Weight loss advice is so common (and contentious) now and there are competing opinions everywhere. I say, forget about "who's right" and let's focus on "what's right." Because what gets results is what I'm focusing on in this post. Let's break down the myths...
Myth: Calories cause weight gain, and fewer calories are the path to weight loss
Calories are important for weight loss. If you eat and absorb a ton more than you use, then your body’s wisdom will store some for later. Calories matter.
But, they are not the “be-all and end-all" of weight loss; they're important, but they're the symptom, not the cause. Let's think about the reasons people eat more calories. Let's focus on the causes.
People eat too many calories, not because they're hungry, but because they feel sad, lonely, or bored. Or maybe because they're tired or stressed. Or maybe even because they're happy and celebrating. And all these feelings interact with our gastrointestinal, nervous and hormonal systems; all of which influence our calorie intake.
Myth: “Eat less move more” is good advice
Well, then we're all in tip-top shape, right? Because people have been doling out this advice (myth) for years. The premise of this is based on the above myth that calories in minus calories out equals your weight. So, eat fewer calories, and burn off more calories (human physiology is not a simple math equation!)
Even if people can happily and sustainably follow this advice, which most can’t, it completely negates other factors that contribute to weight problems. Things like the causes of overeating we mentioned above. Not to mention our genetics, health conditions we're dealing with or our exposure to compounds that are "obesogenic.”
Myth: A calorie is a calorie
Can we please do away with this one already? Science has confirmed several caloric components of food differ from others. For example, the “thermic effect of food” (TEF) is that some nutrients require calories to be metabolized. They can slightly increase your metabolism, just by eating them.
For example, when you metabolize protein you burn more calories than when you metabolize carbohydrates. Proteins and carbohydrates both have 4 calories/gram; but, the TEF of protein = 15–30%; and the TEF for carbohydrates = 5–10%.
Here’s another example of a calorie not being a calorie. Different fats are metabolized differently. Medium chain triglycerides (fats) (MCTs) have the same 9 calories/gram that other fats do; but, they're metabolized by the liver before getting into the bloodstream and therefore aren't utilized or stored the same way as other fats. This is one of the biggest reasons why I implore you to not fear fat; good fat is our friend, and combined with great quality protein and lot’s of vegetables, that should be the bulk of our diet. #acalorieisnotacalorie
Myth: Buy this supplement/tea/food/magic potion to lose weight
There is no magic pill for weight loss. No supplement, tea, food, or other potion alone will do the trick.
There are products that make these claims, and they're BS (or shall I say, "marketing gold?"). The only thing you will lose is your money (and possibly your hope). So, please don’t believe this myth. There is a reason most people who lose weight can’t keep it off. The real magic is in adopting a sustainable holistic and healthy approach to living your life. What you need is a long-term lifestyle makeover, not a product.
Lifestyle changes, even the smallest ones, when implemented consistently are the key to long-term good health, so do not get sucked into investing in a single product that promises to help you shed the pounds by tomorrow, it doesn’t work that way!
So how does it work?
The short answer is that first, we need to have a healthy gut microbiome to be at a healthy weight for our size and composition. Whatever we put at the end of our fork and feed our bodies will ultimately be metabolized according to how well our digestive system is functioning. It is therefore very important to take care of that first and foremost. This is not to say it is the only thing, as there could be other factors, but fixing our hormones in our gut are definitely a step in the right direction.
To achieve a healthy microbiome, we need to address any food intolerances (more on that here). If the body is constantly inflamed by foods that do not agree with it, that is very likely the reason for not losing weight. Once the suspect foods are removed, a person who has had trouble maintaining their weight, might see a huge shift.
I am a huge advocate for a higher fat, moderate protein and tons of plant foods diet because research shows that removing highly inflammatory foods like gluten, dairy and sugar, leads to a healthier digestive system and brain. When we remove inflammatory foods, we lay the foundation for a healthy body and weight and also allows for a functioning brain, who doesn't want one of those??
If you haven’t done my Kick Sugar for Good 5-Day Challenge, I recommend you start there. It helps you remove sugar and processed foods from your diet so that in 5 days you can start to heal your gut and reduce the general inflammation that could be keeping you from feeling your best …
To conclude, weight loss is not easy! There are too many people out there trying to make it sound like they have the simple solution (or the latest and greatest!). But the truth is that we first need to implement healthy habits for good digestion before we can achieve any weight loss goal; I think of it as getting healthy to lose the weight, and not the other way around!
Don’t fall for the myths that say:
● Calories cause weight gain, and fewer calories are the path to weight loss.
● “Eat less move more” is good advice.
● A calorie is a calorie, so let’s count them all day
● Buy this supplement/tea/food/magic potion to lose weight.
Now check out my magical “weight loss salad” recipe below (ok, no magic there, just goodness!)
Kale or Spinach Salad
4 cups kale or spinach, divided
1 cup cooked beans of your choice (white beans, chickpeas, etc.)
1 cup cooked quinoa, divided
1 cucumber, sliced and divided
Cucumber Dill Dressing
½ cup tahini
½ lemon, juiced
2 tbsp dill
½ cup cucumber, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
salt and black pepper
¼ tsp garlic, minced
Divide salad ingredients into two bowls.
Add all dressing ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until creamy. You may need to add water to thin. Add it slowly, a tbsp at a time until desired thickness is reached.
Add dressing to salads and gently toss.
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: Extra dressing can be stored in the fridge for a few days
'Til next time!