Fit Myths That Need to Go: Fat Makes You Fat

Fit Myths That Need to Go: Fat Makes You FatDesign Tutorial by PSHero created by W Brian Duncan.

One of my promises to you is to always tell you the truth as I know it. There is too much misinformation out there for me to add to the confusion. My goal is to keep things straightforward and practical.

Since there are many of you who may be new on this journey in January, I want to take some time to talk about Fitness Myths that need to go away. I want to save you some of the time and frustration I felt during my early (and failed) attempts at fat loss.

One of the first fitness myths I fell victim to is one I still hear today.

Fitness Myth #1:

Fat makes you fat.

Susan Powter and her Stop the Insanity infomercials, books and exercise tapes were very popular in the early 90s. I remember the big globules of plastic fat and her exclamations of how much more I could eat of things like potatoes or pasta if I just skipped the fat. For someone who loves bread, this was music to my ears.

But it wasn’t the whole truth. Fat in itself doesn’t make you fat. It is more calorie dense than protein or carbs, with 9 calories per gram vs. 4 calories per gram for the former. Fats are therefore easier to overdo because a small quantity can pack a punch. But you can over eat anything. I chose to over eat potatoes, pizza (with fat free cheese- yuck) and pretzels made with no butter from Auntie Anne’s. The scale didn’t budge, my jeans didn’t fit and I constantly felt like crap from spiking blood sugar levels.

It took me many years to figure out the key to feeling good and looking good is a balance between food quality and food quantity. You need fat in the diet for hormone production, nerve cell function and the absorption of fat soluble vitamins like vitamin D. Fat helps keep you feeling fuller longer. It helps strengthen cell membranes for a better complexion. Fat is nothing to be feared. Instead it can be your friend. The key is to keep the portions small and get your fat from real foods – no fake or trans fat!

If you’re managing your macros, the USDA Dietary Guidelines say to get between 20-35% of your daily calories from fat. My recommendation is within that at about 25-30% for the average women with a fat loss goal. There are plenty of ways to incorporate these (plus other healthy fats like avocados and extra virgin coconut oil) into your daily diet. My favorite fats to include on a daily basis are:

  • Raw almonds
  • Milled flaxseed
  • Eggs (yes, you need a little saturated fat too)
  • Olive Oil
  • Natural Peanut Butter (no sugar added)
Poached Egg and Autumn Greens Salad Recipe

Need some recipe ideas? Start here:

  • Avocado can be easily added to a salad. My Egg White and Avocado Tacos are simple to make too, no need to go the added step of making guacamole.
  • Are you still eating Greek Yogurt with no fat? Go low fat instead or add a sprinkle of milled flaxseed with your berries or a tablespoon of peanut butter.
  • Cover all of your bases – greens, protein and healthy fat – with my Poached Eggs and Autumn Greens Salad. Eggs are also a source of monounsaturated fat as well as an inexpensive source of protein.
  • Everyone needs a treat now and again. How about loading it with healthy fat like sunbutter (from sunflower seeds) and coconut oil? Try Chocolate Chip SunButter Fudge from The Fit Cookie for a splurge.

Were you ever fat phobic like me? What changed your mind?

  • carla birnberg

    YES!! it’s that damn SUSAN POWTER who started it all.

  • Pamela Hernandez

    Do you follow her on Twitter? She’s a trip!

  • misszippy

    Great post! I was a product of the fat phobia for years. These days? I eat healthy fats with every meal. Avocados, nuts, eggs, and full fat Greek yogurt are daily staples here!

  • Carrie Skoll

    I did used to be fat phobic. Now I seek it out as I know the good fats keep me full. Bring on the avocado and the nuts. Low fat stuff is always filled with other crap that is artificial and over processed. Ick! Great post!!

  • Toni Church

    Years ago I was fat phobic, but now I enjoy good fats in my diet, it keeps my satisfied. Thanks for busting that myth!

  • Pamela Hernandez

    A little bit every meal – I love it!

  • Pamela Hernandez

    Thanks you!

  • Pamela Hernandez

    Satisfied and feeling great, right?

  • Kierston

    Great post! A balance between all food groups to keep you healthy and happy :)

  • Pamela Hernandez

    Thanks! Magic word – balance!

  • Sarah J. Darlow-Parker

    I was never really “fat phobic” per se, but I did cut a lot of fat out of my diet for a while when I was losing weight after my son was born. But I started eating more fats when I started having achy joints and digestive issues. I have also overdone the fat, too, so finding the right balance is hard for me sometimes.

    Thanks for sharing my fudge recipe! It’s delish 😉

  • Suzanne Digre

    Truth! Great article, sharing.

  • Jennifer Speer

    Several of my like minded friends started sharing this information with me and I had a doc explain to a patient that fat was vital to help their body transport and use their medications. I also found that when I had Greek yogurt with fat in it, I wanted less; it was more satisfying to me. Great first myth to hit and I am happy to share this post!

  • Pamela Hernandez

    Thank you! It’s refreshing to hear of a doctor giving good advice.

  • Pamela Hernandez

    Thank you!

  • Pamela Hernandez

    Thank you for letting me share the recipe!

  • Shira Miller

    Yes, I used to be fat phobic and initially lost weight 20 years ago by watching my fat grams…until I got older and realized that wasn’t the best course of action for my overall health. Today, I’m a big fan of avocado and almond butter. Can’t way to try that sunbutter fudge recipe – thanks!!

  • Pingback: Link Love #20 | Barr & Table()

  • Pamela Hernandez

    I am so glad you had success! Your journey is so inspirational. :)

  • Pingback: Which Meal Replacement Protein Bar is Right for Me? | Thrive Personal Fitness()