The Dumbest Things I’ve Believed About Weight Loss

I’ve always considered myself to be pretty savvy about food and diet… but since there are SO many psychological layers to eating; food, body image, etc., it’s easy for us to abandon our rational brain and wholeheartedly believe things about our bodies that may not be true. Even the savviest of us all may be tempted to believe weight-loss fabrications, which is why I investigated some of the things people have told me (which I believed!) by speaking with a nutritionist.
“If you eat protein and carbohydrates at the same time, your digestion is less efficient because the stomach is using different enzymes at once, as opposed to focusing on one type of food at a time.”
–Every nutritionist I’ve talked to has said this is complete garbage. And I’m glad to hear it, because my faith in my beloved In-N-Out burger has been restored (sorry to everyone who’s not in California or parts of Arizona. They truly are the best burgers on Earth…worth the airfare, I promise). In fact, it’s better to eat both protein and carbohydrates together– the carbohydrates give you quick glucose for energy, but the protein ensures your blood sugar doesn’t drop later because it takes longer to digest. When your blood sugar doesn’t drop (like it would if you ate simple carbs alone) you won’t get hungry as fast and you won’t become a sugar junkie.
“If you eat within three hours of when you go to sleep, your food will instantly turn to fat because you don’t have time to burn it off”
–Again, nutritionists tell me they can’t believe stuff like that gets published. Your body doesn’t know Monday from Tuesday, 9 AM from 9PM– Plus, nothing ever turns instantly to fat. Gaining one pound of fat on your body requires the net gain of 3,500 calories– no matter what. It could be 3,500 calories of lettuce or 3,500 calories of chocolate (granted, I know it’s easier to put a dent in 3,500 calories worth of chocolate) but I assure you that sneaking in a cupcake first thing in the morning has the same effect as sneaking one in before you collapse on your extra-long twin.
Sure, making a rule such as “No Food after 7” may help you lose weight, but it’s solely because you’re eating less. It certainly isn’t because it’s closer to when you go to sleep. Plus, I’m pretty sure Oprah was the culprit popularizing this “No Food after 7” rule…and while I have mad Oprah-love, I certainly don’t aspire to have her yo-yo relationship with food.
“I could easily gain 5 pounds in just one day if I ate whatever I wanted”
–The reason I say this is totally wrong is because of the word “easily”. It would actually be RIDICULOUSLY difficult to gain five pounds in a day. If I were to gain 5 pounds in a day (and I need about 1800 to 2000 calories on a normal day, like most people my age) I’d need to eat 19,300 calories. I would completely pass out on my way to 19,300 in a day. That’d be about 64 McDonald’s cheeseburgers or EIGHTY servings of Haagan-Daz Dulce de Leche ice cream.
Now, I’m not saying it can’t be done, but you’d certainly have to spend a lot of money on a lot of food and exert a lot of painful energy trying to put that much in your mouth. If you step on your bathroom scale one day, and after a binge-y day it says you’ve gained five– trust me, it’s the water you’re retaining from the food. Even if you did eat 80 servings of Haagen-Daz, you would not see the effects the next day on the scale. My advice for when you’re absolutely CONVINCED that whole pizza pie packed on the poundage– chill out, eat mindfully for the rest of the week, and THEN weigh yourself. I promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
“You can burn 600 calories in an hour on an elliptical”
–The explanation here is short. Our precious Pre-Cor machines are lying to us. As nice as it would be for that little number to be true, it’s impossible for a communal gym machine to accurately tell anyone who just hopped on it exactly how many calories they’re burning. Why? One: We all have different metabolisms. Two: If you elliptical religiously as I once did, it gets easier for your body to do it (muscle memory) and you therefore burn less. Discouraged? Don’t be! Knowing the number isn’t right is just more of a reason to get outta that gym and out into the fresh air. Run on a trail or in the street! It’s free!
Hopefully this either calmed you down or inspired you to question some of the things society or friends have drilled into our brains about weight loss. Keep in mind that the diet industry is worth billions of dollars, so high profile diet companies may not be the most reliable sources of information about ourselves. My plea: please continue being the smart and savvy females you are, and make sure you don’t succumb to every morsel of advice or information that’s out there.
Anyone else ever believe crazy weight loss myths?
[photo from www.ncl.ac.uk]

PMSBuddy: Obviously, You Need This
PMSBuddy: Obviously, You Need This
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