Have you noticed all of the online fitness gurus and overnight experts we’re bombarded with?
Have you noticed most of them are in their 20s and they are ready to tell a busy mom or menopausal woman how to lose weight? And do you wonder how much a 29 year old single guy really knows about our lives???
With all of the information out there, it can be hard to know what’s what, what is truth and what is photo-shopping and marketing magic.
Let’s go through three fat loss myths that continue to perpetuate, even though there’s plenty of evidence otherwise.
Myth No. 1: You can spot-reduce fat
When women come to me looking for help, they’ve said things like, “I want to lose these ‘chicken wings’ or “I want to lose the fat on my thigh” and I get it. We all have areas on our body we wish looked differently, but the truth is, you can’t exercise the fat away from one specific area.
“Skull- Crushers” won’t burn the fat off of the back of your arms, hundreds of crunches won’t get you a flatter belly and a thousand leg lifts won’t burn fat from the thighs.
Think about it this way: If you didn’t have a choice in where the fat accumulated on your body, why would you think you’d have a choice in where it disappears?
If you can’t spot train, then how do you lose your belly or arm fat?
Here’s how: Consistent, intelligent strength training; eating a diet of whole, minimally processed foods rich in protein and vegetables; and a mixture of short, intense bursts of cardio with longer, lower-intensity cardio.
[One caveat: Excess belly fat compared to the rest of the body could indicate elevated cortisol levels from stress. Excess fat in the triceps or upper back areas could indicate overconsumption of carbohydrates and/or poor carbohydrate tolerance. But that’s next-level stuff. Always start with the three things listed above first.]
Myth No. 2: You have to eat 6x/day to lose fat
Do people successfully lose fat eating smaller meals more frequently? Of course they do. So do people eating three larger meals a day, and people doing intermittent fasting and keto and so on. By the way, these “diets” are nothing new or revolutionary – they’ve been around decades!
Just because some celebrity lost 20 pounds eating a particular way, doesn’t mean that’s the right approach for you.
And that does NOT mean you can’t lose fat.
For most women, how many meals per day you eat isn’t the most important detail. What’s important is that you’re exercising consistently (hopefully, prioritizing resistance training) and consuming the right foods in the right amounts throughout the course of the day.
Most women should strive for 1 palm-sized servings of lean protein; 1- fist-sized servings of veggies; 1 cupped handfuls of whole, unprocessed carbs; and 1thumb-sized servings of healthy fats as a starting point.
If your meals more or less look like that and you eat 3-4 meals per day, you’ll do better in the long run than following some fad diet you read about in Women’s Health.
….and you’ll be a lot happier, too.
Myth No. 3: Fat loss is easy
I was hesitant to put this one in here, because part of this statement is mindset and part is physiological. (I’m going to save the mindset part for another day)
Did you know that 42% of the American adult population obese? That’s a 26% increase since 2008! Obesity is a silent national crises.
If it were that easy to shed excess body fat, do you think we’d have this problem?
Unfortunately, all of the media makes us think we can snap our fingers and “fat be gone”, but sadly, for many women, it’s not that easy.
It’s time to come to grips with the fact that fat loss requires hard work, consistency and discipline and dedication.
What it doesn’t require is starving yourself and making exercise a full-time job. Finally, some good news!
Don’t get sold on the magic bullet or secret sauce, because there is none.
Your best bet?
Keep it simple, stick to the proven principles that work, be patient and play the long game. You deserve this for yourself … and you deserve to know the truth.