There are so many myths in the wellness industry when it comes to getting healthier, losing weight, burning fat and many other ailments people want a quick fix for.
Below is my Top 5 in the industry right now.
MYTH 1: Avoid carbs after midday.
This one is probably the most common because every Insta-famous #fitspo guru said it. Yet, why? Why avoid them after midday? Carbohydrates are a mans best friend for post workout recovery and glycogen replenishment to encourage muscle tissue repair. So, unless you're training before midday, you can't eat carbs?
Ask any person who trains at the gym who sits on or under 10% body fat and ask them if they avoid carbs. Just because it works for someone else, doesn't mean it will work for you.
Yes, I believe you should reduce or limit your carbohydrate intake when trying to achieve a certain body composition goal (body fat %), but taking it to the extreme is very unsustainable for the average Joe. Start by replacing it where you're having it. Do you normally eat your poached eggs on toast? Maybe drop a slice, and add extra veggies. Serve your eggs on spinach? Or make an omelette?
Are you a baguette person for lunch? Maybe time to try taking your own roast chicken and vegetable salad? You'll begin eating more calories because you're not eating as many "fillers" that fill you up in the short term, then it all falls apart an hour later when you're starving, and you reach for the chocolate, chips, lollies.
You'll start achieving great results when you stop eating all of the extra carbs day-to-day and begin adding in extra protein and vegetables instead.
MYTH 2: Reduce calories to achieve weight loss.
Cutting calories will of course help you lose weight, but it will also do substantial damage over the long run. The common side effect of doing this is the metabolic damage your body now receives. People who have been on a calorie restriction diet for years have most likely done significant damage to their metabolism and hormones that help control appetite and satiety.
To repair your metabolism now involves you increasing your calorie intake using the right foods and most likely, an increase of body weight (which is not ideal for you I know), but it has to happen!
Macronutrients (calories) are what make or break your body composition. If your balance of carbs to fats to protein is out, then you will never reach your body goals, regardless of how many fat burner pills or diet shakes you have. Work on correcting your diet to include the right amount of food and more importantly, the right macronutrients to support your energy requirements and body's demands.
Cutting calories is a short term and unsustainable process. Find the right balance and correct any nutrition imbalances.
MYTH 3: Weight loss supplements and other pyramid selling supplements 'work'
WARNING: May offend certain minorities groups. If you're in this group, maybe don't continue reading.
I hear it every single day. This awesome new product that will do EVERYTHING! It's so good, it will even give you a "passive income" for the rest of your life!
My first thought, "What about when the company closes its doors? Where does my passive income go?"
Come on people, we've all been around for long enough to know, or have seen someone, go through one of these programs and then come out the other side worse off, having put back on all the weight they lost on the shake diet they went onto. It's funny that the side effect of a product, that helps you lose weight, is weight gain. Or am I the only person who thinks that's a bit strange?
We pour all our faith into these products, hoping so dearly that they work. Yet, if we poured the same amount of energy into actually taking care of ourselves instead of searching for a miracle, we would be far better off!
People who start off taking these are on them for good! It's not a short term program they go on to. It doesn't teach them anything, so therefore, they are prisoners to the supplement for as long as they to remain at that weight. Go off their shakes and appetite suppressants, gain weight, freak out, go back on. Vicious cycle. Unsustainable. Unhealthy. Misguided information. Deceit.
Most of these big companies have been successfully sued for fraud, deception and a few others. So you can't sit there and honestly tell me that they're a superior supplement.
And to those that sell them, if you took your commissions off it, would you still sell the products to your cousin and aunty? Well, I would hope your answer is "No".
Myth 4: Low fat foods are good for you
This one would have to be close for first place on this list. Ask yourself this, how many low-fat foods are in your household right now? Fridge, pantry, on your plate right now?
Manufacturers got scared in the 90's when everyone went low-fat to try and avoid heart disease and weight gain. Now, we also have the highest levels of heart disease and weight in history, so we all know how that turned out.
Low-fat products are created by food manufacturers to reduce the fat content and reduce the calories in the food. It is done so by removing the naturally occurring fat in the food and replacing it with a lower fat substitute vegetable oil, then adding sugar or alternative sweetener, mostly artificial, to add taste so it is palatable.
These food do far more damage than the original one so avoid them at all costs.
The same goes for low-sugar foods, as they remove the sugars, and add in artificial sweeteners most of the time.
Healthy (HDL) fats are a vital part of our modern day diets. They supply us with all the essential fatty acids required for organ (brain, heart) function so we can do all those little things like concentrate and make decisions, you know, those ones? Since the 90's and the low-fat craze, the world has been on damage control ever since and will still be decades off repair unless big corporations and governments correct the mistakes made in the past and begin to properly educate people without any industry influence.
Myth 5: Meal frequency is always better
You've heard of those people who eat 5-6 small meals every day instead of 3 normal meals.
It probably works for them because of a few reasons.
- They have the time to eat a meal every 2 hours
- They are very prepared
- Their meals are quite small
- They have quite an efficient metabolism and lean body to burn it quickly
So unless you're ticking all the boxes above, it's simply not for you. Sorry.
But this isn't all bad. Eating 3 good meals is also fine. Just make sure they are big enough to please your appetite and achieve your macronutrient goals. If your meals are only small because "I can't eat very much", then you will have a problem, and you're probably going to need to add in an extra meal.
Leptin is the hormone that controls your appetite, and if you are regularly eating, regardless of the size/type of food, it will turn off. When this occurs, your body now has nobody telling it it's full. It's a bit like the fuel gauge in your car turning off and you just assuming you know when it needs petrol. You could have a pretty accurate guess, but it's still a guess.
Don't be afraid of being hungry. It's not the end of the world. Commit to eating at the standard meal times that fit in with your lifestyle. If you have the ability to increase it to 4 or 5 smaller meals, do so. If not, don't stress, focus on the 3 meals you are eating.
Being hungry is also a great way to ensure your body is ready for the food you're about to eat. It will prepare itself for food and begin to process it quickly, providing you're working well :)
If it is constantly being bombarded with food every 2 hours, and you live a fairly sedentary life, then your body will be working overtime all day, and will prioritise the breakdown of food over a lot of other processing.
Focus on eating quality. Variety. Consistently.
Enjoy what you eat and live a healthy and happy life as a result!
P.S. Eat some cake too ;)