14 Facts Every Woman Should Know About Fat Loss ( That No One Told You): Part 1

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Written By

Lauryn

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Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

Happybirthday Copy 2 800X675 1 | 14 Facts Every Woman Should Know About Fat Loss ( That No One Told You): Part 1

I hate talking about fat loss.

It’s what everyone else talks about. There is a lot of NOISE.

That being said, I also hate seeing and reading many many of the SAME OL’ SAME OL’ “words of wisdom” shared with readers like you that keep you banging your head against a wall wondering: “I am doing everything right, WHY am I not dropping fat?!”

The answer: Your answer is probably not in the pages of a fitness or health magazine.

The Wrong Answer (to Fat Loss)

Body Fat Loss

While these articles mean well and good, much of the advice they are preaching as the “gospel” is just flat out doing the opposite for your fat loss efforts—stressing your body out and making it work against itself.

Imagine you are a computer web designer. And you see individuals selling your ideal clients “the perfect professional website customized and designed for you in less than 24 hours.”

Chances are—you smell something fishy. You know the time, care, detail, personalization and attention developing a unique, beautiful, authentic, well-functioning, polished site takes.

If someone is selling your ideal customers a pop-up “polished” website in a matter of hours, you know they are cutting them short.

I feel the exact same way. While I hate writing about body fat loss (because I think our culture, quite frankly, is too gosh darned obsessed with it), I also hate seeing you struggle and Google search and try “anything” in order to make fat loss happen—and still wonder WHY it’s not working every time.

Here are a total of 14 Myths & Truths Every Woman Should Know About Fat Loss. We will cover 7 today…and 7 tomorrow.

I got yo’ back! 

14 Myths & Truths Every Woman Should Know About Fat Loss: Part 1 

Body Fat Loss

1. Eat Every 2-3 hours.

“Meal frequency, or how many times you eat each day, affects your overall metabolism. Every time you eat, the body’s calorie-burning engine, also known as metabolism, slightly increases.” –Straight up words of “advice” from an article in Men’s Health. Eating frequently throughout the day can work for some people, but one thing that is not addressed here is that THREE meals per day can also work for some people too—especially from a non-diet-mentality  and digestive point of view. When we eat 5-6 times per day because we “should” or “have to”  we become more disconnected with what our body actually needs—and more focused on protocols and rules. Eating small meals every 2-3 hours leaves little room for full digestion to occur (a process that takes 6-8 hours through our small intestine alone). Spacing our meals out to a little more larger meals with maybe a snack or two in between if you really do get hungry, can allow for less stress on the digestive system and full breakdown and uptake of our nutrients. In addition, more frequent meals throughout the day can set us up to rely on an insulin roller coaster—insulin spiking as we eat, and dipping 2-3 hours later if we don’t get its conditioned next meal. Food is NOT the enemy, but keeping our insulin processes in this pattern causes us to rely and crave more glucose (fast energy) as our primary fuel—and feel unsatisfied if and when we don’t get it. Hangriness, brain fog, and sugar cravings often accompany a “must-eat-every-2-3-hour” type eater as opposed to the individual who may eat a little larger meal of healthy fats, protein and veggies as the base—who has trained their body to run off of more fat, than sugar.

What to do about it: No restricting necessary. Find what works for you: 3 larger meals per day, or 5-6 mini meals. Experiment—and make sure you are including plenty of healthy fats with each meal, regardless of what you choose.

 

2. Eliminate Excess Dietary Fat.

“Meaning no butter, oils, salad dressings (low-fat or fat-free dressings are okay); remove the skin from chicken; substitute egg whites for most of your whole eggs; avoid whole-milk dairy products; and ditch marbled red meats such as rib-eye for lean cuts such as flank”—Men’s Health. Nope. Quite the opposite: Eat fat with every meal. When we eat healthy fats (and less sugar and grains), our body, in general, begins to become more of a “fat burner than sugar burner—turning to fat for fuel and energy.

What to do about it: Do not fear the fat. Incorporate fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, salmon, coconut oil, coconut butter, ghee, grassfed butter, flax, chia, hemp seed oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, olives, egg yolks and animal meats with every meal.

 

3. Do Fasted Cardio.

Hello high cortisol, good-bye fat loss. Running like a hamster on a wheel (and on complete “empty”) does one thing: Stress your body out. It’s like waking up in the middle of the night and starting to run from a bear…what do you think your body is going to do? Run fast and sound the alarms (your stress hormones). And we know stress does one thing: Keeps your body fighting for its life for homeostasis (balance). For many folks this means: Fat loss plateaus and a “stubborn metabolism.” The preferred type of training—particularly for fat loss? Anaerobic and interval training (sprint, HIIT, weight lifting, power output). Your Fit Bit may tell you that you scorched 500 calories during your spin class and 3-mile run; or you sweated for 45 minutes straight on the StairMaster, but if you’re constantly pushing the cardio button, all you’re doing is stressing your body more, running off muscle and spinning your wheels. Weights and sprint-style sessions, on the other hand, do a few things:

  • Help preserve lean muscle mass
  • Boost metabolism
  • Turns to fat for energy
  • Increases post-exercise “burn”
  • Doesn’t make you go crazy, focused on a number (you know that calorie counter monitor on cardio machines? (It doesn’t exist or matter on the weight floor)

What to do about it: Don’t fear the barbell. Lift weights and incorporate HIIT or sprints into your training 2-3 times per week.

 

4. Eat Whole Grains.

Choose “whole wheat” breads, multi-grain pasta and brown rice for the “healthy” choice, right? According to sister-science, “Whole grains are “slow-digesting” carbs, decreasing the insulin spike caused by refined and white grains.” Survey says? Not necessarily. The truth: Grains (even whole grains) as a base of your diet still trigger elevated insulin (“fat storage hormone”) because your body becomes overloaded with glucose. Although some grains can find there way into your diet, the Standard American Diet contains more grains than the body needs. In addition, science claims: “Whole grains are rich sources of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, lignans, beta-glucan, several phytochemicals, phytosterols, phytin, and sphingolipids” (Um, what the heck is a spingolipid? Bueller? Bueller?). However, grains ALSO contain “anti-nutrients” called lectins and phytates (like gluten). These anti-nutrients are meant to protect plants in the wild from predators and weather…and when we eat them, they act like steel bullets to our gut. In other words: The anti-nutrients in grains themselves actually make all the “rich sources of vitamins and minerals and fiber” indigestible. And when we can’t digest our food, you know what else happens? Inflammation and stress. And when our bodies are stressed, the LAST thing they want to do is lose fat.

What to do about it: Eat grains occasionally, but opt for real foods as the base of your carbohydrate intake. Since grains contain lectins and phytates, making them difficult to digest, try pre-soaking them in water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Then drain them and cook as you normally would. Soaking grains helps remove some of the gut-irritating substances on their shells.

 

5. Eat Fewer Carbs.

In general, carbohydrate consumption is typically the most “tweaked” macronutrient when it comes to fat loss or weight and muscle gain. Most “gurus” will tell you to drop the carbs if you want to scorch fat, or amp up the carbs if you want to “bulk up.”

However, what they DON’T tell you is:

  • Ensure you are eating plenty of healthy fats with every meal
  • Make sure you are STILL getting carbs in—especially through lots of veggies
  • Every BODY is different (you may actually need more carbs—especially if active or for hormone balance)
  • And carbs don’t instantly equal “fat.”

In an attempt to drastically lose fat, many folks go into no-carb and no-fat mode—eating lots of chicken breasts, tuna, turkey, egg whites and protein shakes, with maybe a little something green in there. This may work for a week or two, but after you’ve dropped some water weight, you’re stuck at a plateau, feeling constipated, hangry and depleted (of energy).

Also, get this: At rest, women burn MORE glucose than men. Meaning: Women actually can do better on (and may need) a little more carb than men for health and body balance (in other words: all the advice that claims “EAT EXTREMELY LOW CARB” may work better for men than women).

The Bottom Line: Eat LOTS of veggies and fat with every meal, coupled with the “just right” amount of quality starches (like sweet potatoes, white rice, potatoes, squashes, beets, carrots) for your body, energy needs and hormone balance (experiment or get a customized nutrition plan to help you find that).

 

6. Eat Egg Whites, Tuna & Skinless Chicken Breast.

Lean cuts of protein (and lots of it) is a staple in most fat-loss prescription diets—pointing the finger at the fattier cuts of meat and red meats as “bad.” Buzzzzzz. Chicken thighs, grass-fed beef and bison, whole chickens, whole eggs, fatty fish and organ meats (like liver) contain a host of vitamins and minerals that the boring dry chicken breasts don’t. In addition, eating healthy fat “burns fat”—especially saturated fats (like those found in animal meats, egg yolks, grassfed butter, ghee and coconut oil).  Yup. You heard me right: To shed fat, you actually need to eat healthy saturated fats, and plenty of them. Since our hormones are made up of fat, they need fat to maintain health and function. And when our hormones are healthy and revving, they work to keep cortisol levels balanced (i.e. lower stress).

What to do about it: Don’t fear other meats. Eat some grassfed bison or beef. Eat the yolks. Roast a whole chicken. Eat some liver.

 

7. Don’t Eat Anything 3 Hours Before Bed.

“It’s ideal to go to bed on an empty stomach.” Worst. Advice. Ever. Essentially this “bro science” is saying: “Restrict or deprive yo’self.” Girl frand…you (and your body) are way smarter than that. When we “starve” our bodies more chronic undereating happens. In addition, your body does not see your meal timing like you see it. You see it as breakfast, lunch and dinner. Your body sees it as “meal 1, meal 2, meal 3…nourishment and energy.” When it doesn’t get enough nourishment or energy throughout the day, then regardless of the time of day, it’s not a happy camper. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go to bed on a full stomach either, but it will not hurt your fat burning efforts to eat at night.

What to do about it: Eat regular balanced meals throughout the day—don’t worry so much about the time on the clock as you do getting in your nourishment. If you do eat closer to bed, consider sleeping with your head slightly propped up to help aid in digestion and comfort.

Phew! Ok…That’s all for today. More to come (7 more to be exact) tomorrow

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