by Paige Romanowski
A large portion of the holiday season is centered around food and beverages. Eating and drinking are activities that go hand in hand with celebrations of any kind, not just the holidays.
The month of December, however, is the month of festive late nights or early mornings…filled with too much drinking, too much eating and not enough moderation. January is the month reserved for reconciliation! In this month, we reluctantly stand on the scale, we renew our gym memberships and we download My Fitness Pal or some other calorie tracker onto our smartphones and begin the journey of weight loss. Before you pack on the holiday pounds in December and starve yourself in January, I challenge you to give careful thought to the three biggest lies regarding weight management.
Lie #1 - Calories in Calories Out
Thanks to the observations of the now deceased French American Scientist Jean Mayer, one of the most widely held beliefs is that all you have to do to normalize weight is to eat less and exercise more. FALSE! Mayer based his findings on a laboratory experiment involving inactive fat mice versus active skinny mice. As a result of his findings, this supposed energy balance gave birth to Mayer’s “calories in calories out” theory and is still believed to this day. An important question to ask is: If more people now exercise, why do obesity rates continue to climb?
Lie #2 - All Calories Are Created Equal
We can thank the scholarly work of German nutritionist Max Rubner for leading us all to believe that “a calorie is just a calorie.” The calorie myth is one of the most pervasive and damaging myths of nutrition and weight management to this day. Essentially, the sources of calories don’t matter but rather the overall number of calories consumed each day do. If this myth were true, then you should be able to supplement a meal with a Krispy Kreme donut or Twinkie and still shed pounds.
Lie #3 - Exercise is the Cure for Weight Loss
Thanks to heart rate monitors, fitness devices and the ultimate workout, people still believe that exercise is the only method for weight loss. So very false! Exercise accounts for a small portion of the daily calorie burn. Exercise only accounts for about 10 to 30 percent of one’s total energy expenditure. Even though exercise is highly correlated with levels of fitness and health-related metrics such as blood pressure and cholesterol, study after study reveals that exercise is a poor choice for diet. The quality of your food, the timing and amount of your food as well as your activity level each day are the factors to consider and gauge. The holiday season of December tells us to eat whatever we want and the post season of January tells us to exercise or to exercise more. You cannot exercise your way out of a bad diet and into improved healthfulness!
Optimizing your health and reaching your ideal body weight through the minimization – if not elimination – of all types of sugar, processed carbohydrates and fake food and replacing with healthy macros like high quality protein, fats and plant food will get you back to you. Now that is something worth celebrating!