Weight loss advice is so common (and contentious) now. There are competing opinions everywhere.
I say, forget about “who’s right” and let’s focus on “what’s right.” Because what gets results is what I’m focusing on in this post.
There’s also a quiz and 2 recipes at the end!
I respect you too much to make empty promises and try to sell you on something that doesn’t work.
There are too many weight loss myths out there. I’m going to tackle the top ones I come across in my practice.
Myth: Calories cause weight gain, and fewer calories are the path to weight loss
Calories are important for weight loss. If you eat and absorb a ton more than you use, then your body’s wisdom will store some for later. Calories matter.
But, they are not the “be-all and end-all” of weight loss; they’re important, but they’re the symptom, not the cause. Let’s think about the reasons people eat more calories. Let’s focus on the causes.
People eat too many calories, not because they’re hungry, but because they feel sad, lonely, or bored. Or maybe because they’re tired or stressed. Or maybe even because they’re happy and celebrating. And all these feelings interact with our gastrointestinal, nervous and hormonal systems; all of which influence our calorie intake.
Myth: “Eat less move more” is good advice
Well, then we’re all in tip-top shape, right? Because people have been doling out this advice (myth) for years.
The premise of this is based on the above myth that calories in minus calories out equals your weight. So, eat fewer calories, and burn off more calories (because human physiology is a simple math equation, right?).
Even if people can happily and sustainably follow this advice (which they can’t!); it completely negates other factors that contribute to weight problems. Things like the causes of overeating we mentioned above. Not to mention our genetics, health conditions we’re dealing with or our exposure to compounds that are “obesogenic.”
Myth: A calorie is a calorie
Can we please put this one to bed already?
Science has confirmed several caloric components of food differ from others. For example, the “thermic effect of food” (TEF) is that some nutrients require calories to be metabolized. They can slightly increase your metabolism, just by eating them.
For example, when you metabolize protein you burn more calories than when you metabolize carbohydrates. Proteins and carbohydrates both have 4 calories/gram; but, the TEF of protein = 15–30%; and the TEF for carbohydrates = 5–10%.
Here’s another example of a calorie not being a calorie. Different fats are metabolized differently. Medium chain triglycerides (fats) (MCTs) have the same 9 calories/gram that other fats do; but, they’re metabolized by the liver before getting into the bloodstream and therefore aren’t utilized or stored the same way as other fats.
Myth: Buy this supplement/tea/food/magic potion to lose weight
There is no magic pill for weight loss. No supplement, tea, food, or other potion will do the trick.
There are products that make these claims, and they’re full of garbage (or shall I say “marketing gold?”). The only thing you will lose is your money (and possibly your hope). So, please don’t believe this myth. There is a reason most people who lose weight can’t keep it off. The real magic is in adopting a sustainable holistic and healthy approach to living your life. What you need is a long-term lifestyle makeover, not a product.
Myth: Eating fat makes you fat
Thankfully this is a myth being busted everywhere and even by the doctors. Now there are healthy fats and unhealthy fats and sticking to whole, natural foods are the best to ensure you do not eat processed trans fats. Fats should also be a part of the diet and not the whole diet.
Getting to the fat loss part – the body can use glucose or keytones for energy. Balancing our blood sugar so that our body can use both, when needed, is ideal.
- Fat Storage – Blood sugar and insulin is elevated – Glucose is primary fuel
- When we eat lots of sugar and our blood sugar is high and more than needed for energy – the body converts sugar into fat and stores it. In this state it will store excess fat also!!
- Fat Burning – Blood sugar balanced via glucagon –Keytones are primary fuel
- Carb intake does not spike blood sugar (e.g. eating slow carbs – non-starchy vegetables), the body first converts stores of glucagon into glucose and then uses keytones derived from fatty acids for energy (the brain can also use keytones).
- Trans Fat – A processed fat is damaging to our health and should always be avoided.
As you can see – its more than eating fat or sugar – it’s your full metabolic state and the types of foods you eat.
Fat is also essential to our health and especially to our brain function and hormones. Vitamins A, D, E, K are fat soluble – meaning with no fat you cannot absorb them. Another big reason we need fat is for our mental function – for memory, mood, and focus. If you’re feeling anxious lately, healthy fats are important.
Weight loss is hard! There are too many people out there trying to make it sound like they have the simple solution (or the latest and greatest!).
Don’t fall for the myths that say:
- Calories cause weight gain, and fewer calories are the path to weight loss.
- “Eat less move more” is good
- A calorie is a calorie.
- Buy this supplement/tea/food/magic potion to lose weight.
- Fat makes you fat
FAT LOSS QUIZ:
Before you focus on any specific fat loss secret – ask yourself these three questions – 1 No means you may have challenges with fat loss, no matter what you eat.
- Am I managing my stress?
- Am I doing the basics?
- Am I sleeping well?
What I do know is that if you have these three in order – fat loss becomes simple, almost effortless. That’s exactly what we are talking about in the Women’s Nutrition & Self-Care Group on Facebook this week.
Now check out my magical “weight loss cluster” recipe below (just kidding!)
(Myth-free protein & fat filling and nutritious): Chocolate Mousse
- 1 small banana (ripe) OR meat of 1 young coconut
- 2 small avocados (just ripe)
- 1/2 cup cacao powder
- 1/3 cup almond milk
- 6 dates, soaked for 2 minutes then drained
- In a blender add in almond milk first then remaining ingredients
- blend on high speed for 3 minutes
- Add additional milk for desired consistency and maple syrup for additional sweetness
(Myth-free protein & fat filling and nutritious): Almond Vanilla Protein Clusters
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup raw almond butter
- 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
- 3 tbsps maple syrup
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- Line a muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.
- In a food processor fitted with the S blade, process the almonds, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, ginger and sea salt until finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
- Stir in the coconut.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt together the almond butter, protein powder, maple syrup and applesauce. When mixture is smooth and combined, pour over nut mix.
- Stir together until all nuts are evenly coated and thoroughly mixed.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the 12 muffin cups. You may need to slightly wet your hands in order to press the mixture down into the cups and keep your fingers from sticking.
- Eat as is or store in the fridge to cool. Clusters can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.