I don’t generally involve myself in social media debates. I don’t see the value in arguing with someone in Facebook comments and Instagram captions. I certainly roll my eyes at some of the things I see in my feed, but I generally shake my head and move on.
Unless it’s a post about diet and/or exercise and the comments are just plain wrong. Such was the case that inspired this post. The question: how to get past a weight loss plateau. The answers: everything from 10-day cleanses to a beef detox.
My comment didn’t go over too well as it was 1) science and 2) didn’t promise instantaneous success via a detox or shake someone just happened to be selling. The summary of my response: weight loss is non-linear and you shouldn’t be afraid to eat carbs.
Which is an excellent segue into today’s post: 6 myths about diet and exercise you shouldn’t believe.
Myth: Carbs are bad.
Truth: Carbs are GOOD.
Carbs have a terrible reputation, thanks to things like the Atkins Diet and Keto. But carbs good. They are a source of energy for the body – there’s a reason you “carb load” before a race or snack on jelly beans between lifts at a weightlifting meet. Are some carbs better than others? Absolutely. A sweet potato beats out a slice of cake any day if we’re strictly looking at health benefits. While there has been some research to prove a low carb diet can benefit some populations, particularly those diagnosed with certain diseases, there isn’t much out there to “prove” that the average joe (most of us) should steer clear of carbohydrates.
Myth: You’ll bulk up if you lift weights.
Truth: You won’t.
Try as us fitness professionals may to debunk the myth that women bulk up if they lift weights, that ridiculous myth still floats around. Ladies, I assure you, you will NOT bulk up if you lift. You will improve your body composition and feel like an overall badass, but there will be no Hulk sightings when you look in the mirror. The same holds true if you “lift heavy.” Check out my post 7 Reasons Women Should Lift for more on why you won’t bulk – and why women should be lifting.
Myth: You need a detox.
Truth: You’ve got a liver.
Your liver is a built-in detox system. I’ll spare you all the science behind what the liver does, but essentially, it regulates chemical levels in the blood and excretes bile, which helps break down fats and prepare them for absorption. Think of it as a built-in filtering system. You don’t need to spend money on juice cleanses or only eat cabbage soup for a week. You’ve got a liver working around the clock.
Myth: You can target body parts for weight loss.
Truth: You can’t spot reduce.
I hate to break it to you, but your body will lose fat where it wants to lose fat, and in the
Myth: You can elongate muscles.
Truth: No, you cannot.
I own a barre studio. I’ve been teaching barre for four years, taking classes for five. “Elongate your muscles for that beautiful long and lean look” and countless variations of that phrase are common marketing language in the barre world. It’s also a lie. You cannot lengthen your muscles. You’ve got what you’ve got (genetics). Muscles have fixed origin and insertion points (attachments), and when you stretch them, you aren’t stretching them, per se. You’re softening your body’s stretch reflex. Read more about this here.
Myth: You’ll gain weight if you eat at night.
Truth: A calorie is a calorie, no matter when you eat it.
There is a surprising number of folks who believe you will gain weight if you eat at night. There are a lot of opinions on when to eat, timed nutrition, and intermittent fasting, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you eat a 7AM or 9PM – a calorie is a calorie.
There is a lot of misinformation out there. Do your own research, and don’t rely solely on what you saw on Facebook or what your friend who goes to the gym sometimes says. Make smart decisions and check facts.
Unlike fad diets, being informed never goes out of style.