Does starving yourself make you skinny? Busting 5 myths about fat loss

Does starving yourself make you skinny? Busting 5 myths about fat loss
Source: Ketut Subiyanto, Pexels

We all know that there are so many myths about fat loss and just so much information surrounding the process, that many of us deter from even embarking on the journey before we’ve even started. But, who can blame us? The fitness industry and social media have made us privy to so many myths and conflicting opinions on how to lose fat that we’re just left confused on how to even begin the journey.

But till this day, many still wonder, can you lose fat by not eating? Although starving yourself can definitely help you to lose weight, your health will most probably worsen by the time you would have reached your goal. Why? Well, you will essentially be depleting your body from vital nutrients and energy that your body requires to function.

Here are five myths about fat loss that should help you gain a bit more clarity about the process, feel better about your fitness journey as well as motivate you to continue.

You can spot reduce fat

Just like how you’re able to focus on certain muscles to grow them for example, performing bicep curls to grow your biceps or bench presses to grow your chest, many think the same is possible when it comes to fat loss.

But the truth is, you can’t spot-reduce fat. For example, many people, when wanting to lose fat, seem to have the most fat in their abdominal region, and as such, tend to focus on doing many ab exercises in the hope of getting rid of stubborn fat there. However, it is important to note that muscle and fat are two completely different body tissues.

Abs are a muscle, and so performing many reps of ab exercises simply strengthen those muscles, but the same philosophy doesn’t apply to fat. When it comes to fat, we all have regions of our bodies that tend to store fat first or we lose fat from first.

Some on their fat loss journey may see fat loss around their facial region first, while others may see it in their chest. Most often, the belly and below tend to be the last places for fat loss to occur. So, don’t worry if you aren’t seeing any fat loss occur around your belly; as long as fat from the entire body is being burned, you’ll see your belly shrink over time.

Fat and weight loss is a linear process

This is one of the many hindrances that stop people from continuing their journey. One week you might lose one pound (around 0.5 kilograms), and the next you might gain 0.5 pounds (around 0.25 kilograms) back, even though your diet and fitness regime has remained the same.

And, it is at this point that many people stop out of frustration, believing what they were doing wasn’t correct or enough, or that there is something wrong with their bodies. However, it is crucial to know that fat and weight loss isn’t a linear process. It is completely normal for our bodies to fluctuate in weight due to other factors which contribute to total weight. These include, carrying more food in our digestive systems as well as water weight. But know that as long as there is a general downward trend in weight, keep the long-term picture in mind and embrace the fluctuations since it’s a part of the process.

Losing weight means you are losing fat

This leads on from the previous myth but since our bodies tend to naturally fluctuate in weight, if you aren’t in a caloric deficit (burning more calories than you are consuming), there may be days where your weight is lower, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re losing fat.

Also, if you are starving yourself, then some of the weight you will lose will be muscle, not fat. Our bodies need protein for muscle growth and retention, so if your body is not getting enough protein and energy since you are in a severe deficit, your muscle mass will start to decrease, maybe alongside with fat or even before fat mass.

Therefore, be sure you’re tracking to see if that weight being lost is fat or muscle. To avoid muscle loss and maximize fat loss, be in a caloric deficit and consume enough protein for muscle mass maintenance.

We should cut out fats from out diet

But the truth is, just because they both are the same word, doesn’t mean they have the same effect on our bodies.

This myth stems from the fact that fats are the most calorie-dense out of the three macronutrients, containing nine calories per gram, with carbs and protein containing four calories per gram. Another reason for this myth is that most of our favorite junk foods, which are often processed, tend to be extremely high in fats.

Regardless however, completely eliminating fats from your diet isn’t healthy. Our bodies need to consume fats to absorb important vitamins and control our hormone levels. And, since the human body cannot create fatty acids itself, we need to consume healthy fats to aid the absorption of important vitamins and minerals. Foods considered to contain healthy fats include most nuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds and avocados.

Supplements make fat loss easier

There are a plethora of supplements created by various fitness influencers and companies targeting those wanting a “short cut” to fat loss, with most of these products being fat burners. Many companies market their fat burners to have dramatic effects on your fat loss, when in reality they do close to nothing to “speed up” the process, according to Healthline.

The study reported that many of those who believe in fat burners tend to because of the placebo effect that occurs when they start consuming them. “People fall for the marketing tactics and want the supplements to help them lose weight, so they become more conscious of what they eat, " Healthline stated.

This placebo effect is typically what makes it seem like the fat burners are the magic pill to shedding off the fat, when in fact it is because those consuming the supplements, are in a caloric deficit.

Overall, if you’re currently on your fat loss journey or are considering starting one, make sure to remember these five myths about fat loss to help make the journey easier for you so that you can achieve your goals.

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