For many of us, a toned, lean body isn’t just a New Year’s resolution but a year-round, forever goal. While fat loss is a common goal, it can seem impossible thanks to tons of conflicting and confusing (or downright inaccurate) advice spread by social media and magazine covers at every turn.
A culture of confusion has been created around how to lose body fat, muddying the science of fat loss by telling us to slash certain food groups or subject ourselves to hours of cardio.
If fat loss is your goal, let’s ditch the fad diets and stick with the good old-fashioned science. Read on to explore common fat loss myths and learn no-nonsense fat loss tips and information.
Wondering How to Lose Body Fat? Don’t Believe These 7 Fat Loss Myths:
Fat loss, just like muscle gain, takes time and work. As with any health goal, there’s no one silver bullet or magic pill and losing fat takes effort and requires behavior change.
To learn how to actually lose fat, first we have to separate the myths from the truth, like these seven common ones you may have heard.
Myth #1: Carbs Are the Enemy for Fat Loss
Oh carbs . . . is there any food more shunned and avoided in the dietary world?
More diets than we can count preach giving up carbs. The truth? While simple, white carbs like doughnuts, pastries, white bread, or pastries aren’t doing us any favors, healthy carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of fuel and are essential in our diets.
In fact, slashing carbs often leads to fatigue, hunger, and binging – plus the return of any short-term weight loss you may have experienced.
Keep carb intake moderate and reach for mostly complex ones for a healthier, more sustainable approach – most guidelines recommend 45 to 60 percent of calories coming from carbs each day.
Myth #2: No Eating After Dinner
While it’s absolutely true that binging on sugary snacks as a nightcap likely won’t do your health any favors, eating a small healthy post-dinner snack like fruit or whole grain cereal isn’t going to make fat loss impossible.
In fact, studies have shown if you’re going to bed hungry, your sleep quality suffers. And since adequate sleep is directly correlated with fat loss, if you find yourself starving post-dinner, there’s no need to deprive yourself!
Myth #3: You Need to Drastically Slash Calories
It’s totally true that calories in versus calories out plays a huge role – the role even – when it comes to weight and fat loss.
However, many people with fat loss goals make the common mistake of drastically slashing calories down to unhealthy levels and then wondering why the scale still isn’t budgeting. The truth is, less isn’t always more.
Lowering calories too far can actually slow your metabolism, leading to a stall in your weight loss goals.
Myth #4: An Intense Workout Routine is Needed
You’ll never hear us doubting the benefits of regular exercise – a healthy, active lifestyle is everything.
But when it comes to how to lose fat, you don’t need to totally kill yourself in the gym for hours a day. In fact, small changes you can maintain over time are often far more successful long term than dramatic, sweeping changes.
Adding just 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 to 150 minutes of intense exercise per week can make a huge difference, so there’s no need to spend hours in the gym daily.
Myth #5: Weights Will Bulk You Up
Cardio isn’t the only type of exercise that will help with fat loss. Unfortunately, old, outdated misconceptions keep many women from lifting weights for the fear of “bulking up” but lifting can actually be your BFF when it comes to losing body fat.
Women don’t have enough testosterone to truly get “bulky” and lifting weights can be fun and empowering! Plus, resistance training keeps your muscles and skeletal system strong, and can be a huge win for fat loss.
Studies have shown lifting weights torches calories and revs up metabolism, which is crucial for fat loss. So, get to lifting – you won’t get bulky, and strong is beautiful.
Myth #6: Fat Loss Is Always Linear and the Scale Is King
For women especially, the scale can go up and down from one day to the next for a number of reasons. When you’re on a fat loss journey, progress won’t always be linear, but don’t get discouraged.
Some things that can affect your “progress” if you’re basing it all on what the scale says? How you slept the night before, the time of the month, inflammation in the body, and your digestion, just to name a few.
Don’t get discouraged if your weight goes up and down and remember this isn’t the only metric in terms of fat loss. Notice how your clothes are fitting and take progress pics – they’re often way more helpful in telling how your body is truly changing.
Myth #7: You Should Eat Diet Foods
A multi-billion-dollar industry of diet foods exists, and you only need to look in any grocery store to see the dozens of low carb, low fat, fat free food options.
Don’t fall prey to these foods or the marketing efforts telling us they’re healthy – in reality, they’re often far from it.
To lose body fat your body needs real food, and many “diet” foods are full of all sorts of artificial ingredients and flavors, artificial sweeteners, and tons of hard to pronounce additives that have no place in a healthy food.
For example, “fat free” foods are often pumped full of added sugars to add some taste back in once the fat’s been removed. “Low carb” or “sugar free” diet foods are typically full of artificial sugars and flavors that can wreak havoc on your gut health.
Stick to real, recognizable foods from the earth and steer clear of the “diet” options.
How to Lose Body Fat: The Takeaway
Unfortunately, an entire industry exists to confuse us and convince us to buy into the next fad diet or approach. But fat loss goals require you to keep your head on straight, listen to your body, and choose steps that will improve your long-term health, not just help you drop pounds fast.
Remember: Body fat percentages and weight on the scale are far from everything when it comes to health, and more importantly, our worth!
No matter where you’re at in your journey of losing body fat, remember to have patience with yourself. Don’t fall into the trap of looking for shortcuts or quick fixes – true health and fat loss takes time.
All included information is not intended to treat or diagnose. The views expressed are those of the author and should be attributed solely to the author. For medical questions, please consult your healthcare provider.