3 Common Fat Loss Excuses Debunked
Written by Emily Ventura B.S. Public Health
More often than not, the concept of losing body fat in today’s day and age is seen as a myriad of impossible obstacles set in place due to an individuals genetics, age, or lifestyle. The truth of the matter is that the aspects you CAN control far outweigh the aspects that you cannot control. If you learn to work with your genes, age, and lifestyle, rather than using them as an excuse, you will be successful. Here are the top 3 fat loss excuses we hear with a science-based explanation for why they are incorrect!
The main reason why you cannot lose weight is because your calorie input exceeds your calorie output. While genetics plays a role in some aspects, one example being where you are genetically predisposed to storing your body fat, solely being able to accredit a specific gene variant to your inability to lose fat is EXTREMELY rare. Rather, for the vast majority of people, it is the habits you have learned over the course of your upbringing that have led you to carry excess body fat. When we are growing up, we learn from those who raise us. If your parents ate in a hypercaloric diet, you most likely grew up eating this way. If you ate in this manner, you most likely gained weight at a rate exceeding the normal growth percentiles. If you continuously gained weight at this heightened rate, you most likely carry a lot of excess body fat due to years of overeating. The probability of these learned habits fostering your excessive body fat is far greater than a rare variation in your genes. The good news here is that since you most likely do not possess this rare gene, you CAN lose weight and WILL with the proper diet & exercise in place.
While aging does cause your metabolic rate to slow down, and the natural processes of the life cycle can influence where your body tends to store fat, aging does not mean you are destined to be overweight or obese. It just means you may have to lower your calorie input and increase the total amount of calories your body burns on any given day (TDEE). Your TDEE is made up of 4 components, your BMR, the thermic effect of food (TEF), activity thermogenesis (AT), and non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). While you cannot necessarily alter your BMR or TEF dramatically on your own, the latter two components of metabolism (AT/NEAT) can 100% be adapted to facilitate weight loss. AT is by far the most variable and includes all of the exercise you do on any given day. Think of it this way, if you are eating in a calorie deficit and burn an additional 250 calories a day with exercise, you will lose an extra .5 of a pound every week, which adds up to an extra 26 pounds of fat over the course of a year! NEAT is composed of all of the non-exercise activity you do on any given day such as walking to and from your car, taking the stairs, etc. While NEAT usually doesn’t place nearly as large of an impact on your TDEE as AT does, incorporating more movement into your day to day life can 100% have a significant impact over time. The basic take-away from this: eat less than you did when you were 25, and move more.
One specific macronutrient, food or food group causing your body’s adipocytes to spontaneously grow in size when in a calorie deficit is a ridiculous assumption. While it is true that certain disorders can cause your body to be more sensitive to a particular macronutrient (such as insulin resistance or hypothyroidism and carbohydrates), a sensitivity is far different than the untrue phenomena described in this commonly cited excuse. Sometimes when we go out of our way to completely avoid a specific food we end up overcompensating by eating too much of another food OR having uncontrolled cravings that cause us to overeat that particular food. It’s much healthier for your body and mind to just eat these specific foods in moderation and make the majority of your diet include foods that your body processes well. If you have an allergy or intolerance, obviously please do not use this rule and simply avoid the food at all costs, but a sensitivity does not denote that you must completely cut it out altogether. If you are carb-sensitive, be mindful of the types of carbohydrates you incorporate (try to have fiber rich whole grains) and control the quantity, but don’t jump to conclusions and assume that one bite of a carb-containing food will cause you to blow up.