3 Myths About Fat Loss
The internet and social media has given everyone a voice and made them all experts on everything. Fitness is loaded with overnight experts and Instagram gurus. It can be difficult at times to sift through all the nonsense and find real information that will actually help you achieve your goals.
In the spirit of making sure you have accurate information that you can put into action, I wanted to take a moment today to debunk 3 popular fat loss myths that just won’t die.
Myth No. 1: You can spot-reduce fat
For some reason, this myth just won’t go away … even though it makes no sense.
Think about it this way: If you didn’t have a choice in where the fat accumulated on your body, why would you think you’d have a choice in where it disappears?
The truth is, how do you lose your belly or arm fat?
Here’s how: You focus on what you can control and back it with a consuming desire to do the things necessary to make change. Things like…
- Consistent, intelligent strength training
- Eating a diet of whole, minimally processed foods rich in protein and vegetables
- A mixture of short, intense bursts of cardio strength & sweat sessions with longer, lower-intensity cardio sessions.
- Reduced alcohol consumption.
- Higher water consumption.
- Improved sleep.
- Reduced stress.
[One caveat: Excess belly fat compared to the rest of the body could indicate elevated cortisol levels from stress. Excess fat in the triceps or upper back areas could indicate over-consumption of carbohydrates and/or poor carbohydrate tolerance. But that’s next-level stuff. Always start with the things mentioned above.)
Myth No. 2: You have to eat 6x/day to lose fat
This is another one that grinds my gears. Do people successfully lose fat eating smaller meals more frequently? Yes, If they create a caloric deficit by not overeating. But you can also lose fat eating 3 larger meals a day, intermittent fasting, etc.
Just because some celebrity lost 20 pounds eating 6 meals a day doesn’t mean that’s the right approach for you. In fact, as busy as most of us mere mortals are with work, school, kids, etc., it may just not be feasible to eat that way.
And that doesn’t mean you can’t lose fat.
For most people, nutrient timing and how many meals per day you eat just isn’t that important. What’s important is that you’re exercising consistently (hopefully, prioritizing resistance training) and consuming the right foods in the right amounts throughout the course of the day. For men, this means 2 palm-sized servings of lean protein; 2 fist-sized servings of veggies; 2 cupped handfuls of whole, unprocessed carbs; and 2 thumb-sized servings of healthy fats as a starting point. For women, it’s 1 each of those.
If your meals more or less look like that and you eat 3-4 meals per day, you’ll do better in the long run than following some fad diet you read about in Men’s or Women’s Health. And you’ll be a lot happier, too.
Myth No. 3: Fat loss is easy
We look back and laugh at all those bizarre infomercials about “6-pack abs,” “buns of steel,” and the “You Can Do IIIIIT” guy with all the elaborate machines he was peddling. Yet the fitness world is more wild, wild west than ever … and those 80s infomercials have just been repackaged as deceptive ads in your Facebook feed.
“Forever” fat loss is not easy.
Doing a Medical Weight Loss program where you eat 600 calories a day, take medicines that suppress appetite and encourage you NOT to exercise during the program is easy.
But, when it’s easy, it’s easy to regain all the weight back and then some. Which happens almost always.
It’s time to come to grips with the fact that fat loss is hard, and requires effort, consistency and discipline. What it doesn’t require is starving yourself and making exercise a full-time job.
Your best bet? Keep it simple, stick to the proven principles that work, be patient and play the long game. The process is the payoff.