The excitement of achieving your nutrition and fitness goals can be countered by feelings of fear or anxiety. You can feel confident and in control one minute, and the next minute you can feel unsure and like you should try something different.
It can be difficult to know where to get reliable information about diets and exercise, and this information can be overwhelming. Should you avoid carbs or eat them? Eat less on rest days? Exercise before you can indulge?
It can be confusing to know what to believe with so many rules. There is good news for people who are concerned about diet and exercise myths. Scientists are researching these topics so that we can have a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t.
Many times, what is popular is often disproved and replaced with what you need to know. The following are truths about diet and exercise that dispel some common myths.
1. Balance Calories With Adequate Nutrition
Calories-in versus calories-out. It’s the age-old theory for weight management.
It is not necessary to only exercise in order to lose weight, although overall calories are the main predictor of weight loss. This theory also neglects the fact that the body can adapt to changes in eating habits and physical activity.
The most effective way to create a calorie deficit and lose weight is through a combination of exercise and diet. You need to exercise, too you cannot lose weight effectively just by dieting; you need to exercise as well.
Diet culture and restrictive meal plans often make the original weight loss goal harder to achieve.
If you’re not losing weight, it may be because you’re restricting calories too much or over exercising, which can lead to disordered eating behaviors like binge eating. This can also cause hormonal changes that stimulate appetite.
Instead of focusing on one particular food or nutrient, focus on getting a balance of nutrients and enough calories throughout the day to make you feel full and satisfied.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle requires a balance of proper nutrition and exercise. By ensuring you’re getting the nutrients your body needs while also keeping up with a calorie-deficit and regular physical activity, you can achieve your fitness goals without feeling deprived or restricted.
2. Nourish Your Body on Rest Days
Weight loss occurs when you burn more calories than you consume. Therefore, you do not need to reduce your calorie intake on days when you are not working out. Instead, rest-day nutrition is important for the recovery process.
If you don’t get enough calories from protein, carbs, and healthy fats, you won’t be able to recover well from workouts, and you may even get injured. Not getting enough of these nutrients can also make it harder to lose weight.
The more frequently you eat on your days off, the greater your appetite and satisfaction will be. Days where you don’t work out are also a great opportunity to nourish your body and take a break from your routine.
Listen to your body’s signals to determine when you are hungry and when you are full. There is no one answer to this question as everyone is different. Some people find that they don’t eat as much on rest days, while others find that they eat more. Listen to your body and eat accordingly.
3. Protein Shakes Are Optional
There is more flexibility than previously thought in the window of opportunity to provide protein to muscles surrounding a workout.
If you’re looking to build muscle, the type of protein you consume and when you consume it is important.
You can still get the benefits of increased protein consumption without drinking a protein shake as soon as you leave the gym.
No matter when you eat protein, your body will use it and direct it to where it’s needed most, like in the muscles after a tough workout.
A post-workout meal with protein and carbs is necessary if your goal is to build muscle. This meal should be consumed 1-2 hours after working out.
You can have a protein-rich meal or snack before and after working out if you enjoy it.
Just know that it doesn’t have to be a protein shake, It can be a protein-rich meal of whole foods like Greek yogurt, chicken, beef, eggs, soy, or whatever your preference may be.
4. Fuel Your Body Before a Workout
But the reality is that working out on an empty stomach is not going to help you lose weight. Doing cardio on an empty stomach will not help you lose weight. But the reality is that working out on an empty stomach doesn’t result in any additional calories burned than if you had eaten beforehand.
Being physically active requires energy to perform optimally and without risk of injury. If you don’t eat before you workout, your body won’t have the energy it needs to do a good job.
Before working out, you don’t need to eat a lot, even something as small as a banana is enough. You will burn the same amount of calories whether you eat before working out or not, but it is still essential to put food in your stomach.
If you are someone who feels sick, has acid reflux, or suffers from indigestion if you eat before a workout, it is not necessary for you to eat anything. You should only do what is best for your health and wellbeing.
5. Prioritize Protein and Carbs Post-Workout
It’s ideal to prioritize protein and carbs after a workout, as these macronutrients are most important for the recovery and refueling process.
The benefits of low-calorie food options for building muscle or weight loss after a workout are unclear. In addition, the right amount of fuel depends on having the right amount of food.
If you don’t eat enough, you’re more likely to get injured and won’t be able to reach your fitness goals.
The International Society of Sports Nutrition suggests that 20 to 40 grams of protein within 2 hours of exercise is the ideal amount to maximize muscle-building potential. Achieving this in a low-calorie manner isn’t really feasible.
6. You Don’t Have to Avoid Carbs
You don’t need to avoid carbs at any time, including after a workout. They are essential for the proper function of the body. Carbohydrates are essential for providing energy and proper function in many cellular processes.
After a workout, carbs help to replenish glycogen stores and promote recovery.
According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition’s position stand on nutrient timing, consuming carbohydrates after working out is an effective way to help improve strength and changes in body composition.
Essentially, consuming carbohydrates post-workout can help with both muscle growth and fat loss.
7. Your Body Works Against You
You are not crazy when you feel like you are constantly fighting your cravings and your body when you are trying to lose weight.
According to Australian researchers, weight loss decreases the hormone leptin, which signals to your brain that you’re full, and increases the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates hunger.
The study found that even after successful weight loss, there is a hormone imbalance that makes it difficult to maintain weight loss.
If you consume fewer calories than what your body needs, your metabolism will slow down, says Sabrena Jo, director of science and research content for the American Council on Exercise.
If you cut calories significantly, you will probably lose weight quickly. However, you may also lose some muscle. Muscles are what cause metabolism, so less muscles means a lower metabolism.
If you don’t eat enough, you’re more likely to overeat later because you’ve been restricting yourself. Jo recommends finding a balance between physical activity and calorie intake to maintain long-term health and wellness.
8. There Are No Quick Fixes
If you want to lose weight before your high school reunion, you need to commit to a healthy lifestyle and make a plan. There are no short cuts or easy solutions.
When you are trying to lose weight it can be difficult to be patient, Mark Pettus, MD, director of medical education, wellness, and population health for Berkshire Health Systems in Pittsfield, Massachusetts says.
Avoid the temptation to try something drastic. Starvation diets that are quick can cause your metabolism to go out of balance, which can make it harder for you to lose weight in the long term.
You should remember that you will only be able to lose weight slowly and steadily, approximately one or two pounds a week. This is according to Dr. Pettus.
9. Exercise Can’t Conquer All
Exercise is helpful for weight loss and maintenance, but it is nearly impossible to lose weight through exercise alone, according to a report from the National Weight Control Registry.
If you want to lose a pound of fat, you have to burn 3,500 calories more than you consume. This makes it clear that exercising won’t help you lose weight if you have a poor diet. You have to be careful about what you eat and exercise. There is no one perfect way to diet, but combining different methods is often successful.
10. Diet Supplements May Not Work
The pills that are meant to increase your metabolism are alluring, but there is not much data to support that they are effective.
In May 2012, a review was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine that followed thousands of dieters and found that liquid diets, fad diets, and over-the-counter diet pills were not linked to weight loss.
So what worked? Cutting down on fat intake, working out more often, taking weight loss medication as prescribed, and becoming a member of commercial weight loss programs are all viable options.
11. Fad Diets Don’t Work for Long
Grapefruit. Maple syrup. Cabbage. Apple-cider vinegar. Juice. There are a lot of diets that claim to be able to help you lose weight and burn fat.
The reality is that fad diets only work for a short period of time because they involve eating fewer calories.
The issue is that people usually don’t have the motivation to give up entire food groups or cut their calories drastically, so eventually they go back to eating in a way that is more inclusive and has more calories.
12. One Diet Doesn’t Fit All
Everyone’s body is unique, so the diet that works for you might not work for your friend, your coworker, your mother, or your sister.
There are many factors to consider when trying to lose weight. Your health and family history, your metabolism, your activity level, your age, your gender, and your likes and dislikes are all important.
It’s important to allow yourself some foods that you enjoy when you’re dieting, Otherwise, you’ll feel deprived and be less likely to stick with an overall healthy eating plan. You will be more successful at losing weight if you adjust your diet to fit your body and accept that not every diet will work for every person.
13. Cardio Is Essential (and Strength Training Helps Too)
According to the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans: Adults should get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (or a combination of both), preferably spread throughout the week, plus two or more days of muscle-strengthening activities.
Every little bit of extra movement throughout the day counts towards the recommendation to get more exercise. Even something as simple as a walk around the block can make a difference.
Obese people or people with a lot of weight to lose need to be even more active, gradually working up to at least 30 minutes per day.
In addition to cardio, you shouldn’t skip strength training, which can help improve joint health and function. This means that not only will you have more energy to power through your workouts, but also that you’ll look more toned and fit.
14. He Can Eat More Than She Can
It isn’t fair that men can eat more than women and still lose weight. Men tend to burn more calories than woman because they are larger, have more muscle mass, and have higher levels of testosterone.
The reason men have less fat and more muscle than women is because they don’t have to store energy for bearing children. If you accept the fact that you need to eat less than your male partner or friends and make a change accordingly, you will see results on the scale.