"If I eat fat, I'll get fat" (Weight Loss Myths, Part 1)

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I wonder if you’ve fallen prey to any of these prevalent myths regarding weight loss? 

(Most people have, so you’re in good company.)

Let’s dispel them and give you some real truths to support your weight loss adventure!  Ready?

Myth #1-I should use my scale to measure my progress.

The scale is actually not the most useful marker for healthy weight loss.  It can be deceptive.  Many people actually lose inches before pounds.  And, for too many women, the scale can become a compulsion.  It also holds too much power over some women.  The number on the scale dictates whether they have a good day or bad day. Finally, weight can fluctuate a lot, depending on the time of day, the time of month, etc.  

Instead of the scale, how about finding an article of clothing that you’ve been wanting to wear confidently and try it on.  See how it feels today.  Then put it on again in a week.  Feeling even better?  Make note of how that clothing is feeling on your body and watch it grow looser week after week. 

Or, you can take measurements of your waist, hips, chest, and arms.  Keep track of this weekly or every couple of weeks.  (But, if you’re someone who tends to become obsessive about numbers, it’s best to try other ways of measuring progress.)

Myth #2-If I eat fat, I’ll get fat.

Oh boy.  This is one I hear over and over again.  In fact, it’s one I believed for 20 years of my life!!  Remember the SnackWells snacks?  In the green packaging?  Yeah.  I ate those like it was going out of style!  They were low fat so I definitely wouldn’t get fat eating them, right?!  Well, they were also high in sugar, fillers, preservatives, and chemicals.  They definitely weren’t real food.  Eek.  Also, Sonic Dr. Pepper was my go-to drink for many years of my life.  Why?  Because there was no fat in it!  Yeah, I was a mess.  While the food I was consuming had little fat in it, it also had no nutritional value.  Not good.

Instead of believing this myth, I encourage you to make friends with fat!  Your body actually NEEDS good fat to survive and thrive.  Eat an avocado for the monounsaturated fat and healthy protein.  Enjoy some salmon for the omega-3 essential fatty acids that it provides.  Use a little bit of coconut oil in your cooking for the medium-chain fatty acids.  And, add some chia seeds or flax seeds to your smoothie for some more omega-3’s! 

The fat you want to avoid is transfat which is normally found in processed, packaged, fake foods. 

Myth #3-I need to reduce and count calories to sustain weight loss.

Well that’s no fun!  Who wants to count calories for their entire life?  Not me.  And, the good news is that you don’t have to.  Counting calories typically makes people obsessive about food and numbers.  It becomes all about the number of calories and not the quality of food.

Instead, focus on plant-strong, highly nourishing meals.  At each meal, have a healthy protein, healthy fat, and healthy carbohydrate.  Protein stimulates fat-burning which is good for weight loss, obviously.  The healthy fat increases satiety which will automatically lessen your calories for the day because you are satisfied and satiated.

(By the way, severe calorie restriction suppresses thyroid hormone, and that can lead to all kinds of health issues.)

Myth #4-I can eat whenever I want, day or night, and still lose weight.

(Ok, maybe you don’t really believe this myth, but let’s talk about it anyway…)

Are you a late-night eater?  Maybe a decadent dessert calls your name right before bed?  If so, you are definitely sabotaging weight loss efforts. 

Here’s the deal.  Anything you don’t burn for fuel within about 3 hours of eating is stored as body fat.  Most people eat a heavy dinner after 5 pm, and then they sit on the couch watching TV the rest of the night.  They definitely aren’t burning off their meal.  So, it gets stored as body fat.  If this happens over and over again, it will compound over time wreaking havoc on your weight loss efforts. 

Instead of a big, heavy meal at dinner time, I encourage you to “flip your food”!  Fun, huh?!  Have most of your food (about 3/4ths of your daily food) before 5 pm.  Make lunch your biggest meal and then have a smaller dinner.  Close your kitchen at least 3 hour before bed.  (A little herbal tea is a good choice after dinner.)

Myth #5-If I can just be disciplined enough, I will lose weight.

Sometimes, no matter how disciplined you are, there’s something deeper going on.  So, don’t beat yourself up if you’re doing everything “right” but you’re still not losing weight.

Consider the impact that hormones have on your health and weight loss.  Your thyroid gland has primary control over your metabolism.  Excessive cortisol (the stress hormone) will prevent weight loss.  Estrogen dominance will promote weight gain.  And insulin surges increase estrogen levels.  It may be time for you to have a full thyroid panel and blood work-up done so you can see numbers in black-and-white and know what you need to do next. 

I hope these myths aren't wreaking havoc on your weight loss.  If so, now you know the truth to turn things around!