out. You always hear muscle weighs more than fat. I get what they are saying, but one pound of muscle is the same as one pound of fat. Muscle is just more DENSE. That means that if you have more muscle than you do fat, then you are going to be SMALLER not bulkier. As you lift weights, you shrink in size because the muscle takes up less space than fat.
Some people believe that they will build muscle overnight and that if they start a diet, and gain weight the first week then "it was probably muscle." NO NO NO. It takes a woman up to 4-6 weeks to be able to gain only ONE POUND of actual muscle, so your calories are just too high and you are eating too much. This has nothing to do with muscle gains. You WILL NOT gain muscle that fast.
Other people believe that if they lift, they will build muscle under the fat and then just get bigger and bigger. That's just simply not how it works. And if you are getting bigger, then you need to look to your diet and not the weight lifting. Your nutrition is like 80% of this.
Excessive cardio and the low calories as I mentioned before is again for quick results with no sight for your future health. Excessive cardio while doing low calories is just going to reduce the amount of muscle that you have meaning that it will take less food for you to lose weight in the future. Why would you do that? STOP. JUST STOP IT RIGHT NOWWWWW. lol!
- Absolutely no junk food (doughtnuts, cookies, pizza)
People just simply aren't taught nutritional value of any foods. They are taught from a young age that these are "bad foods" and the others are "good foods". We hear the terms "moderation is key" but no one actually knows what that means. No one actually explains that you don't have to cancel these things out of your diet in order to lose weight ... like at all.
The difference in a candy bar and a banana with peanut butter is the response on your insulin levels. Some clinical trials have shown that the response of insulin with the candy bar is going to inhibit your weight loss more than the banana and PB even if they are the exact same calories (carb/fat/protein). The candy bar also is very processed, and there is a HUGE difference between what is good for our internal health (vitamins/minerals/processed foods) and how to lose weight. People put those two together, but every time I do a class I ask the group "Do yall want to lose weight or get healthy because sometimes those are not one in the same?"
Eating 50 bananas in one day is probably great for your internal health but vegans ALWAYS have a hard time losing weight. Vegans are probably some of the healthiest people, but weight loss is very hard for them because it's just all very high carb and fat. That's not to say that you can't, but it's just more difficult.
All of this to say, a calorie is a calorie. Your body is not going to know the difference for weight loss purposes if you eat a banana or if you eat a candy bar if the carb and fat are the same.
- Skipping meals helps you lose weight
This is just silly, and again goes back to sustainability. It's hard to believe people do this kind of thing. Yes, I'm sure that if you skip meals you will lose weight because you are eating less calories, but that's so unhealthy for your metabolism in the long run. It might get you quick results that you are just going to gain right back so what's the point anyway? BE PATIENT FOLKS. It's really not hard if you just learn some simple nutritional rules and have no food restrictions.
- Take this pill ("the weight loss cure")
If you ever see someone telling you to take a pill, just run. It's not going to work, and they just want your money. The industry knows that it can feed off the desperation of people and that they will pay any amount of money to be able to lose weight, so they target that population. Everyone knows deep down when they take a diet pill that it makes no sense, and that they are kind of doing something that isn't acceptable and that is because it DOESNT WORK, so don't waste your money or your time with people who feed you this load of bull.
I get really passionate about this topic because I feel that we are plagued with information that just confuses us in order so that people can make money off desperate people, and that's sad. I know that this is my business, but I could care less if you work with me or someone else who does something similar but learning actual nutrition and tools that you can carry with you for the rest of your life means so much to me as it changed my life forever. I hope that my blog at least can help in some ways to stop you from doing crazy things like that HCG diet (no no no).