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Four Fat Loss Myths You Can’t Afford To Believe

15 April 2014

I can pick up newspaper or magazine articles on fat loss and immediately dismiss three or four of their points as myths proven to be wrong the better part of 15 years ago.

But they endure, and those that suffer from this lack of care are you. So I’m going to outline four big fat loss myths for you to dismiss.

James Garland's myth busters:

Myth 1: Calories Don’t Count

People peddling the notion that calories don’t count – it’s what you eat, not how much you eat – are incorrect.

In fact, how much you eat is the most important piece of the puzzle when it comes to fat loss. In order to lose weight you need to create and maintain a caloric deficit.

Don’t get me wrong: what you eat is also important.

We need a variety of whole food sources in order to get enough micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and fibre in order to function well throughout the day and remain healthy, but let’s be real, if we’re trying to lose fat we need to be in a caloric deficit.

Myth 2: You Need To Eat Six to Eight Smaller Meals

Apparently eating in this way speeds up your metabolism, mostly via increased thermic effect of feeding (TEF). Truthfully, TEF increases metabolism more because of how much (by way of total calories) that you eat during a day and not by how frequently you eat.

In fact, the research goes as far as to say that three to five meals a day might be better for dieters as it leads to better satiety (feeling of fullness) and blood sugar regulation.

Over the course of my training career I’ve always found it best to work out how much a client is going to eat (total calories), what that’s going to be made up of (food sources and macronutrients), and then organise how many meals they’re going to eat based upon what best suits their lifestyle.

If a client tells me that they work best when eating three large meals a day, that’s how we’ll set up their diet. If another client prefers five meals a day, then I have no problem organising it that way. At the end of the day, the structure that you’re actually going to stick to will work best for you.

Myth 3: Too Much Protein Will Make You Bulky

Protein won’t make you bulky. Eating an excess of calories whilst following an intense resistance-training program for years on end will make you (somewhat) bulky. The fear of being bulky is one of the blocks that prevent women from doing the things that will get them results.

Take a look at local Sydney fitness professional, and owner of Athletic Fox, Rachel Guy, below. Rachel has spent years actively seeking to build a strong and muscular frame, yet she doesn’t look anything near ‘bulky’. Beyond that, most women instantly look a lot better once they add a bit of muscle to their frame (that’s what toning is), and they sure as heck find it a lot easier to shed excess fat once they do.

 Rachel Guy

As far as protein is concerned, research has proven that those who are seeking fat loss (and subsequently are in a calorie deficit) lose less muscle and more fat, when eating a diet that’s higher in protein.

How much? Well that depends. However, for women who are actively training and in a calorie deficit I would usually set protein at anywhere between 2.2g and 2.8g of protein per kilogram of lean body mass.

Myth 4: Carbohydrates Are The Enemy

If I could leave you with just one piece of advice in regards to nutrition, it would be this: if a diet or coach tells you to completely eliminate any one of the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate or fat) from your diet, run the other way, fast!

Carbohydrates aren’t the enemy. They’re a fuel source (and a good one at that). Like any of the other fuel sources, if you overeat on them, they’re going to be stored as body fat.

If you under eat on carbohydrates you can be left with low energy levels, poor cognitive functioning, and you could also be left with an inadequate intake of fibre. Furthermore, if you’re training with any significant intensity, you’ll find that your sessions suffer if you’re not eating enough carbohydrates.

Like everything else, carbohydrates eaten in moderation (and more importantly, according to your goals) can actually aid in fat loss, and not automatically hinder it.

While we’re on the subject, another myth is not eating carbohydrates after 6pm. Where the 6pm cut off came from is beyond me, but the reality is that there is nothing magical that happens after this time that makes your body store carbohydrates preferentially as fat.

Storing fat is wholly dependent on whether or not you’re in a calorie surplus at the end of the day.

There you have it: four popular fat loss myths gone. What would you like to hear about next? Feel free to leave a comment below so that we can keep the content coming.