5 Devious Diet Myths Hindering Your Progress
When it comes to fat loss, it’s not enough just to play the game; it is absolutely vital that you learn how to win.
When you attempt to lose fat and fail at it, you begin to quit caring about your results. And when you begin to quit caring, then you quit winning. Keep this up long enough and you’ll just simply quit altogether.
There are three types of people along the fat loss journey.
The first group are the people who have figured it out. Their diet is dialed in and their training program matches their desired adaptation. They’ve built rock solid habits in their lifestyle to yield the results they’ve forged.
The second group pretends they want to lose fat. This crowd trumpets that they want results, but their behavior doesn’t prove it. They’re all talk and no action.
In a lot of cases, all they do is try to diminish the importance of what they haven’t been able to achieve when it comes to fat loss. Consequently they spend years, and possibly the rest of their lives making excuses as to why they could never lose the fat.
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The third group is hungry to succeed. Success is the only option for them, and they are working their tails off to achieve it. The problem is, they haven’t figured out how to win at fat loss.
They put it a ton of effort, but the work isn’t working for them.
This article is for the third group. And if you fall into this group, you’ve come to the right place.
We’re going to take your enthusiasm and turn it into results. You already know that diet and exercise is the golden ticket. That’s old news for you.
Instead of teaching you stuff you already know, we’re going to dive into 5 diet myths that could be derailing your progress. Digest these 5 myths and identify where any of them have taken a foothold in your fat loss approach and you’ll be much closer to achieving your goal-and completing your incredible transformation.
How to Stick to a Diet: 5 Fat Loss Myths Destroyed
Myth #1: Calories don’t count
As much as some diet gurus, health coaches and trainers disagree with this one, it still holds true. The cause of excess body fat is the by-product of a positive energy balance. Meaning, you eat more energy (calories) than you burn.
This isn’t a theory or claim that is made up. It’s the Law of Energy Balance.
If you want to get super lean, this is the first lesson you need to understand. The law of energy balance states that if you burn more calories than you consume, your body must withdraw stored fuel for energy to make up for the deficit and you will lose fat.
Gaining weight works the same way, only in reverse order. If you consume more calories than you burn each day, you will deposit a surplus into fat storage and gain some weight.
Unless any you have any autoimmune disorders, this law applies to you. So if anyone claims, “You can eat as much as you want and still get super lean,” is flat out lying through their teeth to you.
It’s important to note that calories count in two ways: First, to much of anything will cause an increase in weight.
For example, you probably understand that wild caught salmon, broccoli florets and almonds are healthier foods than doughnuts, cotton candy and nachos.
But just because healthy foods are more nutrient dense, doesn’t mean that their calories are void when it comes to weight gain. Regardless of what kind of food you eat or how healthy (nutrient dense) the food is, if you eat more calories than you burn, it translates into weight gain.
Before you conclude that you can eat doughnuts all day and still build a neck-breaking physique, slow your roll.
Even though healthy foods can contribute to weight gain, it doesn’t give you a ticket to eat like a maniac and expect to get any kind of results. If you’re goal is to lose fat and be healthy, calorie quality is important.
You need to build your fat loss diet around healthy whole foods while still operating in a caloric deficit.
Now, since the law of energy balance states that you can lose fat as long as you are in a deficit, this simply takes the extremism out of the equation. Meaning, you don’t have to eat tuna straight from the can for every meal. You can indulge sensibly in your favorite comfort foods as long as you fit it into your daily deficit.
A good rule to follow is the 90/10 method. For 90% of the time you follow a good diet based in whole foods. The 10% is left for flexibility: Date night with your spouse, the late night ice cream craving, lunch with co-workers or the cigar and cognac you like to have once in a while.
Whatever floats your boat, you’ve got 10% delegated to it.
The bottom line is this: Calories count. Both in quantity and quality.
Myth #2: Eggs are unhealthy
In the health and fitness industry, there is one thing that is done very well: Demonizing certain foods. Eggs (particularly the yolk) is certainly one of them, which happen to contain a large amount of cholesterol and were therefore considered to increase the risk of heart disease.
But recently it has been proven that the cholesterol in the diet doesn’t really raise the cholesterol in blood. In fact, eggs primarily raise the “good” cholesterol and are NOT associated with increased risk of heart disease.
If you’re stuck eating watery egg whites because you believe it’s healthier, your thinking might be a little scrambled. Including the yolk into your morning meal is a wise move for several reasons.
Eggs have an excellent protein profile because they provide a wealth of amino acids which is critical for muscle building. Eggs also have a very high amount of leucine, which is the most influential amino acid in regards to building lean muscle.
Additionally, the egg yolk also provides a healthy dose of choline which is pre-cursor to the neurotransmitter acethycholine which helps improves mental cognition and allows for better focus and concentration.
Lastly, the boost in protein by adding the whole egg to your breakfast will keep you sated, longer. A study revealed that men who ate an egg-based breakfast consumed far fewer calories when offered an indulgence at an all you can eat lunch, compared to men who at a breakfast bagel, which accumulated to the same amount of calories.
Even though eggs are “high fat” food, having them for breakfast has shown to help with fast loss compared to bagels for breakfast.
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Myth #3: You have to eat 6-7 meals per day to rev up your metabolism
Somewhere along the fitness grapevine, you’ve probably heard or read that eating 6-7 meals per day is the best way to fire up your metabolism.
Now, before I go on we must make this clear: If you enjoy eating 6-7 meals per day, then by all means it’s not inferior. It simply doesn’t provide an advantage in comparison to eating fewer meals throughout the day when it comes to calories burned via food consumed.
Studies show that eating 2-3 meals per day has the same effect on total calories burned as eating multiple meals throughout the day.
So which method do you choose? This simply comes down to personal preference.
Eating frequently does have a distinct benefit: Fighting off hunger. If you find yourself hungry every two hours, then eating 6-7 times per day will probably be a better approach for you.
But if you have no problem waiting to eat your first meal at 12:30 P.M, then a large dinner at 5 P.M, and a late night snack at 9 P.M then eating infrequently is a better look for you. For busy people who simply don’t have the time to prep and eat multiple times per day, this is good news.
You no longer have to enter a mild state of depression when you skip a meal thinking you’ve derailed all of your gains.
Myth #4: Coffee is bad for your health and should be avoided
“Avoid coffee” are fighting words to the java lover. Even though you feel like Superman (or Superwoman) when the bean juice hits your lips, coffee has been long debated as unhealthy, largely due to the caffeine.
However, there is enough research to show that coffee has more benefits to your health than just getting a buzz: Caffeine boosts the activity of your pre-frontal lobe in your brain. Meaning, improved focus, heightened alertness and better concentration are all by-products of coffee consumption.
In a study of 68 Navy Seal trainees were given a range of 100-300mg of caffeine in capsule form after 72 hours of sleep deprivation and continuous exposure to other stress. Cognitive tests were conducted to determine visual accuracy, reaction time, and mood. The sleep deprivation along with the external stress placed on these trainees adversely affected cognitive function.
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But when the subjects were given some cupped lightning, the affects were mitigated. The Navy Seal trainees were given about 2 cups of coffee they were in and showed improved reaction time, memory and alertness. Reduced fatigue and sleepiness were also recorded.
So if you’re feeling a little sluggish before it’s time to hit the gym, having a cup of coffee can put the spring back into your step. If your desired training adaption is fat loss, drinking coffee prior to training will cause less reliance on glycogen-which happens to be the primary source of energy.
Also, caffeine will increase the mobilization of free fatty acids for fuel instead. So, you preserve glycogen so workout intensity can last longer AND you’ll also burn more fat.
One of the most surprising health benefits of coffee is that it is the largest source of antioxidants in the Western diet, outranking both fruits and vegetables.
Studies also reveal that coffee drinkers have lower rates of depression, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
There is one caveat to drinking coffee that should be noted: assess your tolerance. If you’re a slow metabolizer of caffeine you probably get the jitters and your wired for hours after consumption. In some cases slow metabolizers of caffeine suffer from disrupted sleep and increased blood pressure.
Fast metabolizers get a boost of energy for a few hours, reduces their rate of perceived exertion, improves reaction time, and verbal memory.
Myth #5: Health and sport require the same approach
Bodybuilders and physique athletes train for sport. Their goal is to be monuments of physical excellence when they step on stage. So, the process of achieving this type of conditioning isn’t ordinary. In fact, the price of accomplishing extreme levels of low bodyfat isn’t one that many are willing to pay.
On the other hand, we have people who don’t train for sport. Their goal is just to be lean and healthy. Therefore, the process of achieving this type of goal should reflect that.
Sadly, there is a fuzzy line between health and sport. Many think it’s one in the same. We have tons of people who want health, but are following a training method that supports a sports goal.
The result is frustration, confusion and lowered self-esteem.
When someone isn’t informed that it takes a disproportionate amount of effort to look like a fitness magazine cover model, and they attempt to train and diet to look that way, they get floored by a right hook. It’s way harder than they expected, it’s to time consuming and they usually give up.
Moreover, any progress they do make is seen as void because their standard is doesn’t match their true goal. Then, they walk away from the experience with a bad taste in their mouth: Extreme training, restrictive dieting and poor results leaves them never wanting to attempt a fitness goal again.
The point is this: There is certainly a place for sport. And for those who venture down that path, it provides an incredible platform to display commitment, discipline and achievement. But sport isn’t for everyone. And the process for training for sport isn’t either.
Bodybuilders and physique athletes fight against the bodies biological cues. When they are prepping for a show and consequently look their best, they have to train when their exhausted. They battle intense food cravings.
They have to follow their diet to the tee. This process invariably distracts them from other areas of life that someone who isn’t training for sport can afford to be distracted from.
I’m not claiming that either path is 100% right or wrong. It comes down to you making the right decision for yourself. That starts with what your true goal is.
If you just want to be lean and healthy, you’ll eventually have to work up to 3 to 5 hours of training per week. Training can be loosely structured.
A mixture of strength training, CrossFit, yoga, running, cylcing, and weekend sports will work.
You’ll have to transition into eating whole foods most of the time. Eating 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight is a good rule to follow. Calorie management may have to come into play if your eyeballing skills are atrocious.
Social events, alcohol and pizza are all still in play on a regular basis. You just won’t be able to slam 7 Moscow mules at the bar and then order pizza at 3 A.M while you watch ESPN.
For men being lean healthy is a broad range of bodyfat percentage and falls anywhere between 10% and 20%. For women it’s 20%-30%. If you want to train for sport, you’ll have to work up to 8-10+ hours of training per week. In some cases you might have to train 2 to 3 times per day.
You’re food intake will have to be precise. Supplements will definitely come into play which require resources that take away from other disposable income purchasing options. Cheat meals will have to be calculated.
Training will be specific, say goodbye to your free spirited gym sessions where you just show up and do whatever you feel like doing. Unless you have a squad that you train with, you’ll often feel alone on the journey. And I suppose that should be expected since training for sport isn’t ordinary.
For men training for sport 3%-6% bodyfat is normal when they are prepping and stage ready. During their off season, they might hang out in the 7-10% range. For women training for sport 10%-14% bodyfat is normal when they are prepping and stage ready. During the off season they may hang out around 15%-22% range.
Training for sport and health are two different things. Knowing this will save you tons of frustration.
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2. Effects of caffeine, sleep loss, and stress on cognitive performance and mood during U.S. Navy SEAL training. Sea-Air-Land. – PubMed – NCBI. (n.d.).
3. Eggs distinctly modulate plasma carotenoid and lipoprotein subclasses in adult men following a carbohydrate-restricted diet. – PubMed – NCBI. (n.d.).
4. Intakes of Antioxidants in Coffee, Wine, and Vegetables Are Correlated with Plasma Carotenoids in Humans. (n.d.).
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7. JISSN | Full text | International society of sports nutrition position stand: caffeine and performance. (n.d.).
8. Meal frequency and energy balance. – PubMed – NCBI. (n.d.).
9. A meta-analysis of coffee drinking, cigarette smoking, and the risk of Parkinson’s disease – Hernán – 2002 – Annals of Neurology – Wiley Online Library. (n.d.).
10. Short-term effect of eggs on satiety in overweight and obese subjects. – PubMed – NCBI. (n.d.).