9 Common Weight Loss Rules That May Be Sabotaging Your Results
When it comes to losing weight and reshaping your body, there are about a million “expert” tips to help you reach your goals. Deciphering fact from fluff in a world of an overabundance of information nearly impossible.
In my experience, this only overcomplicates the process making sustainability almost impossible.
There really is no one size fits all formula to weight loss.
What works for some, may not work for others however, you can still see amazing results without feeling like exercise and healthy eating has completely consumed your life.
Remember, consistency matters more than perfection. Finding something that fits YOU and YOUR lifestyle is the most important element in reaching your health and fitness goals.
In this post, I share some common weight loss “rules” that you can break to help reach your weight loss and fitness goals faster. My goal is to help simplify the process so that you can find sustainable results.
9 Weight Loss Myths to Stop Believing Now
You may gasp at some of these tips because we have all been taught the same methods for the past bazillion years.
However, times are changing and it’s time to start trying new things because these old ways are way too time consuming and unrealistic for most of us busy mamas.
We all want quick results in the fastest ways possible, right? Don’t fall for fad diets and excessive workouts. Instead, find things are you can be consistent with for long term sustainability.
This information is not just from personal experience but it is also backed by science.
In an effort to save your weight loss journey sanity, these are science backed weight loss hacks that can fit into almost anyones lifestyle making reaching your goals much easier.
1. Skipping Breakfast prevents weight loss
Most of of us don’t have a lot of time for breakfast and many just don’t like to eat so early in the morning.
Yet breakfast has always been considered the most important meal of the day.
There has been a lot of discussion and research lately about the health benefits of intermittent fasting.
Intermittent Fasting basically means intentionally skipping meals for a specific amount of time.
Generally, you consume your calories in a specific window of time and then refrain from eating for a longer window of time.
The first thing you are probably thinking is, “won’t this decrease my metabolism?”
Let’s think for a second, what does “breakfast” truly mean? It literally means “breaking a fast”.
When you sleep, your body is fasting and during this time, cells are regenerating and your body is repairing itself.
There is nothing wrong with prolonging this fast after you wake up in the morning.
So why does skipping breakfast have a bad reputation?
It is theorized that skipping breakfast can lead to overconsumption of calories later in the day and also decreases metabolism.
However, eating in the morning has less to do with “boosting metabolism” and more to do with preventing you from becoming famished and overeating later in the day.
If eating breakfast is challenging for you because you lack time or appetite, then stop stressing about it.
You are not dooming your metabolism or sabotaging weight loss goals.
What matters most is being more mindful of WHAT you are eating and not, WHEN.
2. You must eat six meals a day
Next, stop focusing so much on eating frequency and start focusing more on WHAT you are consuming.
I used to be that trainer who preached the, “six meals a day to keep your metabolism blazing” mantra. This is what I was taught.
Every single weight loss program emphasizes the importance of eating six meals as the Holy Grail of weight loss.
However, this is only ONE way to space your meals and lose weight, NOT the only way.
I will say that eating more frequently during the day does offer its own set of benefits for some individuals such as regulating blood sugar levels.
However, you can still reach your goals if this method does not fit into your lifestyle.
The theory behind eating smaller, more frequent meals is that it helps boost your metabolism and prevent “starvation mode”.
However, what you eat matters more than when you eat.
Starvation mode or decreased metabolism does not happen from skipping a couple meals.
Instead, it is the result of long term calorie restriction. I know this because I suffered from a sever eating disorder in high school and starvation mode hit only once I was on the brink of losing my life.
This is an extreme example. However it shows that starvation mode does not exist until you are truly starving.
Often times, I find that clients skip a meal and then feel like they have to make up for lost calories later in the day or at the next meal. They blame weight gain or inability to lose weight on not eating every couple hours and they sabotaged their metabolisms.
Overconsumption is the most probable cause of weight gain or inability to lose weight, NOT SKIPPING MEALS.
Put another way, you are not sabotaging your weight loss goals by eating less frequent meals. Consuming excess calories is the most likely culprit.
My point of this is not compare what is right or wrong.
It is to shed some positive light on the fact that skipping meals alone is not preventing you from losing weight.
Therefore, if it is possible to reach your goals with less stress and focus on eating so frequently, go ahead and stop forcing yourself to eat every couple hours.
However, if skipping meals sets you up for failure by causing overconsumption later, then stick to what works for you.
3. The more you exercise, the better the results
Most of us struggle with finding time to exercise. We think that in order to see results, we must spend hours exercising.
However, the sooner you see that intensity drives results, not time, the faster you will see results!
I can’t tell you how many times I hear things like, “I workout 5 days a week but still not seeing any changes”.
What most don’t realize is that the QUALITY of your workout matters more than how much you spend exercising.
Despite having less time to exercise, I have now been able to get better results than before having kids.
This is because I have to make every single minute of every workout count.
When done correctly, even 10-20 minutes a day can have major benefits on reshaping your body.
How does this help me get better results?
I don’t have time to mess around. My goal is always to get as much done as possible, as quickly as possible.
Doing so automatically increases my intensity which increases results.
The intensity of my workouts is greater and intensity drives results, not time.
4. Your Counting Calories Daily
No matter what meal plan you chose, at the end of the day, weight loss boils down to the number of calories you eat vs the number of calories your body burns.
Simply put, calories in vs calories out.
Eating more calories than your body burns causes weight gain. Eating fewer calories than your body burns leads to weight loss.
Weight gain or loss fluctuations are due to the over or under consumption of calories for an extended period of time.
In order to create a more balanced and flexible healthy lifestyle, focus on meeting weekly calorie goals, not daily.
If you go over your daily caloric goals one day, don’t beat yourself up for blowing your diet.
Instead, reduce calories by skipping a meal or cutting portion sizes the next to stay on track.
I love using the Loseit App on my phone because it keeps track of my calories for the week.
5. You Spot Reduce “tough spots”
Wouldn’t this be nice if it were true?
Getting that “toned look” you are wanting comes down to two things:
Building lean muscle and reducing body fat enough to see the lean muscle.
Seems simple, right?
You can do all the squats and core exercises you want but unless you have an overall reduction in body fat, you are not going to get that toned look you are seeking.
Now, I will say that even though spot reducing is not possible, we can definitely target our trouble areas. But keep in mind, you need to reduce body fat in order to see those muscles and feel more toned.
So you might be thinking, “if I cant spot reduce, how can I reshape my body?”
High Intensity Interval Training is my favorite method for burning fat and toning my body without time consuming and boring workouts.
6. Carbohydrates Make You Fat
I went YEARS believing that carbohydrates would make me fat. I, like many, believed that if I ate carbs, I was going to somehow blow up overnight.
My workouts, my results and my happiness all suffered because I was so carb-phobic.
Keto has gained a lot of popularity over the years. And while this diet works for some, it is not the weight loss miracle that many claim it to be.
Prior to getting pregnant with our third baby, I decided to give the Keto diet a try and my results were very interesting.
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I felt my workouts suffered a lot and I was not able to workout at the intensity that I enjoy or that gives me the best results.
Our bodies need carbohydrates for fuel. What matters more than what we eat is how many calories we consume.
Many people lose weight on Keto because they drastically reduce calories. They are eliminating an entire food group which will inevitably restrict caloric intake.
When we eat more calories than our bodies burn, we gain weight. Eating less calories than our bodies burn aids in weight loss or maintenance.
Instead of deeming carbohydrates as the devil, simply find a balance. Fill your diet with healthy fats, proteins and sprinkle in carbs for fuel and fun.
7. You can eat what you want if you workout
If you hate working out or lack the time you need to sweat, I have some good news for you.
You cannot out exercise a poor diet. This means that what you eat is much more important than how much you exercise.
In one of my college Kinesiology classes, we learned that your results are based on 80% diet, 10% genetics and 10% exercise.
While it may seem that exercise isn’t essential for results, it is still mandatory for building lean muscle which will help speed up your metabolism.
However, if you think you can eat what you want and just sweat it out in the gym, your really sabotaging your results.
When you’re short on time, focus more on what you eat and you won’t have to feel the need to spend so much time exercising to see results.
Exercise has a ton of health benefits not related to weight loss such as reducing stress and boosting mood which will help you in your weight loss journey. Keep sweating but focus on a healthy, balanced diet.
8. You have to give up wine to see results
If this were true, I would have given up on working out and losing weight a long time ago!
All jokes aside, I love my wine and occasional vodka martinis.
Alcohol gets a bad reputation for causing weight gain. But I wouldn’t contribute it to the alcohol itself but rather the excess in calories in provides.
When we consume alcohol, the alcohol itself provides calories and we also tend to eat more. These two factors lead to weight gain, not alcohol itself.
If you want to enjoy some adult beverages, just be mindful of how many calories you are consuming and avoid binging while buzzed. Also chose beverages that like wine or hard alcohol mixed sugar free beverages instead of calorie bombs like margaritas and sugary cocktails.
9. Eating late at night causes weight gain
What you eat matters more than when you eat it.
The reason late night snacking gets a bad reputation is because you are more likely to choose unhealthy options.
Snacking at night after the kids go to bed won’t sabotage your results. Just avoid junk food and be mindful of your overall calories.
In conclusion, my goal is to help you feel more relaxed in your health and fitness journey.
Fitness and weight loss is not a one size fits all process so these options may not be for you. However, being aware of other options that can help you reach your goals is far more encouraging than following things you don’t enjoy or do not fit into your lifestyle.
And remember, when one thing isn’t working, DO NOT GIVE UP! Instead, find something that does!
PLEASE NOTE: Following and/or participating in any exercises, workouts, or following any tips or advice is solely your discretion. I strongly recommend speaking with your healthcare provider before following any workouts or tips that I provide. I am not a healthcare professional. The information I provide is based on my own personal education and experiences. I obtain a Bachelors of Science degree in Kinesiology and certified Prenatal and Postnatal Exercise Specialist. However, I am not an expert in physical therapy.
What is your experience with eating frequency, skipping breakfast and workout intensity? I would love to hear from you!!
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Brooke is a certified Prenatal and Postnatal Exercise Specialist with a Bachelors of Science degree in Kinesiology-Exercise Science. She is also a mom of 3 girls with more than 15 years of experience in health and fitness. Brooke’s goal at Struggles of a Fit Mom is to help motivate, educate and inspire other busy mamas who struggle with finding time, energy and motivation to take care of themselves in the chaos of motherhood.