Fat Loss Myths That Are Holding You Back

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If you’re struggling with fat loss, these seven fat loss myths could be hindering your progress.

Hi, it’s Ivana helping you get fit healthy and strong at any age.

So I’m going to give you the evidence-based truth about fat loss.

You Can’t Lose Fat Without Cutting Carbs

Now this myth is actually really good news, especially if you’re one of these people who says, “Oh, I need to lose weight. So I need to start cutting my carbs.”

I’m not saying that reducing carbs is a bad strategy. For many people that’s a great way of reducing their cravings.

And that means that they eat less and then they lose weight.

Hyper Palatable Foods

But often when people talk about carbs, they’re actually talking about foods that have a combination of carbs and fat. What scientists call hyper palatable foods. So things like donuts and pizza and ice cream and French fries. Sure. They have carbs, but they also have a lot of fat and they’re very high in calories for their serving size.

So you can still consume plenty of carbs and lose fat. Particularly if they’re coming from whole food sources, like whole grains, beans, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to cut out fruit in order to lose fat. It’s ridiculous. You don’t. And nobody gets fat by eating just fruit.

And you can still have some of those hyper palatable foods that you enjoy as well. But you have to have them less frequently and in smaller quantities than you’re having them now.

Research On Diets

Research shows that low fat and low carb diets are equally effective. As long as the calories are equated. So you don’t have to go low carb in order to lose fat.

Exercise Makes A Significant Difference To Fat Loss

The next myth is an exercise makes a significant difference to fat loss.

Now, if you’re an elite athlete and you’re training really frequently, then yes, you’re going to be able to burn off a ton of calories with exercise.

But for the average person, it’s quite challenging to lose a significant amount of fat through exercise alone.

I believe strongly in exercise, obviously. But for fat loss, it’s not as effective as most people think. You aren’t burning off that many calories unless you’re exercising very intensely and most people don’t do that. And those cardio machines at the gym are well-known for overestimating the calories burned.

The other issue is that exercise can make you hungry. So then you’re consuming more calories. In research they’ve actually found this to be true. If you eat more, you’ll likely negate the effect of any exercise that you do. And if you’re rewarding yourself with food after exercise…you know, that’s not going to work out, right?

Fat Loss Myth – You Need Fat Burning Supplements

If you’re not able to lose fat, it’s not because of an absence of fat burning supplements. You don’t need any supplements to lose body fat.

You just need to produce a calorie deficit. So your body is using that body fat for fuel and burning it off.

Let’s not forget that some of these supplements are potentially dangerous as well.

The one supplement that may be somewhat beneficial is caffeine. Either pure caffeine, or if it’s in your coffee or tea, it’s been shown that about a hundred milligrams of caffeine can increase your calorie burn a little bit. So it slightly increases your metabolic rate, maybe 80 to 150 calories per day, depending on how much body fat you have and your weight. But if you already drink coffee and you have two to four cups per day, you don’t want to add any more to that.

The main benefit of caffeine is that it keeps you from being tired. So you’re more likely to work out. You’re more likely to move around throughout the day that increases your calorie expenditure as well.

And you’re also less likely to be lying on the couch, eating high calorie foods.

Fat Loss Myth – Certain Foods Speed Up Fat Burning

Now along the same lines, it’s a myth that certain foods speed up fat burning. You might’ve heard that chilis, pineapple, ginger broccoli or celery helps speed up your metabolism and help you burn fat. But there isn’t good evidence that any foods actually do that.

And whatever effect they have is it likely to be extremely small, much smaller even than a reasonable dose of caffeine.

Now, all those foods are mentioned are nutritious and they’re very low in calorie density. So if you increase your intake of those foods and then reduce your intake of high calorie foods, then yeah, you’re going to lose weight, but it’s not because of any magical fat burning properties that those foods have.

Eating At Night Causes Fat Gain

The next myth is that eating at night causes fat gain. The time that you eat your food makes very little difference in terms of whether you’re going to lose fat or not.

What matters most is the total amount of calories you consume throughout the day. Now, obviously consuming a certain amount of meals per day is more practical. It means you’re going to be less bloated. I normally think three or four meals is okay. Some people get by on two and they can manage that as well.

Fat Storage At Night

But the calories that you eat just before sleep are no more likely to be stored as fat than the calories that you have early on in the day. In fact, if you have some protein before bed, particularly slow release protein, like you might find in cottage cheese, then it can help increase muscle retention.

Food Cravings In The Evening

Some people do have a tendency to eat a lot of treat foods in the evening or binge on foods after they’ve already consumed all the calories that they had for the day. That tends to be a habit.

And I think I’ve created some videos about that as well, to help you reduce that. But really it means that you’re just eating too many calories overall because you’re eating those calories. In addition to everything you have throughout the day for those people like can be useful to say, okay, I’m going to stop eating at 7:00 PM and I’m not going to have anything.

How Intermittent Fasting Can Help Some People

So when people do intermittent fasting, for instance, they give themselves a hard cutoff for the day. And that often prevents that overeating at night, which causes them to be in a calorie surplus and put on fat. Once they eliminate that overeating at night, then they get themselves into a calorie deficit. If you’re eating at a calorie deficit, then it doesn’t matter if those calories come later on in the day.

One thing I will say, though, if you suffer from acid reflux, like I do, then it’s best to wait three hours after you’ve eaten before lying down.

So whether that’s at night or in the middle of the day, if you lie down too soon after eating then that food and acid is more likely to get pushed up into the esophagus. You’re going to feel that heartburn or the irritation. But it doesn’t affect your fat burn.

Fat Loss Myth – You Can “Tone” Your Muscles

People will often say, I don’t want to build muscle and I don’t want to bulk up. I just want to hone up. There’s no such thing as toning your muscles, your muscles, either shrink. They stay the same or they grow.

What most people are referring to is that they want a toned appearance. And you get that toned appearance by building muscle or at least maintain the muscle that you already have and reducing the fat that you have in that area. So that means that you see more definition or those cuts in your arms or your legs more than you did before.

And that really comes down to building muscle and losing fat primarily through your diet. Then people are gonna say, “Oh my God, you’re looking so toned!”

That’s really the effect you’re after, I think.

Fat Loss Myth – You Can Spot Reduce Areas Of Fat

Now following up from that last fat loss myth, you can spot reduce areas of fat.

Unfortunately, you can’t decide that you want to remove fat from a particular area of your body. When you’re in a calorie deficit, you’ll start to lose fat and you’ll lose fat from all over your body. That’s not to say that fat comes off evenly all over your body.

You might’ve noticed that belly fat is particularly stubborn. But you can do all the abs exercises you want, and you won’t see a significant reduction in your bellyfat.

Women may notice that hips and thighs are the last to go because that’s where we tend to store our excess body fat. This comes down to hormones and there’s very little you can do to affect that. And genetics plays a role in your fat distribution as well. Some people are more likely to store fat in different areas of the body.

So while how your body fat comes off can vary. There’s really nothing you can do to affect that. You have to keep losing more and more body fat until your body finally takes it off from the area that you want to take it off from.

This is why bodybuilders and fitness competitors. When they get extremely lean, they start to look a little bit gaunt because their body has taken all the fat off their face. At the same time, it’s taken all the fat off the rest of their bodies.

So once you stop believing these fat loss myths, I guarantee you’re going to be a lot more successful with your goals.

Ivana Chapman

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Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman BSc BA CSCS is a Canadian fitness and nutrition coach, happy wife, and mom to an energetic 7-year-old boy. She is a YouTuber, writer, published fitness model, speaker, 3rd Dan black belt in Shotokan Karate, former World Cup Karate Champion, one-time marathoner, and CBBF National level Natural Bikini competitor. She loves weight training and chocolate, not always in that order of preference.
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