Exposed & solved: Biggest lies and myths about weight loss
The fitness and health industry is packed with lies, misleading information, scams and bad science.
Nowadays, we've been duped into thinking that health isn't our natural state and that we have to work extremely hard and buy a lot of fancy stuff to reach our ideal body size. Nothing is further from the truth.
Here are the worst weight loss lies we heard so far. Exposed and solved!
Don't eat after 6pm (especially not carbs)
Why? Because eating carbs late at night will go right to your hips? Not true!
The main reason why eating at night has been associated with weight gain is because of people who snack excessively or binge at night. But those people have also been eating improperly throughout the day.
Let me be clear, your weight loss success is influenced by several variables. But time of the day isn't one of them.
Losing weight at a sustainable pace takes many days of being in a caloric deficit, which gradually burns excess stored fat. The calories you eat are balanced against the number of calories you burn. It's that simple.
The time of the day you consume these calories doesn't affect the long-term process. Therefore, just not eating after 6pm does not guarantee any weight loss.
In fact, some studies show protein consumed near bedtime gets fully digested and boosts muscle-protein synthesis while you sleep. Furthermore, it's even better to eat in the evening, because if your meal contains carbs, you'll sleep better due to higher serotonin levels.
The only benefit from not eating after 6 pm is a long fasting period (from 6pm until you eat breakfast the next day). But again, this won't affect your weight loss.
Some people will have success with this method and preach it, not knowing WHY it worked for them (caloric deficit due to not consuming the calories they were consuming before in the evening). If it works for you, go ahead. But make sure to understand how it works and that you might as well eat your last meal at 7, 10 or 11 pm and have the same effect.
You must eat only 1200 calories per day to lose weight
Why would you do that? That's torture and I can tell you, that you won't stick to your diet for longer than a week. Or you will and mess up your hormones in the process.
Starting your weight loss journey by eating 1200 calories leaves you no room to further reductions once your weight loss stagnates. What's then? Cutting down to under 1000 calories per day?
You surely will fight against unbearable hunger, nutrient deficiency, slowed down metabolism and giving up.
Everybody's metabolic rate is different. The rates at which our bodies burn calories differ, so do our activity levels. People with more muscles burn more even during their sleep.
Therefore, there is no set number of calories that everybody should aim for. Use our free calculator, which uses one of the best formulas out there, to accurately estimate the calories you need on a daily basis.
You can eat what you want as long as you exercise
Working out is essential for your health and provides weight loss benefits, but it's a myth that spending countless hours at the gym while eating crappy food will lead to weight loss.
Dieting is roughly 80% what you eat and 20% exercise. You can't out-run a bad diet!
It's so much more important to be mindful of the food that you're putting in your body, not just if you want to lose weight!
You need to do cardio
I don't know why, but many people think that cardio is the best way to lose weight. Sure, increasing your cardiovascular activity is important. But what's more important is to incorporate strength training to build muscle.
Weight lifting helps to build strong connective tissue in the body, to perform better in daily activities, it enhances bone density and builds lean muscle.
While you burn only up to 10 calories per minute lifting weights, compared to 12 for cardio, you continue burning calories after you put those dumbbells down. Your metabolism stays elevated by up to 10% for the day after you lift.
And you'll look better in the end! Spending hours on jogging every week will certainly help with creating a caloric deficit, but you'll look skinny and just plain thin rather than athletic and healthy.
Fruit makes you fat
Oh please. Everything can make you fat if you are in a caloric surplus. Even lettuce.
Shocking truth is: Most people didn't become overweight by eating too much fruit.
Some believe the fructose causes fat gain. However, fruit contains relatively low levels of fructose compared to sweetened beverages. For example, a medium apple contains around 13g of fructose and 90 calories. A Coke has 65g of sugar and 240 calories.
Fruit is packed with nutrients, contains fiber and has a high water content which makes it more filling. It's an excellent choice as a healthy source of fast carbohydrates.
Again, excess calories cause weight gain. If you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. Doesn't matter where those calories came from.
Diet sodas are perfect to lose weight
Don't get fooled by those 'zero calorie' labels. They may have a very small amount of calories, but most of them contain artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame. Artificial sweetener can also lead to weight gain, because they make you crave carbs, increase your appetite and trigger fat storage.
As the body gets tricked by the sugar substitute, you crave more and begin to overeat. Plus, some people react rather harsh to such drinks and their bodies start to hold a ton of water. Which is not fat, but makes people look fatter. And if you're overweight and/or a beginner, you can't tell the difference between water and fat gain.
Drink plain water, tea and coffee instead! Without sugar that is.
Fat makes you fat
One of the fattest lies ever told! Fat is absolutely essential to your overall health. It's one of the body's main building blocks and fuel sources.
Our cell membranes are made from fat and our brain is 60% fat!
Not all fats are created equal, though. There are good and nasty ones.
Focus on avocados, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, grass-fed butter, fish and flax oils and skip on cottonseed oil, rapeseed oil, palm oil, margarine (no, it does not help with anything!) and most importantly trans fats. Our fat guide has more info on that by the way.
I need supplements to reach my ideal weight
Stop thinking this way. There are no magical pills, potions, creams or shoes that help you grow muscle or get leaner.
Drinking tons of detox teas and taking fat-burning supplements is not the key to weight loss. Relying on them to get in shape is totally unrealistic. Rather follow a wholesome diet and exercise regularly.
Anything that promises a quick and easy solution is probably a scam. In the end it all comes down to hard work and your mindset.
For instance: detox tea does not help with fat loss at all. It might detox your body a bit, but only if you don't put toxic stuff in your mouth while you drink it. Fat burners are all utter nonsense. There are actually fat burners that do work, but they are not legal! If you can buy one in a normal online shop or a supplement store, it will not work. Period.
The best legal and working "fat burner" is caffeine. Have a cup or two of coffee every day. It will increase your metabolism (up to a certain point of course), is safe, cheap and tasty.
Do X or eat X to lose belly fat
There's not much you can do to change the way your body burns fat. Based on the receptors in your fat cells, some body fat (abdominal, legs, hips) will be more stubborn than others (shoulders, arms).
No, crunches will not burn belly fat. Actually, if anything, it will make you look fatter, because abs are just muscles like any other muscle. And what happens when we train muscles? They grow. And body fat is one layer above muscles. Hence, the bigger the abs, the bigger your belly. Your belly fat will just stick out even more. Common sense.
Also, don't put foil around your mid section or other stupid stuff like that. Just because you sweat more, doesn't mean you lose fat in that area. Unless your sweat is yellow-ish and thick, you are not losing body fat there! It's just water and minerals.
The only way to lose belly fat is to get lean. If you're lean at the areas where your body wants to lose weight, it will start to burn belly fat as well. 20% body fat for women and 15% for men is roughly the point where you'll start to see a difference.
If you want to improve belly fat reduction, you can try HIIT workouts, which have be shown to change the aforementioned receptors ratio. Normal cardio like jogging and walking will not have any effect on belly fat whatsoever though.
But HIIT, of course, is no magic. It might speed up the process a tiny bit though.
Fat loss foods
This one should be quite clear if you read the paragraphs above, but just to hit the point home: there are no fat loss foods. You can lose and gain fat with any food. It depends on the amounts! It's certainly harder to overeat on lettuce, tuna and tomatoes - hence they are nice to incorporate into your diet, but if you eat too much tuna, you'll gain fat, as with any other food.
Also, vegetables are not "free". They have calories! So advice like "eat as much of X as you like" is dangerous!
Stop spending the days looking for the "secret" or the magic supplements. Weight loss isn't tricky, there are just too many misconceptions out there that throw a roadblock in front of your diet plan.
Follow common sense and a science based fat loss program, and you will see results, guaranteed!