With 2023 here already, it’s not only important to have goals set to have an idea of where to go but to have a map showing you where to go.
In this article, I am going to address misconceptions, answer frequently asked questions about weight loss, and discuss how to begin or improve upon your weight loss journey.
Weight Loss Misconceptions
1.) If I exercise a specific body part, will I lose fat there?
Simple answer: Mostly no
Detailed answer: This is what is referred to as the “spot reduction myth”. The spot reduction myth is that we can lose weight (either by gaining muscle there or just exercising that body part) to lose weight there. This is not true. The only way you would see fat loss in a certain body part is if you were, in general, losing fat. As fat is lost throughout the body rather than just one part.
2.) Eating way less helps me lose weight faster.
Simple answer: Yes and No
Detailed answer: When we eat way too little, our body eats far too little, and we begin depriving our organs of calories needed to function properly. What happens is our metabolism slows down to store more food as fat in order to have enough energy to function. Eating too little will initially show weight loss but will end up counterproductive.
Conversely, when we eat too much, our metabolism speeds up to dispose of food quicker. With both eating too little and eating too much, there is a balance to be had; we need to stay in a caloric deficit (200-500 calories), but we don’t want our metabolism to slow down (500+ calorie deficit.
Eating in a surplus at first may cause weight loss, but it could take a lot of time for your metabolism to adjust. Make gradual changes!
3.) Carbs and Fats are bad for weight loss.
Simple Answer: Yes in excess, No in moderate amounts
Detailed Answer: I like to view fat and carbs as fuel sources for activity and protein as a resource the body needs to build muscle.
Carbs burn fast, so they are good before exercise and after. I recommend at least having a source of carbs before and after a workout. They are great for energy and recovery.
Fats burn slowly. Hence they are great for staying energized through the day and for endurance sports. You don’t need much fat, but you should have some to have a constant long-term energy source.
Essentially, whatever is not used or burned turns to fat. That’s why it is important to have about a 200-500 calorie deficit. Allowing all the food you had to be used up.
Don’t be afraid of carbs or fats, however! They are fuel, and we all need fuel!
4.) I should eat less and exercise more.
Simple Answer: Depends. Mostly no.
Detailed Answer: This misconception ties into the previous where overeating and undereating are equally unbeneficial. Eating less and exercising more causes a lack of energy for our vital organs. This will cause us to have low energy, feel burned out, and slow our metabolism.
However, If you are in a calorie excess from your current diet and highly sedentary, then yes, you should eat less and exercise more. But if you already are someone who eats very little and exercises a lot. Eating less and exercising more will lead to a lack of progress.
So it is dependent on the person!
Frequently Asked Questions for Weight Loss
1.) Where does Fat loss come from?
Simple answer: Everywhere. Proportionately. Not any specific spot.
Detailed answer: Men and Women have different fat distributions. Men typically store most fat in the stomach and upper body. Women typically store fat in the hips and lower body. This differs from person to person, but for the most part, more fat is stored in those specific areas.
Those specific areas are also the places you would notice the most difference when losing fat as well!
2.) Should I do more cardio for weight loss?
Simple Answer: If you don’t have a very active lifestyle and you eat a lot, Yes. If you are fairly active, you exercise regularly, and your nutritional habits are good, No. And if you simply enjoy cardio, Sure!
Detailed Answer: I find cardio to be a great supplement to weight loss. But just a supplement. Forcing yourself to do cardio can be tedious, draining, and just not fun. If you are already fairly active, you don’t like cardio, and your nutrition is decent, there is no need.
If you already don’t exercise a lot and your nutrition could improve, I recommend some cardio!
Cardio can burn a lot of calories. But it should be used as a tool. The end goal is to get into a small caloric deficit. If you ate a lot one day or were not as active as usual, look at some cardio as a way to get into that caloric deficit.
If you were very active and you didn’t eat a lot, more cardio will put you into a deep caloric deficit (Not good!).
3.) How much Protein Should I have?
Simple Answer: End goal should be around 1.5-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Very dependent on person and goals
Detailed Answer: 1.5g – 2.2g of protein per kg of body weight is a great area to be in. However, consider your goals and where you currently are.
If you want just to lose 10 lbs over a few months and you are at 1.3g of protein per kg of body weight, going to 1.5g should be fairly simple. However, if you want to lose 50 lbs eventually and you are at 1.3g per kg of body weight, take it slow. Maybe every other week, you increase your protein intake by 0.1g or 0.2g.
The next few weeks, you are at just 1.3g, and in the next few weeks, you move up to 1.5g, and eventually 1.7g or 2.0g.
I do want to note that between 1.8g and 2.2g of protein per kg of body weight is not a realistic value for many. Those are athlete and bodybuilder numbers, but they can also be used for those that need to drop a large amount of weight.
4.) What to do when the weight loss stalls?
Simple Answer: Change something, Do Research!
Detailed Answer: When weight loss stalls, the worst thing we can do is continue doing the same thing. Assuming you have been doing everything correctly, we just need to make some sort of change.
Maybe you need to dive deeper into your macronutrients. Increasing your protein a little is a fairly simple change many can make.
Maybe it is calories? Calories in + Calories out = 200-500 calorie deficit
Calories out = RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) + Calorie expenditure
Maybe you need something more accurate to calculate these?
You can try increasing the resistance training, lifting heavier, more repetitions, less rest, etc.
Maybe it is the quality of the food? Opt for less processed foods and homemade foods.
It could also be recovery and sleep or lifestyle. Lack of sleep and too much sedentary activity could contribute to a weight loss stall.
Weight Loss Tips
1.) Fall in love with the process, and the results will follow.
Enjoy eating healthy, staying active, and making progress with exercise. Keep learning more about new exercises, recipes, and lifestyle improvements. Find friends to engage in health and fitness with you. Share your progress with others!
I would 100% rather someone look for ways to enjoy being healthy and fit rather than chasing numbers on a scale. You will thank me later!
2.) Keep things simple. One step at a time!
In all honesty, meticulously counting every calorie in the day and macronutrient can be exhausting. Ease yourself in it. If you can keep it simple and easy, you will enjoy health and fitness much more.
I would recommend 4-week blocks to progress. Maybe in the first 4-week block, you try and find out new recipes you enjoy and can make easily. For the next 4-weeks, you pay attention to protein intake. Then the next 4-weeks, you try counting calories. Step by step.
3.) Increase Muscle Mass
Fat burns 2-3 calories per pound. Muscle burns 10 calories per pound. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it can add up and help with weight loss. In addition, just lifting heavy and increasing protein also help with fat loss.
That is a fairly comprehensive weight loss guide for 2023!
There is much more to learn about weight loss, but hopefully, that gets the ball rolling!