Brian White | Fitness
This might be a little bit of rant, but you will learn a lot here (especially if one of these pet peeves pertains to you). If any of them do, remember you have been lied to and it may not be completely your fault that you have one or more of these habits.
These things drive me insane because no matter how much I try to get the word out about this stuff, there are multi-million-dollar campaigns trying to convince you otherwise. I understand how complex and confusing losing weight and gaining health can be; I hope this rants sheds a little light.
The first thing that drives me insane is people who drink diet soda because they think they are doing something healthy for themselves.
Diet soda may seem like a far healthier alternative to regular soda, but many studies have shown this is not the case at all. In fact, these studies show diet soda is just as bad as regular soda, and it may be a major reason why you are packing on pounds.
It is not uncommon for people to be given messages that artificially sweetened products are healthy. The data to support these claims are not very strong, but common sense tells you if it’s a diet soda, it has to be better. Right?
Common sense is not always right.
Research has proven that artificial sweeteners found in diet soda are associated with obesity, Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. It also shows that drinking just one can a day is enough to significantly increase the risk for health problems.
Artificially sweetened beverages trick your metabolism into thinking sugar is on its way. This causes your body to pump out insulin, which helps make it easier for your body to store fat. It also confuses your metabolism so you burn fewer calories every day. It also makes you hungrier, and crave even more sugar and starchy carbs like bread. It is a major roadblock to overall health, normal metabolism and a healthy body weight.
Second: it drives me insane to hear someone say they eat low fat or fat-free foods because they are trying to lose fat.
In the 1970’s, low-fat guidelines were pushed upon everyone. Seems logical, right? If you eat fat, you’ll get fat. After all, fat has nine calories per gram compared to four for protein and carbs.
Turns out that is not what real science reveals at all. In my opinion, this low-fat craze – combined with adding sugar into every food we possibly can – has been the cause of our entire obesity epidemic. We screwed our hormones and bodies up so bad by taking fat out of our foods that we turned ourselves into fat-storing machines.
There are high-quality studies that prove high-fat diets will help you lose more weight than a high-carbohydrate diet, and you get to eat 300 more calories each day. You need to eat fat to be healthy and lose fat.
Fats play an incredibly important role in our health. They promote healthy cell function, enhance our immune systems, keep our bones strong and help in the absorption of many vitamins and minerals. Even the much-demonized saturated fats, like those found in coconut oil, real butter and 100 percent grass-fed beef, will actually speed up your weight loss.
But not all fats are created equal. You need to stay away from trans fats, partially hydrogenated fats and foods that are highly processed because they provide no health benefits.
So if you are looking to add more fat to your diet, look for organic sources that have been pasture raised. Animals that are raised on grass will have high levels of CLA and Omega 3 fats, and will help speed up your weight loss.
The two easiest ways to add high-quality fat into your diet are to eat half an avocado every morning and cook with coconut oil.
The last thing that drives me absolutely insane is when people think the best way to lose body fat is to do cardio instead of weights.
One of the first things I’ll tell a client is that your diet will help you lose weight and weight training will change your body composition. Cardio will break down tissue and give you the “skinny-fat” look, but to get the coveted “toned” look you need to lift weights.
Lifting weights burns more calories than cardio, despite the bloated 600 calories burned that the treadmill tells you. When you are doing steady-state cardio your calorie burn stops right when you get off the treadmill; with weights you burn calories long after the workout is over, and you also get the added benefit of an increased metabolism from increasing your lean-body mass. In fact, long cardio sessions will actually burn muscle, therefore decreasing your metabolism.
But the single biggest reason you should do weights instead of cardio is because if you have body fat you would like to lose, on some level you are not paying attention to your nutrition. When you do long bouts of cardio, you go into such a huge calorie deficit that it is super easy to justify a big meal, and it certainly makes it difficult to resist cravings because your body needs energy. If you struggle with willpower don’t overdo the cardio and stick to the weights.
Lifting weights make losing body fat easier by increasing your metabolism and altering your body composition. Focus on weights to lose fat and pepper in some short cardio sessions for a well-balanced program.
—Brian White owns BWF, San Diego’s Premier Training Service located in Hillcrest. He runs boot camps in Balboa Park and trains clients in Diverge Gym. Go to youshouldbedoingit.com to read his blog, or take his seven-day video challenge to get back into healthy habits. Contact Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org or on his website.