Natural weight loss products continue to grow in popularity as people seek safer ways to lose weight. However, selecting the right weight loss supplement can be challenging as new products come into the market virtually every day. So, how do you choose the right product for you?
First, may we point out that weight loss pills cannot by themselves make you lose weight. They should be used as supplements, which means “in addition to”. All the same, they may help speed up fat burning when combined with a healthy diet and/or exercise.
Why People Gain Weight
Understanding the cause of a problem is the first step in finding a possible solution. The causes of weight gain are also usually also what makes it difficult to lose. Some of the causes are as follows, excluding medical/clinical causes which are beyond the scope of this post:
- Genetics: Genetic factors can influence weight gain. We all know of a family whose members are all overweight. Now, this does not mean that you should simply surrender to your fate if you happen to belong to such a family. You still can lose weight even with “bad” genes.
- Hormones: Hormonal imbalance is one of the main reason many people are unable to lose weight even when they follow a sensible diet and exercise program. Hormones that influence body weight include insulin, leptin, estrogen, testosterone, DHEA, and cortisol. Extra belly fat may be indicative of hormonal imbalance.
- Metabolic rate: Also called metabolism, this is the rate at which our body burns calories. People with a high metabolic rate typically also have more energy and tend to lose weight easily (or not put on weight).
- Eating habits: This is the most obvious one. We love to eat. Plus, the tasty things we love to eat are usually the unhealthiest. This is where appetite suppressants may be helpful. The choice of what we eat is still lies squarely on us and appetite suppressants cannot help on this, all the same.
- Natural aging: As we age our muscles tend to shrink, which further slows our already slowing metabolism. Decreases in growth hormone, testosterone and estrogen levels too can cause weight gain as well as make it difficult to lose fat.
The weight-gain factors listed often are not clear-cut; there is a great deal of overlapping. For example, aging can influence hormones, which can influence body weight.
Types of Weight Loss Supplements
Most fat burners and weight loss supplements can be placed in one (or more) of the following categories:
- Fat burners: This are mainly stimulants, but can also be non-stimulant. Stimulant fat burners are often also used as pre-workout supplements as many people say they help improve focus and energy. Some stimulants include caffeine, green tea, yerba mate, and guarana.
- Hormone Management: One of the most common causes of weight loss challenges and frustrations is the hormones, or hormonal imbalance. Low levels hormones such as testosterone, DHEA, and leptin can cause weight gain, as can high levels of hormones such as insulin, estrogen, and cortisol.
- Appetite Suppressants: By curbing your appetite, these may help you eat less while also providing you with energy so you’re not feeling down. Plus, they may help boost metabolism and fat burning.
- Nutrient partitioning or blocker supplements: These are supposed to help support or manage certain nutrients and/or the influence body’s absorption or use of the nutrients. Examples include fat blockers and carb blockers.
Things You Should Know When Choosing an Over the Counter Weight Loss Supplement
1. Know your needs: Your product choice will be based on factors such as your habits, age, and lifestyle among other things. Working with a nutritionist or other knowledgeable healthcare professional is advisable.
2. Have realistic expectations: Weight loss supplements are not magic pills and cannot make up for bad choices or habits. Also, you won’t drop 10 pounds or two dress sizes in a matter of days (which would not be healthy anyway). Don’t buy into advertising hype.
3. Read product labels: The product label tells you what the is contained in the bottle or package. Ideally, you want to go for a product with natural ingredients. Check the amounts of ingredients too. If the amounts are not listed, do not buy. Make a habit of reading the label; this is extremely important.
4. Educate yourself: A little research goes a long way. Understanding more about herbs and supplements will help you find the right product(s). This is why we included causes of weight gain and types of supplements in this post. If you’re reading this, you’re on the right track.
5. Expensive is not always better: You want to avoid cheap products, as often they contain low quality ingredients or low amounts. All the same, the most expensive product is not always the best. Again, read the label.
6. Take your medications into account: If you’re on medications, you should consult your doctor before starting a supplement as some supplements can interact with or counteract medications.
7. Avoid ‘eat all you can’ products: Any supplement that promises that you can eat anything you want and still lose weight is perhaps best avoided.
8. How long does it take to work? If it promises to work within days, something is not right. If it takes months, chances are it doesn’t work but the company wants you to buy for a longer time before finally giving up. Look out for companies that auto-bill your credit card too.
There’s growing concern about supplements that contain illegal substances and even high-risk ingredients including drugs. These are usually not easy to spot as the substances are often not declared on the label. This is why a company’s reputation is important.
When you start on a weight loss supplement, pay close attention at how you feel. You may feel a mild buzz when you take a stimulant-based product. Also, some minor shaking is not uncommon. However, if you feel dizzy, fatigue, or your heart racing stop taking the product. Consulting your doctor before starting a supplement is recommended.
Next, check out recommended weight loss supplements from reputable companies now.