Tuesday, August 7, 2012

5 Weight Loss Myths - busted.

'Losing weight' is something I hear from almost every client I work with. My goal is to educate them on the difference between losing weight and losing fat.

Many people have forgotten about food as nourishment and prefer to base their choices on taste, comfort and habit.

The long-term results of these choices can be seen in ever increasing waistlines and diabetes diagnosis.

To clear up some myths about losing weight and 'dieting', here are my responses to comments I have had from actual clients.

1. "Some people are 'naturally thin'."

Firstly, how thin you are is not a determinant of how healthy you are but most people over 35 are interested in dropping a few kilos or fitting back into clothes they used to wear.

Follow a 'naturally thin' person around for an entire day, better yet, over the course of a week and you will notice how they balance energy intake & expenditure as well as the choices they make over that time.

Genetics does play a part in what body type you inherit - about 20%. So you have an 80% contribution to make.

Ask yourself how often you do the following:
eat in your car
eat walking around (for example, at the shops)
eat in front of the television.

These are all examples of unconcious eating and contribute significantly to weight gain.

And after age 35, good luck with relying on your 'natural thinness'!

2. "I don't eat very much but I can't lose weight."

I hear this a lot and the first thing I ask clients to do is to keep a Food Diary each week, to get accurate information about what they are eating and drinking.

Most of us underestimate what we eat & drink and overestimate how much activity we do.
We're optimists that way  :-)

Usually, if the client is honest with themselves and me, we will see where and when they are eating more than they need or making poor nutritional choices. We make adjustments to give the body the nourishment it needs and they find they are not hungry and start to lose weight.

Refusal to keep a Food Diary is a refusal to ackowledge the reality of your diet and is a red flag that you will have trouble changing the situation.

Get the information, deal with your reality.

Of course if you really are eating too little and eating the wrong kind of food, you may also believe myth #3...

3. "I have a slow metabolism. "

This is about body composition; having a higher body fat percentage than is considered in the healthy range will have a lot to do with how your metabolism works.

Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR and lean body weight, are more accurate indicators of how much energy you need to take in, than the amount of exercise you do.

BMR is the amount of calories you would need if you were ill in bed all day, just to keep all of your bodily processes working.

Lean body weight is your muscles, bones and organs, all the tissues of the body that are not body fat.

Here's an example of how BMR and calories work:

Person A weighs 80kg and has 20% body fat.
This means she has 64kg of muscles, bones, brain & organs that require energy.
She needs 1523 calories per day to maintain regular bodily processes.

Person B also weights 80kg and has 30% body fat.
This means she has 56kg of muscles, bones, brain & organs that require energy.
She needs 1333 calories per day to maintain regular bodily processes.

Person A NEEDS to eat around 200 calories a day MORE!

Merely cutting back on calories will force your body to conserve fat, refusing to release it as an energy source, and of course drastic calorie reduction is unsustainable.

When you go back to 'normal eating' you have just trained your body to store fat even more efficiently thereby starting the whole cycle again.

4. Bodies respond differently to food.

No. No they don't. Some bodies may be more efficient at storing excess energy as fat due to the way the metabolism has been trained, but the human body responds to macronutrients, with the same physiological processes.

When you eat protein, carboydrate and fat, your internal chemical processes are the same as the next guy or gal.

Carbohydrate in particular is stored very efficiently as fat as it is converted to glucose and the body will always use carbohydrate as fuel first. The body will only burn fat when there is no glucose available.

Essentially the body is a carboyhdrate/glucose/fat storage environment OR a carbohydrate-free/fatty acid/fat burning environment.

5. "I've tried everything and nothing works for me."

There are many fads, restrictions and just plain crazy diets and other products that promise you instant weight loss.

Many of them contain the small print "when used in conjunction with a calorie controlled diet and regular exercise." (hint: save your money and follow this advice)

I'm sorry to break it to you but they just don't work, mostly because they are unsustainable over the long term.

I would respectfully suggest you may have tried everything - for a week or two, whereas it takes your body at least 4 - 6 weeks to make the necessary metabolic adjustments for fat loss.

For more information on how to create a sustainable eating plan that works for YOUR life, contact kim@metfitness.com 

Join our next 6 Week Challenge for a fully-supported change program that will teach how HOW to eat - for life!

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