With so many people trying to lose weight these days, it’s no surprise that there’s a lot of information (and much more disinformation about the subject).  Here’s five myths, and five truths I hear spouted over and over again by people who don’t understand physiology (physiology is the study of how the body works).

Five Myths of Fat Burning

  1. All I’ve got to do is count calories. While calories count, what counts much more is what type of calorie it is. Everyone knows that junk food is bad for you, but did you know that 2 slices of bread and a quarter cup of cashews has the same number of calories?  Guess which one is more prone to put on weight?
  2. All calories are created equal, aka all I have to do is watch my calories. Different foods may have the same number of calories, but have vastly different amounts of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and carbohydrates.  What you eat directly effects your hormonal balance.  The question is: do I want to eat for hormonal balance and fat burning, or hormonal imbalance and fat storing.  The choice is up to you.
  3. I’m overweight because of my genetics. While there definitely can be a genetic link to weight loss and weight gain, we can control how our genes largely by what we eat, what we think, and how we exercise.  And yes, sugar, stress, and lack of exercise tends to turn on the genes expression that tends to cause us to gain weight.
  4. I don’t need to exercise if I cut down what I eat enough. While this may be true to a certain point, exercise can cause hormonal changes that make it infinitely easier to lose fat, and keep it off.  Exercise stimulates our body to increase testosterone (to make muscle), sensitizes insulin (to discourage fat storage), and decreases stress hormones (to burn fat).
  5. Aerobics are the best way to lose fat. While aerobics help to burn fat by burning calories, lifting weights and intense aerobic exercise cause hormonal changes that burn fat, even at rest!

5 Truths about Fat Burning

  1. It’s all about education. I’ll bet that you believed at least one of the top 5 Myths.  Education about fat burning helps you to cut through the fluff, and get to the truth!  I like Chris Kresser, Dr. Eric Berg, and Barry Sears for learning about fat loss.  There’s others out there though!
  2. It’s all about hormonal balance. Calories in versus calories burned relies on willpower, and eventually willpower runs out.  Hormonal balance paired with education trumps willpower every time.  And yes, sugar, stress, and lack of exercise tends to turn on the genes expression that tends to cause us to gain weight.
  3. It is rare for hormonal imbalances to need correction with drugs. While it is true that hormonal imbalances can cause weight gain, it’s truer that hormones can be positively controlled and balances with a program of proper diet, exercise, stress reduction, and supplementation.  Rarely will someone need hormonal help (such as drugs), and if they do the above 4 steps, they will need minimal doses.
  4. Calorie counting works, but works especially well if done this way. Calorie counting to make sure you are at or below your daily maintenance level works well, but especially when you keep an eye on your “Macro” (by that I mean your protein, fat, and carbohydrate intake). Why do you do that?  Because when you do, you can encourage fat burning, and inhibit fat storage.  What ratio is best? Start with 1/3 of your calories from fat, 1/3 from protein, and ¼ from carbohydrate.
  5. Muscle burns calories, raising your metabolic rate, even at rest. It’s debatable by how much, but a pound of muscle burns 35-50 calories per day, even at rest.  It’s also easy to add a few pounds muscle by changing your diet and exercise plan.  It’s especially easy for women.  And guess what?  The changes you make in your diet and exercise not only build muscle easily, they also make you feel less stressed, and, you guessed it, burn fat.

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