I’m writing this to talk about the 5 fat-burning misconceptions that NEED to be addressed.
The science of fat burning has significantly evolved since the 20th century, yet most of the fat burning tips we hear still tend to reflect spotty science, unsubstantiated claims, and (my personal favorite) logical assumptions that have no basis in fact.
Thanks to the reexamination of existing paradigms, we now know that much of what we had assumed was true is, in fact, not true. The good news is that the tips I share with you below are not only more effective, but also take WAY less effort.
Here are 5 of the biggest fat-burning misconceptions that need to be addressed, as well as tips on what you should be doing instead.
1. Starving yourself
When your body is telling you you’re hungry, this is NOT something to be neglected – this is information being passed from your digestive system to your brain. Feeling hungry doesn’t mean you should respond by eating a bag of potato chips, but it does mean that you should do SOMETHING about it. That signal could mean that your body requires more of a certain nutrient. It could mean that you’re thirsty. Or, it could mean that you’re hungry, or maybe just tired. It’s up to you to learn more about your body, recognize the results of certain actions, and know how to give yourself the right foods.
2. Relying on calories burned for weight loss.
This is a proven way to NOT lose weight. If you’re relying on calories burned from your workout in order to lose weight, you are going to be disappointed. Using high-calorie burning workouts actually doesn’t help you lose much weight, because the energy you use for those workouts is from immediately consumable carbs – not stored fat. These workouts also cause you to gorge on your next meal, thereby taking in everything that you “burned” off before. The only way to have sustained weight loss is by following sound eating principles, managing stress, sleeping well, and getting a variety of exercise. Use moderate exercise more often, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how this affects weight loss in the long run.
3. Counting calories.
Not all calories are the same. 70 calories of broccoli are totally different from 70 calories of cola. Food is not measured only in calories. In fact, food is INFORMATION. It tells your body what to do. If you eat carbs, your body says, “Gimme more! Let’s store this as fat for a rainy day.” If you eat fats, your body says, “Ooh, I’m full. *Initiating fat burning mode.* Thanks!” Counting calories is not only missing most of the food intake / tracking picture – it’s also incredibly stressful. That extra stress DEFINITELY isn’t going to help you lose weight. (Seriously – when you’re stressed, your body doesn’t function very well. And this includes your weight loss goals.)
4. Avoiding healthy fats.
Fats are essential to your body’s overall function. They regulate your hormones, tell your body you’re full , improve your cognitive abilities, and even help you sleep. Fats get a bad rep because they have more calories per gram (9 calories per gram instead of 4 calories per gram, like proteins and carbs), but avoiding fats for that reason would be based on the flawed system of measuring fitness in terms of calories in and calories out. To paraphrase Dave Asprey of Bulletproof, your body isn’t a checking account – it’s way more complicated than that! Bottom line, make sure you’re eating healthy fats (avocados, nuts (not peanuts), olive oil, butter (yup, butter), and chia seeds, to give a few examples), or your diet is missing out on some essentials.
5. Looking at diet as a means to an end.
The word “diet” is filled with all sorts of connotations. When you say “diet”, immediately what comes to mind is a short-term solution to weight loss that you plan on giving up as soon as you reach your goal. (NO!) Instead, I prefer the phrase “eating habits”, which are more long-term. Your eating habits should allow you to get the fuel your body needs, to create the body and mind you desire, but also allow for opportunities to enjoy life when you want to. You want to have some cake? Go ahead, but only do so occasionally. The more you follow sound eating habits, the less you want that cake anyways. You notice just how good your body feels without sweets and other unhealthy foods, and you begin to crave the good stuff. You start associating food with how you feel afterwards, instead of craving the short term pleasure found in unhealthy foods.
There we have it! Those are the 5 fat-burning misconceptions I feel need to be addressed, along with some tips you can immediately implement into your own life for more effective fat-burning.