So this post requires some story time. Earlier this year I embarked on a journey to make this the healthiest year of my life. I wanted to feel my best mentally and physically. Also, I created some fitness goals like gain flexibility, strength, and become more toned. I really want some abs y’all. Mostly because I never pushed myself in this area and now I’m addicted to the process haha (in a healthy way)
PSA: As I continue this story I want to be clear about one thing… I am not complaining, I don’t think this is the end of the world, and I am truly happy with my journey. I just want to be as open as possible with my experience.
For a while, it seemed my routine was working. I was dropping inches and seeing improvements, but then… it just stopped. I am hanging on to fat in certain areas like my lower belly, hips, and arms, and I don’t seem to be gaining muscle (that I can see anyway)
I won’t lie. For a while, I was frustrated. I was doing the hardest workouts I have ever done, and eating clean and balanced. I do have some gut issues that contribute to all of this, but I knew it couldn’t be causing all of my issues.
So I went to school. I studied articles, research papers, and have been reading books. I feel so beyond thankful for this part of my journey. For many reasons that I will save for another post, but I was able to de-bunk so many myths, challenge my thinking, but also help me shift focus to be more holistic in my journey.
Stress and our hormones play a HUGE role in our ability to gain and lose weight. It’s absolutely vital that we care for ourselves and combat stress along the way to avoid some of the symptoms I listed above. (I go into more detail in this post)
So here are some of the myths I have de-bunked while on my journey! I hope you enjoy!
All calories are the same
There’s so much science behind this, but the total net calories you will see on a label do not actually include the calories that will be burned in order to eat and digest the food. For example, Proteins take the most energy to digest (20-30% of the total calories will go towards eating it.) So, 100 cals of protein is actually about 80-90 calories.
I would take a bit of time to learn the ins and outs or just wait for my future post that will break this all down in its entirety.
2. Carbs make you fat
Look. Carbs give you energy. Not to mention, the brain relies on the sugars from carbs in order to function properly. That’s why you end up feeling foggy, sluggish, and fatigued when you eat a low carb count for a long period of time. It is just not sustainable. Not to mention, carbs are a great tool for weight loss as they provide energy to get you through workouts and help you burn more as you eat.
3. Fat will make you fat
I will only say this once on this post, we NEED BALANCE in our diet in order to have a sustainable and long term healthy lifestyle. Healthy fats are so needed in your meals. They keep the body running properly, help absorb nutrients, and help repair your cells.
4. Restriction Diets will make you skinny
Look, if you are in a calorie deficit you will lose weight. However, I cannot stress this enough. You will do more damage to your body and to your wellness journey by sustaining restrictive diets for a long period of time.
A long term restriction diet will result in: less calories burned throughout the day, less energy, and less calories burned during your workouts. Also, you will experience an increase in hunger signals, water weight, and hormone levels that may result in you holding onto water weight a lot more than you would on a balanced diet.
5. You can spot reduce
Let’s say you want to lose weight in the tummy area. You start running every day and do ab workouts religiously. You will notice fat loss in other areas of your body as well. Basically, we can think of fat in the body like a gas tank. The thinking “I just want to lose fat in my thighs” is like saying “I just want to use gas from the right side of my tank.
Fat stored in our bodies is stored energy. We pull it from all areas when we burn calories and build muscle.
It’s best to incorporate compound movements, HIIT, and adequate rest. I will do a post on the best moves for building abs in another post.
6. You cannot eat your favorite foods when trying to lose weight or be healthy
There is this idea of a “cheat meal” or “cheat day” that allows you to eat whatever you want while following a strict diet religiously on the other days/meals. I won’t lie, this myth is more of an opinion, but I have found that this mindset leads to binging and an unhealthy mindset surrounding healthy eating. The diet you eat day in and day out should make you feel happy and fulfilled. If it doesn’t, adjust it. Find a diet that you can follow longterm and make a lifestyle, and one that you won’t want to cheat on.
7. It’s all about what you eat and how much you workout
This is true to a certain degree. However, we forget about the other factors that contribute to our results. Hormones, sleep, water intake, stress, and genetics all add up to create what we see in the mirror. We need a more holistic view of fitness in order to truly get the results we want.
8. Eating after 7 pm is terrible for you
Your body doesn’t tell time. The end.
9. The number on the scale is the best way to track progress
Muscle actually weighs more than fat. So if you are doing cardio and lifting weights and relying on the scale to tell you if you are losing fat then you may end up feeling frustrated. We need to look at things like endurance, strength, the way our clothes fit, and progress pics.
These are just some of the myths that I have de-bunked while on my own journey. I will link some articles and research papers below if you want to read up on any of these myths to get your own information.
If anything, I highly suggest following a lifestyle that works for you and don’t get sucked into every diet that surfaces on social media. Focus on balance, happiness, and longevity in order to create a lifestyle that you can follow for the long haul. Finally, do your own research. Become informed on the science behind our bodies and the diets we follow. Know what is true, and what isn’t.
Finally, remember to be patient and give yourself grace. We don’t make these changes in one day, and we won’t lose them in one day. Just do your best!