Black cats. Walking under ladders. Bringing umbrellas inside. They’re all superstitions that are supposed to bring us bad luck. But what about nutrition superstitions? Are there components in your nutrition routine that are sabotaging your progress by giving you false hope? As Michael Scott from The Office, we’re not superstitious, but we are a little stitious. So let’s look into some of the nutrition myths that might be casting bad luck charms on your weight loss progress.
Myth 1: Eating clean is necessary for weight loss
Bodybuilders have been talking about the importance of eating clean for decades. And who better to listen to than a group of people that get more ripped than just about anyone else? Except we’re not all bodybuilders. We don’t all live the lives of bodybuilders. We don’t all have the time and energy to devote to the gym and kitchen that most bodybuilders do, which is why eating “clean” isn’t the most reasonable thing for most people.
Time and life choices aside, there’s a question we have to ask ourselves when we’re talking about clean eating: what is clean?
This is a real question, and it’s one of the major knocks on eating clean. While clean eating might sound great in theory, it comes with a loose and ambiguous set of restrictions. Nobody knows where the line between clean and unclean exists, and depending on who you talk to, that can change.
So, what does that mean in practice for a lot of people? Accidentally eating some cheese or bread might send a normal person spiraling because that food isn’t deemed clean.
Eating more fruits and veggies and less processed food is a great thing to aim for. But if your goal is weight loss, eating clean isn’t going to make a significant difference in your progress if you don’t also focus on consuming the appropriate amount of calories.
Myth 2: Carbs are bad. Cauliflower is king.
Say goodbye to bread. Pasta? That’s a thing of the past. Rice? Better make it cauliflower.
But is it really necessary to go low carb to lose weight? Hardly. Low carb dieting works because it reduces calories. But we don’t have to reduce calories from carbs alone; we can do that by reducing calories across the board.
Similar to the pitfalls of clean eating, when a low-carb dieter finds themselves in a carb-laden situation, it can lead to a moment of panic and uncertainty. Do you say no to everything? Do you try to indulge just a little bit? Low-carb doesn’t provide a robust framework to make these kinds of situations work. And when we fail to uphold an intense restriction, who do we beat up? Ourselves.
Weight loss is hard enough. Don’t make it harder by eliminating all carbs.
Myth 3: Intermittent fasting is the best way to metabolize fat
Skipping breakfast or skipping meals for a day is something that works great in theory. You’re eliminating a meal (or meals) out of the day. Which means you’re removing opportunities to add calories into your day.
But you know what comes with skipping meals? Hunger. Sometimes an intense hunger. There’s also fatigue, hunger’s tired cousin. For some of us, dealing with this is okay. We can accept some hunger and fatigue. For others, though? Those intense feelings can drive us over the edge. It might cause us to eat a gigantic takeout order of nachos and wash it down with a milkshake.
You know what happens after that blow-out meal, right? Your weight loss goals for that week are washed away. Gone are the results that you hoped would come with turning down that breakfast bagel. So don’t skip meals because you think there’s some magic component to fasting. It’s just another way to achieve a calorie deficit.
Myth 4: Cleanses will help you drop weight fast
Juice cleanses are nothing new. For decades, people have been juicing in the hopes of shedding pounds as fast as possible.
But is any of that necessary? Nope.
When doing a cleanse, most of us are just booking an extended stay in our bathroom for the next week or two. Since most cleanses are full of laxatives and diuretics, They “work” because they help flush a lot of the existing food and water in our digestive system. Not because they speed up fat loss
Along those same lines, cleanses are hardly necessary to clean out toxins or chemicals that we eat. We have organs, specifically our liver and kidneys, that are great at their jobs: eliminating toxins. They filter everything we put into our bodies, and they do this all the time. All-day every day. In that sense, doing a cleanse is just being a little rude to your internal organs.
So, if you love consuming fruit and vegetable juice because it makes you feel good, excellent! Keep downing that kale concoction. But don’t expect any magic weight loss effect if you’re not focusing on what you’re eating the other 90% of the time.
The common theme.
Weight loss is hard. It’s a process that forces us to change our behaviors and stay patient. Can all of the above help you lose weight in some way? Absolutely! And there are plenty of people you can find on the Internet who swear by the magic of eating clean, going low carb, juice cleanses, and fasting to help them reach their goals.
But the unspoken golden rule of weight loss is that you have to find a way of doing it that fits your life. Find a way to eat and behave that helps you move closer towards your goals while also living your life. This is why at Stronger U, we aim to teach you as much about food as possible. We want you to understand where your calories are coming from and how you can structure your day and week in a way that works for you. We want you to eat the foods you love while losing weight, so you never deal with those constant restriction feelings.
So get out there, eat your breakfast, enjoy your carbs, and only prioritize clean eating and juicing if it makes you feel good.