Debunked: The biggest weight loss myths

Does eating less help you lose weight faster? Can you spot-reduce fat? Tiffiny Hall busts five weight loss myths we need to stop believing.

Google “weight loss tips” and you’ll get more than 600 million results.

Don’t eat before 11am; cut carbs; only chow foods starting with the letter M – with so much weight loss “wisdom” out there it’s no wonder we’re confused.

Trainer Tiffiny Hall says all that contradictory advice can have the opposite effect.

We’re overwhelmed with weight loss advice

“My clients say they’re so bamboozled they throw up their hands and think, ‘I won’t bother’,” says the founder of online fitness program TiffXO and former Biggest Loser trainer.

“Social media, while a great tool, can be dangerous when it comes to ‘influencers’ with little or no qualifications providing opinion-based advice on extreme body makeovers.

“It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert, not 10,000 selfies!”

Tiff says these are just some weight loss myths we need to stop believing:

1. You’ll lose more weight if you eat less food

“It’s not about eating less – it’s about eating the right kinds of foods. Not all calories are equal and so it’s about eating quality calories,” Tiff warns.

“Protein in particular has a better thermic effect and so the body burns more energy processing it than it does carbs or fats and boost your metabolism. Eating whole foods is the best thing.

“Swap refined sugars, flour and fat for high-quality, nutrient dense food in proper proportions and eat regularly and your body will start to operate very differently.”

2. You should lose weight at the same rate each week

If you’ve been overweight for a while, it’s going to take time to lose it, says Tiff – and it’s not always going to be at a linear rate.

“Fat metabolism is complex and so you’re going to find that some weeks you’ll drop a kilo or two and others you won’t as your body’s metabolic rate adjusts and resets,” she says.

“Throw away the scales and stay focused, and you’ll be surprised at your progress over time.”

3. Cardio is the best exercise for weight loss

“Time and time again I hear the myth that long stretches of steady-state cardio is the best way to drop kilos,” Tiff says.

“My mantra is that you don’t need to train long, you need to train smart.

“HIIT or high intensity interval training is the best way to accelerate fat loss and increase fitness and also has ‘the after burn effect’ so it burns calories all day long.”

4. Lifting weights will make you look like Thor

Not true, says Tiff:  “Here’s the happy truth – when you pick up heavy things, your muscles will get stronger but not necessarily bigger.

“Paired with the right diet of healthy foods, resistance training can help women burn fat fast and creates long and lean muscle and is a really effective way to lose weight.

“Female bodybuilders look the way they do because they train, eat and take supplements specifically to look the way they do.”

5. You can spot reduce certain areas

Sadly, we’re not going to get sculpted abs just by doing a trillion sit ups a day.

The only sure-fire way to reduce fat one area of our body is to lower overall body fat through a mix of exercise, eating habits and lifestyle, says Tiff.

“And for all of those people who want a bigger booty like Kim Kardashian and think they can follow someone on Instagram who suggests that doing a few donkey kicks on all fours and some hip raises is going to help them achieve that, think again,” she says.

“It’s a total myth – it’s very hard to target glutes and takes really heavy weights and intense exercise.

“Half the women on social media have chicken fillets built into their knickers so watch out for the fakes.”

The three fundamentals to weight loss

Instead, Tiff advises we should be concentrating on these core things:

1. Eating the right foods at the right times.

2. Moving the body, not in a hardcore or intense way, but consistently.

3. Getting a good night’s sleep every night to regulate hormones.

“Losing weight means making smart choices,” Tiff says.

“Clean eating and exercise do work, it just takes patience and time!”

Written by Liz McGrath.