Busting Those Diet and Fitness Myth’s

The summer is waning and September has begun. As much as I enjoy summer and the long (hopefully sunny) days I love September. It always reminds me of new beginnings, new goals and new stationary – perhaps it’s harking back to that ‘Back to School’ feeling!

September is also my birthday month, so what’s not to love? As starting anything new in dark January seems a bit mad to me I always use my birthday as a time to set new resolutions, (but more about that later in the month) which also gives more significance to September for me.

I promise not to get out the cheesy chalkboard graphics, but in true ‘Back to School’ style here are some lessons about how so much of conventional advice is simply flawed.

The top 6 diet and fitness myths debunked.

Myth 1: You Can/Should Lose 2lbs a Week

False – I blame the diet clubs for this misnomer. Life isn’t linear and you will not lose the same amount of weight week in week out. Chances are your weight may go up and down and your weight is impacted by so many things, which don’t necessarily give a good idea of progress. For example if you’ve eaten a lot of salt it may hold onto water, if you’re a women where you are in your monthly cycle can have a big impact. The important thing is that overtime you’re happy that you’re making progress. Even small progress can add up to big change.

Myth 2: Eating Fat Makes You Fat

False (kind of)  – as I covered in an earlier article fat is good for you and your body needs it. In fact restricting fat too much can make your body more likely to store fat. However, avoid those nasty trans and hydrogenated fats for sure!

Myth 3: I Just Need to do More Exercise

False – so often I hear ‘I’ve eaten too much this weekend I need to go to the gym’ or ‘If I just take up running/Zumba/swimming I’ll be ok’. I’m sorry it’s not that simple you can’t out exercise a bad diet. Good nutrition is probably about 80% of what you need to achieve your goals.

Myth 4: Lifting Weights Will Make Me Look Like a Man

False – I know women often worry that lifting will make them bulky (and we should only use the pink 2kg weights!), but we don’t have enough testosterone for that to be likely. It is so hard for women who manage to become bodybuilders and takes much preparation and effort and it is not going to happen by accident. Sometimes people say lifting light weights for lots of reps will give a lean look. This isn’t the case. Lifting heavy weights with the correct form is the one of the most effective ways of changing your body. Two of the main reasons that building muscle is important is that muscle increases our metabolic rate making it easier to get and stay lean and muscle helps us change our body shape.

Myth 5: Scales are the Best Way to Measure Progress

False – scales lie! It’s not just as simple as muscle weighs more than fat (though it does), as I said above our weight can fluctuate massively and this doesn’t necessarily mean we’re not losing fat. Also, as I talk about here even if you’re losing weight it may not be a good thing you might be losing fat not muscle. It’s fine to keep weighing yourself if you wish to, but in addition take photos and your measurements (leg, hips, waist, chest and arm are a good place to start).

Myth 6: Just Eat Less, Exercise More 

False – most conventional diets teach us if we just eat less and exercise more we’ll lose weight and be forever skinny, but unfortunately diets don’t work. If you eat less and exercise more it may work for a short period of time, but then your metabolism will compensate and you’d have to eat even less and exercise even more, which is clearly unsustainable in the long run. There is a great video here from Jill Coleman and Jade Teta explaining how this works.

Which ones have you fallen for?


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