As a group fitness instructor I see several hard working men and women regularly attend the gym and still have difficulty losing weight. They log hours of cardio, eat “low-fat” foods and have loyalty cards to Smoothie King but nothing seems to work. Personally, I also struggled with weight loss until my personal trainer at the time (Thank you Sam!) gave me some “real talk.” See, many of the tips and tricks I learned from my mom and friends were flat out wrong. The reality is that our bodies are really smart and really efficient. Therefore we have to shock them in order to get the results we want. We also have to respect the principles of Biology – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “The only way to lose weight is to burn more calories that you consume.” So with these nuggets of wisdom in mind, I also wanted to share the 5 biggest weight loss lies that led me astray for several years…
- Must Do More Cardio – Okay, it’s true that minute for minute, cardio burns more calories than weight training. However, if your usual 30-45 minutes on the elliptical or recumbent bike isn’t doing the trick, it’s because you’re heart rate is getting elevated enough. In order to burn a lot of calories, you have work really hard. Yea, like sucking air at times. You heart rate need to reach the anaerobic zone (60-85% of your max heart rate). This is why interval training is so effective. In interval training, you sprint for 20-30 seconds then take a quick rest and repeat. In fact, you can burn twice as man calories in 10 minutes of interval training as compared to 10 minutes of regular, steady pace cardio activity. The truth is that harder, smarter cardio is the key to weight loss, not more cardio.
- Skip Meals to Drop Pounds – Skipping meals keeps you from losing weight in 2 key ways: First, doing so makes you binge eat later in the day because you’re starving. Binge eating stretches out your stomach and allows you to consume far too many calories. Also, eating large meals late in the day leaves minimal opportunity for you to burn off the calories (because you are going to sleep soon and the food just sits in your tummy). Second, starving yourself slows down your metabolism which makes it harder for you to burn calories and harder for you to lose weight. Long story short, don’t skip meals. Eat 5 small meals throughout the day that are high in lean protein and fiber. It actually takes true grit to plan 5 healthy meals than to skip breakfast and lunch and indulge in one giant dinner.
- Focus on Fat Reduction – This may come as a shock, but the truth is “Fat (in moderation) is GOOD, Sugar is BAD.” We need fat for bodily functions. “Fats help you absorb vitamins A, D, and E, and they are vital for your nervous system.” - Barbara Roberts, MD, director of the Women’s Cardiac Center at the Miriam Hospital in Providence. The key is to eat unsaturated fats like olive oil and olives, canola oil, almonds, cashews, peanuts, peanut butter, sesame seeds and avocados. “Several studies have shown that eating small amounts of nuts helps dieters lose weight because the fiber and protein help dieters feel full longer. Dieters are less like to overeat and more successful at losing weight.” – WebMD 2013 Sugar on the other hand is the devil when it comes to weight loss. Sugar absorbs quickly, provides minimal nutritional value, makes you hungry and then turns into bad fat if you don’t immediately burn it off. When making a food decisions, always take unsaturated fats over sugar if weight loss is your goal.
- Smoothies Make You Skinny – The truth is that most smoothies are loaded with sugar and too much sugar makes you fat. Now, smoothies are good for meal replacements every once in a while as long as they are made with raw fruits and veggies (not fruit juice) and if they include protein. Be sure to ask for a scoop of whey protein in your smoothie so that you will feel fuller and help offset the sugar spike. Be careful about having smoothies for snacks as you can easily pack on an extra 300-400 calories without even realizing it.
- My Genetics Make me Overweight – “While genes strongly decide the shape of your body, peoples’ lifestyle (primarily eating too much and moving too little) is by far the main reason they’re [overweight]. Research has shown that our eating and exercise habits are heavily influenced by the people we spend time with the most, which is likely the main reason we see obesity running in families. Genes have an influence, but it’s relatively minor for the vast majority of humans.” – Melinda Johnson, registered dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The moral of the story is, “Get rid of the genetics excuse and get you some fit friends.” - Brit For realz.
May the weight-loss TRUTH set you free. xoxo, Brit