"I'll start Monday," my friend said before dunking a piece of hot garlic bread into her big plate of fettuccine Alfredo. "You realize you just uttered the biggest fat loss cliché, like, ever," I replied.
In my nearly three decades working as a nutrition and fitness professional, I've heard them all. While they often begin as logical and innocuous, "I'll start Monday" and numerous other overused cliches stall fat loss and inhibit us from reaching our full potential.
Any of these seven self-sabotaging sayings sound familiar?
"I workout rigorously so I metabolize sugar better than other people."
During my personal training days, I heard this often, usually from clients who treated themselves post-workout to fro-yo or some high-sugar impact smoothie.
True, more muscle cells mean more glucose uptake, but binging on junk means some sugar will become repackaged as fat, since your muscles can only store so much as glycogen.
Fructose, the most metabolically damaging sugar, heads straight to your liver, creating inflammation and eventually converts to triglycerides that find a nice home around your midsection.
If you lift heavy or regularly do burst training, you can probably get away with a little more sugar, but that isn't license to nose dive into a box of glazed donuts.
"I do intermittent fasting and so I can eat whatever I want during my 'feeding phase.'"
You've diligently fasted for hours or even days, and that ravenous aftermath means you'll devour anything within eyesight.
"The fast is the diet," I've heard experts say about intermittent fasting. Well, if you devour pizza and ice cream, you're not going to be happy with your results.
Binging after fasting can create or exacerbate food intolerances, skyrocket blood sugar levels, and even contribute to eating disorders. It's a surefire way to guarantee intermittent fasting doesn't work.
"I eat healthy all week so I can splurge on the weekends."
Sorry, but your body is a biochemistry lab, not a bank account. You can't "save" calories and spend them elsewhere. Hormones, not calories, run the show for fat loss. Keep insulin elevated with those weekend splurges provides the perfect way to lock your fat-cell doors.
"A couple of bites won't derail my plan."
"I'll have just a little bit" often becomes a slippery slope for hunger, food intolerances, cravings, and weight loss resistance. Even healthy foods can become unhealthy if you over-indulge (looking at you, almond butter), so know your enemy and steer clear of temptation.
"If I take a bunch of supplements, I'll get the nutrients I'm missing in this processed food."
I'm a big fan of supplements, and I recommend everyone supplement with a high-quality multi and fish oil to fill in any nutrient gaps in your diet. Just don't think supplements can replace nutrient-rich whole foods or the damage that processed foods can create in your body. Supplements are designed to -- well, supplement, not replace, nutrients you get in food.
"That packet of cookies is only 100 calories so I won't ruin my diet."
Bears repeating that hormones, not calories, are the big player in fat loss. Raise your blood sugar with sugary processed foods and you increase insulin, which not only stores fat but blocks that fat from being burned. Besides, you'll probably eat more than one of those tiny packs.
"I'll just have a skinny latte and reduced-fat muffin for breakfast to save calories."
Coffee shops misleadingly label "healthy" what are actually high-sugar impact foods that trigger a blood sugar spike-and-crash roller coaster.
Breakfast sets your day's metabolic tone. Start your day with sugar and you've set your body's expectation for the day, and that's what you'll crave -- and eat -- all day long.
Ever wonder why you're ravenous at 10:15 a.m. when you had a low-fat muffin and skinny latte a few hours before? That's your blood sugar loudly crashing.
What fat loss cliché would you add to this list? Share yours below.