by Jarueba Taylor
If there is one concept that has more misinformation when it comes to health, its the idea of weight loss. The whole concept of weight loss is very misguided and very misunderstood. People have a lot of ideas of what “weight loss” means but sometimes things are very different than what people think. We are going to take a closer look at “weight loss” and some of the myths associated with weight loss.
Why the general concept of weight loss is wrong-
How many times have you heard someone say?
“I’m getting fat. I need to lose some weight!”
I am sure from time to time most people have used this terminology. The problem is that whole concept is wrong. Far too often people associate weight loss with better health, but does weight loss equal better health?
In actuality weight loss has a lot less to do with overall health than most people think.
Here is another typical everyday example of the weight loss concept:
A person is not feeling good about their state of health or their doctor recommends they lose some weight to get healthier. So they go off, lose a few pounds, and then see the doctor in a few months. The doctor says “You lost a few pounds.” “Congratulations on being healthier!” The question to be asked though is the person really healthier? Was it the weight loss or was it something else?
This brings us to myth number one.
1. The scale is the best way to gauge weight loss.
In actuality the scale is probably the worst way to measure physical improvements. What most people do not understand is that the scale is merely a measure of total mass. This means the scale is only going to display the weight what is put on it. This means a scale will only tell you what an object weighs. It gives no indication of muscle, body fat size or structure.
Here is an example of what I’m talking about:
Step on a scale and record your weight.
Now step off the scale so it goes back to zero.
Now find something that weighs five pounds and hold it in your hands.
Step on the scale with the five pound weight in your hand and record your weight.
According to the scale you are five pounds heavier but in actuality your body has not changed.
This same principle holds true if you eat something before you jump on a scale or if you sweat off a few pounds before you jump on a scale. The weight may change but your size and structure may not have had a significant change. There are no measure of their health indicators.
The biggest problem with using the scale is there is no way to decipher if you are losing actual body fat or if you are burning up muscle tissue. To truly make sure you are losing body fat focus on measurements (loss of inches) and or body fat calculations over what number the scale is saying.
2. As long as you’re watching calories it doesn’t matter what foods you eat.
While watching calories is very important, it is even more important to watch the types of foods you are consuming. Eating wholesome quality foods will not only help you look and feel better, it will help you achieve your goals faster. The types of foods you eat will also play a role in how your body looks. Foods provides us with vitamin and minerals, so if we are not eating quality foods, we are also not getting a healthy amount of vitamins and minerals. This will affect our looks, moods, and energy levels. Always aim to use quality wholesome foods in your diet. Foods with less nutritional value leave the body feeling weak and lethargic because they don’t supply the body with vitamins and minerals needed to provide energy and survive.
Lower quality foods may also supply your body with too many bad fats and sugars leading to possible health risk. By eating healthier choices this will also allow you to eat larger amounts of food so you won’t feel hungry all of the time. We will talk more about that with example #4 coming up. Aim to consistently eat 3 to 4 servings of vegetables daily, along with lean quality sources of protein. This will supply your body with a good supply of vitamins, minerals, and quality proteins.
3. It doesn’t matter what your weight is long as your healthy
We touched on this slightly with myth number one, but weight has little correlation with health. This is one I find females have the biggest issue with. They tend to want to weigh a certain amount and could care less about other health factors. Here is an example of why that thinking is incorrect. You can have two people, one weighing 135 pounds and one weighing 115 pounds stand next to each other. The 135 pound person has a body fat level of 9 percent. The 115 pound person has a body fat level of 19 percent. The 115 pound person may be smaller but their body fat levels are double that of the 135 pound person. Because of the higher levels of body fat, the 115 pound person actually has much higher health risk than the 135 pound person.
A drop in weight has little meaning unless it is accompanied by a drop in body fat and improvement in muscle. To truly get benefits from “weight loss” make sure that weight loss is also accompanied by body fat loss and improved health factors.
4. “I need to starve to lose weight!”
This is one statement that always bothers me when it comes to nutrition. NO ONE and I mean NO ONE should starve to try and reach a fitness goal. The idea should be to not eat less but to eat smarter. By making smarter nutritional choices you can often eat more and still continually progress towards your health goals. Eating foods like leaner cuts of meats and vegetables are lower in calories so you can eat tons of them and not feel like you want to gnaw your arm off. For example a cup of broccoli is only 25 calories so if you wanted to eat 100 calories of broccoli that would be 4 cups that you would get to eat as opposed to a higher calorie food like one slice of cheese. Even though they both equal 100 calories, you’re getting 4 cups vs. one slice.
5. “Eating protein won’t help my diet efforts. That’s all hype!”
Eating higher amounts of protein is often mystified like it is some ancient dieting secret. On the other hand though there are those that see no use in this beneficial nutrient. Sure there is a lot of hype behind increasing the amount of protein in your diet but there is also a lot of merit behind them. Here are a few examples:
A higher amount of protein satiates the desire for most carbs and sugary foods.
The more protein you eat the less of other things you tend to eat.
Protein increases the body’s thermogenic process upping the metabolism and aiding in body fat loss.
Protein helps build and prevent muscle loss
Protein helps provide the body with natural fats that aid in hormonal balance
Protein is the hardest of the three macro nutrients to digest. Immediately after you ingest protein 30% of those calories are already used towards processing the protein. Protein also does a better job than other macro nutrients at suppressing appetite. Aim to put quality sources of protein in your diet like, lean cuts of chicken, turkey, fish, and beef. Eggs, protein powders, tofu, and beans also make great protein choices.
Too often people confuse losing weight with being healthy. When aiming to get healthier focus on improving your health over losing weight. The goal should be to get leaner over losing weight. Focus on the quality and amount of foods your eating for better overall health.
A second major benefit is that protein is the building block of muscle. This is beneficial for building muscle, sparing muscle while dieting, and helping with recovery. The more muscle you have the easier it is to burn body fat and contour the body. So while you may not want to go strictly protein only, you may want to think about upping your protein levels depending on your nutritional goals.
When it comes to trying to improve your nutritional practices, unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation and ideologies out there. One of the biggest misnomers out is the whole concept of weight loss. People should focus more on losing body fat instead of losing weight. When it comes to “weight loss” there are a lot of incorrect ideas. There are five major ideas that people tend to believe that simply are not true. People tend to focus too much on what the scale says versus a drop in body fat. Whatever your nutritional plans are always use smarter thought out choices that will benefit you in the long run.