6 Fat Loss Myths
1. Starving myself is the best way to lose weight
Eating too little can actually cause you to get fatter! Sounds silly I know, but let me explain.
When your body goes into starvation mode it starts to use all of your body fat as energy (well that’s what it’s there for right?) Unfortunately it doesn’t only burn your body fat as fuel, but it also starts to break down your muscle to use as fuel as well. The problem with that is muscle is highly metabolic, meaning it burns a lot of calories even when you’re sat there doing nothing, in fact a pound of muscle burns an extra 50cals. So if you starve yourself and lose 10lbs of muscle, that’s around 500cals that will now be stored as fat instead of being used by the muscles.
2. Snacking is bad
Actually snacking will help you lose weight, it’s eating the wrong types of snacks that is bad. Snacking helps regulate your blood sugar levels and thus fat storage. If you eat 2 or 3 big meals, your metabolism is overloaded and has to store some of that energy as fat, afterwards it goes back to sleep until your next big meal. Aim to eat 6 small meals and snack every 2-3 hours, not only does it mean that it’s less likely for the energy to be stored as fat, but it will keep your metabolism firing throughout the day.
3. Fat turns into muscle
Fat and muscle are 2 completely different types of tissue; it’s like saying your brain cells turn into chest hair. Unfortunately you have to burn fat off and build muscle separately. However, don’t let this put you off exercise, like I mentioned before, muscle is highly metabolic meaning the more you have the more calories you burn. So burning fat and building muscle support each other when trying to lose weight.
4. Crunches burn belly fat
After the end of your workout, you spend 20 minutes doing sit ups and crunches to target your belly fat, right?
Well you’re wasting your time! You can’t target specific areas of fat; fat is burned from where you’re genetically predisposed. All the fat you burn doing crunches is disseminated throughout the entire body. For example, working the back of your arms, won’t specifically burn the fat on the back of your arms, it will burn it from various parts of your body.
Also, sit ups and crunches actually require very little energy, so the fat you do burn will be minimal. Instead focus on training large muscle groups such as the legs, back and chest and you will soon see the fat disappear from your belly.
5. My weight is the best indicator for fat loss
You shouldn’t focus on the scales too much when you’re trying to lose fat. If you’re exercising (and you definitely should be) you will also be building and toning your muscles. Muscle weighs more than fat, so you may weigh the same or even more, but you could have lost a load of fat and put a bit of muscle tone on.
Another reason you shouldn’t live by the scales is that some weeks you may lose shed loads but other weeks you may not lose anything or actually put some back on. When eating less and exercising, your body can go into starvation mode, meaning it panics and hordes all of your fat to keep as crucial energy. Just stay on track and you will soon start burning the fat again.
6. Running long distances is the best way to burn fat
Your body is an astounding thing; it’s designed with efficiency in mind. When you do something over and over again it becomes easier, right? It’s the same with running, after a while, not only does it become easier but your metabolism becomes more efficient and requires fewer calories to perform. Initially you may lose weight, but your body will soon adapts and you stop making gains.
This doesn’t mean that running can’t help you lose weight. Instead of running at a comfortable pace for 40 minutes, you should try high intensity interval training. Interval training is changing a variable in an exercise to make your body work harder. An example you can use, is to run slow for 1 minute then run fast for 30 seconds and repeat this for 20 minutes. You will burn much more calories in 20 minutes doing this than doing 1 hour of normal jogging.