Weight loss advice is so common (and contentious) now. There are competing opinions everywhere.
I say, forget about “who’s right” and let’s focus on “what’s right.” Because what gets results is what I’m focusing on in this post.
I respect you too much to make empty promises and try to sell you on something that doesn’t work.
There are too many weight loss myths out there to address them all so I’m going to tackle the top ones we come across at ExecLevel Wellness.
Myth: Exercise more / harder / longer to lose weight
Ever heard the saying “you can’t out-exercise a bad diet?” THAT is true.
But so many people propogate the myth that all you need to do is workout at their gym, their Boot Camp or their personal training studio to lose weight. OR WORSE, buy this contraption and lose weight (remember the Thigh Master?!)
The truth is, exercise could be the single most important thing you do for your health and longevity besides quitting smoking. Besides the obvious, exercise has many benefits that maybe surprising, including the following:
- Exercise is great for your brain.
- You might get happier, have less anxiety and better manage stress.
- It might make you age slower.
- It’ll make your skin look better.
- It can help you recover from a major illness.
- Your fat cells will shrink.
- It can reduce pain.
All amazing things that should motivate you to exercise more. However, unless you change what you EAT, you will waste a whole lot of time in the gym – or running, or walking or Zumba-ing or whatever else – trying to lose weight.
See the cool video in our references section below for the science as to why this is the case.
Myth: A calorie is a calorie
Ok, my husband and ExecLevel Wellness co-founder is a PhD chemist. He HATES when I say this. We’ll probably have a heated debate before publishing this post, so let’s address it. YES, in the literal sense a calorie is always a calorie. It has a specific scientific meaning: the energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water through 1 °C, equal to one thousand small calories and often used to measure the energy value of foods.
But in the weight loss world a calorie is NOT a calorie so can we please put this one to bed already?
Science has confirmed several caloric components of food differ from others. For example, the “thermic effect of food” (TEF) is that some nutrients require calories to be metabolized. They can slightly increase your metabolism, just by eating them.
For example, when you metabolize protein you burn more calories than when you metabolize carbohydrates. Proteins and carbohydrates both have 4 calories/gram; but, the TEF of protein = 15–30%; and the TEF for carbohydrates = 5–10%.
Here’s another example of a calorie not being a calorie. Different fats are metabolized differently. Medium chain triglycerides (fats) (MCTs) have the same 9 calories/gram that other fats do; but, they’re metabolized by the liver before getting into the bloodstream and therefore aren’t utilized or stored the same way as other fats.
And doesn’t common sense indicate that 200 Twinkie calories (or a “weight loss protein bar” with just as many lab made ingredients as a Twinkie) cannot be as good for you as 200 leafy green calories?!
Myth: Do this Diet, Buy this supplement / wrap / tea / food /magic potion to lose weight fast and easy!
There is no magic pill for weight loss. No supplement, wrap, surgery, tea, food, or other potion that will do the trick. I would even go so far as to say no DIET is the magic potion. Going keto, paleo, vegan, Atkins, etc. etc. etc. does not seem to be the magic bullet for long term, sustainable weight loss for the masses or we would not have the obesity epidemic we currently have.
We live in a world where everyone is looking for a FAST SOLUTION. “Lose 30 pounds in 30 days!” “Blast fat in 7 days!” All this noise just creates confusion, frustration and wasted time trying crazy things when all we really need for sustainable weight loss is to eat real food in the right portion sizes.
The products that make these claims are full of garbage. The only thing you will lose is your money (and possibly your hope). So, please don’t believe this myth. There is a reason most people who lose weight can’t keep it off and it’s simple: what they are doing is impossible to sustain long term.
The real magic is in adopting a sustainable holistic and healthy approach to living your life. What you need is a long-term lifestyle makeover, not a product or “diet” that you cannot sustain long term.
Now wait a minute, I can hear you saying – “You’re such a hypocrite, you’re always pushing Shakeology!” You will never hear me say, drink Shakeology and you’ll magically lose weight. Shakeology is a nutrient-dense shake that’s formulated with globally harvested superfoods, premium protein, phytonutrients, antioxidants, enzymes, pre- and probiotics, fiber, adaptogens, vitamins, and minerals. It’s a whole-food based formula for optimal nutrition. As a result, Shakeology can help you lose weight by helping reduce junk food cravings and feeling full longer. It is NOT a magic potion that will erase the effects of eating a dozen donuts. See the difference?
Myth: All weight loss is equal
Ever heard something like this? “I lost 20 pounds in 10 days doing the hot pepper cleanse!” Or insert whatever crazy thing a person can do to lose 20 pounds in 10 days.
The propagated myth is that the ONLY important number is the number on the scale. Make it as low as possible as fast as possible. The thing is, when you lose weight this way you’ll also get to see how fast the pounds come back…and they’ll probably bring along friends.
It is important to differentiate where you are losing weight. There are three major areas you can lose weight:
- Water weight
- Fat loss
- Muscle loss
It is quite easy to lose water weight quickly and it can fluctuate significantly on a daily basis. This is why, if you choose to weigh yourself daily, you could make yourself crazy. Also, if water weight is lost too rapidly, there can be severe health consequences (e.g., severe dehydration, shock, even death) so proceed with caution when making the scale number drop this way.
Losing weight via muscle loss is not ideal either. It takes significant effort and time to build and sustain muscle. Care should be taken to fuel your body properly to avoid muscle loss, and weight-bearing exercises are important to keep muscle mass.
Losing weight via fat loss should be your goal. Eating clean, balanced meals and exercising in moderation is the best way to achieve this goal. Ideally, the goal is to lose 1 – 2 pounds of body fat per week while maintaining and building lean muscle mass.
This is why we encourage our clients to take body measurements vs. solely focusing on the scale and why we promote a healthy lifestyle vs. the hot pepper cleanse.
Weight loss is hard! There are too many people out there trying to make it sound like they have the simple solution (or the latest and greatest, fastest and cheapest!).
Don’t fall for the myths that say:
- Join this gym or buy this exercise equipment to lose weight;
- A calorie is a calorie;
- Do this diet / buy this supplement/tea/food/magic potion to lose weight;
- All weight loss is equal.
Now check out my magical “weight loss salad” recipe below (just kidding, it’s real food in the right portion size – not magical, just common sense!)
Want to learn more?
Most people know that regular movement, eating well, sleep, and stress management are important for looking and feeling better. Yet they need help applying that knowledge in the context of their busy, sometimes stressful lives.
That’s why we work closely with ExecLevel Wellness clients to help them improve their health… no matter what challenges they’re dealing with. We believe that how you feel greatly impacts your ability to lead and age well in all areas of life.
Recipe (Myth-free salad, filling and nutritious):
Kale Cucumber Salad
- 4 cups kale, divided
- 1 cup cooked beans of your choice (white beans, chickpeas, etc.)
- 1 cup cooked quinoa, divided
- 1 cucumber, sliced and divided
Cucumber Dill Dressing
- ½ cup tahini
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 2 tbsp dill
- ½ cup cucumber, chopped
- 1 green onion, chopped
- ½ tsp maple syrup
- 2 dashes salt
- 2 dashes black pepper
- ¼ tsp garlic, minced
- Divide salad ingredients into two bowls.
- Add all dressing ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until creamy. You may need to add water to thin. Add it slowly, a tbsp at a time until desired thickness is reached.
- Add dressing to salads and gently toss.
- Serve & enjoy!