Weight Loss Part II: 2 Myths and 1 Truth
Weight loss is always a hot button topic and it has been for years. But the recent influx of weight loss drugs that work for people who have struggled in the past has put the spotlight back on the process of losing body fat. There have been many diets and programs throughout the years. Some are effective, some of them not. Some are dangerous and some are relatively safe. Some are sustainable and some are not designed for long term success. I’m not going to go through all of them, I just want to give some general perspective into the journey of shedding pounds and keeping them off.
2 Weight Loss Myths
- CARBS ARE THE ENEMY!! This is a big one for me. There are too many people out there who think that the best way to lose weight is to cut out carb intake. And for a lot of people this will work, but it doesn’t work in the way that you may think. When you stop consuming carbs two things happen. The first is you lose some water weight. Carbs help you retain water when you consume them so once you cut down on them you will lose some of that water you’ve been holding onto. The second thing that happens is you unknowingly cut your overall caloric intake. Most people will stop eating carbs, but then won’t fill those lost calories with fat or protein so they end up putting themselves into a caloric deficit. This is the real reason the weight comes off. Even though
Now, that being said, carbs can BECOME the enemy if you’re eating the wrong kinds at the wrong time in the wrong portion sizes. Added sugar and ultra-processed foods are empty calories that are meant to be addicting and over-consumed. Eating one cookie after dinner for a treat is most likely not going to interfere with weight control, but eating a whole sleeve or box of them will.
Ultimately, you want to make sure your carb intake mainly consists of healthy foods that are nutritionally dense and contain fiber: Rice, potatoes, quinoa, fruits and veggies, just to name a few. The difference between these foods and the ultra-processed junk food is the nutrition value and presence of fiber. Fiber is a carb that helps promote healthy weight control by slowing down the digestive process which in turn helps you to feel full for a longer period of time.
- Alright, so my second myth isn’t really a myth so much as a mistake. Many of my clients have come to me with their main goal being weight loss, and there is no problem with wanting to lose weight, specifically body fat. The problem lies in the expectation of the goal. If your goal is anything more than a few pounds then you need to set realistic expectations. A good pace for weight loss is 1/2lb to 1lb of fat loss per week. So doing simple math, if a person wanted to lose 50lbs then you would be looking at a minimum of a year until the goal is met, but realistically it would probably be closer to 1.5-2 years to safely and sustainably drop 50lbs of body fat. I use the term ‘safely and sustainably’ because a person can drop a lot of weight in a short amount of time, but that does not ensure that they are properly fueling their body, positively changing their metabolism, and executing a strategy that they’ll be able to commit to for the long haul. Patience is paramount and consistency is key.
THE Weight Loss Truth
The simple truth about weight loss is this: it comes down to calories. In order to lose weight you need to put yourself into a caloric deficit. And just so we’re all on the same page, a caloric deficit is burning more calories than you’re taking in on a daily basis. You can dress it up however you would like with point systems or color schemes but most diet programs correlate to calories. And while there are things that can be done to help supplement weight loss such as consuming fiber, drinking plenty of water and exercising, the main driver of any weight loss journey is going to lie in calorie consumption. Even the efficiency of the newest weight loss drugs ozempic and wegovy are predicated on getting into a low calorie intake by slowing your digestion and suppressing your appetite. This is not an endorsement for these drugs, and if you want to read my general thoughts on them please check out part one of this article series. I only bring it up to highlight the fact that counting calories is the tried and true way to lose weight no matter the program (or drug) being employed. As I’ve stated many times before, everyone is different, so calorie goals will vary from person to person, along with ideal eating strategy, but the simple fact remains: calories in/calories out is the tried and true way to lose weight.