There’s seems to be a plethora of diet pills – pills for just about anyone, encompassing all body types and weight loss goals. It’s easy to be lured into trying a new diet pill out of promises of quick and lasting successes and slimmer waistlines. But taking diets pills without some guidelines can be costly, both in terms of money and your health.
To help you navigate the maze of choices and increase your chances of success and remaining safe, follow this expert advice.
Your body does not want to lose weight. Instead it wants to retain and store calories. Dieting and diet pills are working against what your body wants. This is why they often fail.
But the 250:250 weight loss rule will help you create a daily calorie deficit by eating less and burning more without initiating counter mechanisms. After a few weeks, you’ll be ready to start your diet pill and really lose some weight.
Here’s how it works:
- Eat 250 fewer calories. For example, cut your bread servings in half.
- Burn 250 additional calories. For example, 45 minutes on an elliptical machine.
- This creates a daily 500 calorie deficit so you burn more calories than you eat.
- Follow this approach seven days a week for a 3,500 weekly calorie deficit, that’s one pound of weight loss.
After one month, your body is prepared for more intense weight loss, which might include a diet pill.
Thermogenesis is a safe way to raise metabolism without stimulating your brain or your heart. It’s a process that produces cellular energy in the form of heat, which can be triggered by the mitochondrial uncoupling protein-1.
Japanese scientists in 2005 published in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications their discovery of a plant extract called fucoxanthin that activates uncoupling protein-1. Activating this protein signals fatty acids to generate energy rather than remain stored as body fat.
Derived from a species of Japanese brown seaweed, fucoxanthin provides a unique solution for safely boosting cellular metabolism. Unlike many "fat burners" that stimulate the central nervous system to promote weight loss, fucoxanthin works directly in fat cells.
Researchers also submitted a 16-week study to the Journal of Clinical Nutrition. They placed 110 obese women on 1,800 calories a day and gave them either 200mg of fucoxanthin mixed with pomegranate seed oil or a placebo. The results showed an average weight loss of fourteen pounds for the fucoxanthin group versus three pounds for the placebo group.
Some other options for non-stimulating metabolic boosters include, green tea, sesamin, and red acid gen2. Green tea is a low level stimulant, although it rarely increases heart rate and is known to increase thermogenesis and energy use in your body, while also raising antioxidant levels in the blood. Sesamin increases the oxidation of fat. Red acid gen2 promotes fat-loss and raises your energy levels and metabolism.
The best way to keep the weight off is to tone and build muscle. Nothing will support a youthful metabolism better. Muscle is very metabolically active and will gobble up excess calories before they can be stored as fat.
So early on, start designing an exercise program that targets your major muscle groups. You should try to exercise each major muscle group two or three days a week using a variety of exercises and equipment. Very light or light intensity is best for older people or previously sedentary adults who are just starting to exercise.
Resistance exercises use relatively light weights and a high number of repetitions. For instance, twenty repetitions in three sets is a great way to improve muscle tone and endurance. Adults should typically wait at least 48 hours between resistance training sessions to rest and recover.
Yo-yo dieting is a common experience. You know the story. You start dieting, take a diet pill, lose some weight, and then gain it all back. A few months later, you try again. This is yo-yo dieting. By the way, it’s not healthy. Studies show that cycling weight in this manner may increase your risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Poor compliance to the guidelines given to you by your doctor, or as directed by the particular diet pill is one of the reasons for yo-yo dieting. But there’s another reason for it – glycerol 3 phosphate dehydrogenase, or G3PD. This enzyme converts blood glucose into fat. When you eat fewer calories through dieting, your body activates G3PD and converts more sugar into fat.
It doesn’t matter what pill or diet you’re on. Less food means more fat through the actions of G3PD. In order to lose weight and keep it off, you should try to inhibit this enzyme. African mango extract, 150 to 300 mg a day, has been shown to inhibit G3PD.
There are too many choices out there for you to go at it alone. Establish a relationship with a weight loss coach or doctor who can help guide you through the maze of information and diet pills currently flooding the market. An expert should be able to identify a few diet pills for you – pills with science behind them and ones most appropriate for your goals.
Avoid pills that increase your heart rate, blood pressure and stimulate your brain. Many of the so called “metabolic boosters” do exactly these things - raise your metabolism by stimulating your central nervous system and cardiovascular system. However, this can have unwanted effects.
Take for instance, guarana. It’s a large plant from the maple family. It contains caffeine like compounds called theine and mateine. Although it’s generally recognized as safe, guarana can make some people feel anxious and may cause heart palpitations and insomnia.
There are safer and even more effective pills for raising your metabolism. Try conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA represents a group of healthy fats found primarily in meat and dairy products. According to research published in the journal Diabetes, CLA most likely raises metabolism by activating programed death of fat cells, preventing fat cell development and reducing accumulation of fat inside adipose tissue.
In studies that support the use of CLA, the amount of CLA used varies from 2 to 12 grams per day. The journal Nutrition in 2000 published a study using 3.4 g CLA per day for 12 weeks. This dose significantly raised metabolism and reduced body fat in overweight and obese participants. You’ll probably benefit from 2-4 grams a day.
You can’t just pop a diet pill and expect to lose weight. If the pill you want to take has research results supporting it, then you’ll need to copy what they did in the study – if you expect to experience the same results.
For example, if the study participants who took the pill also ate 1800 calories and jogged for 20 minutes every day, then you need to do the same thing. Doing anything less will not produce the same results.
Headlines are written by marketing and advertising experts, not scientists. Their goal is to “sensationalize” their results and add urgency to the story. So don’t believe them. Be smart and look up the study (if there is one) that supports their product.
If there is no research to be found, then the claims they make are probably anecdotal – an historical account of the effectiveness of that particular diet pill. In cases like this, the hype is worse and serves as a red flag, signaling you to find a different pill.
There are diet pills with published results from well-controlled studies. You just have to spend the time doing some research to find them.
Compliance is your key to success. On and off pill popping leads to on and off weight loss – or what is called yo-yo dieting. Take your diet pill as suggested each and every day. Skipping a day may allow for your body to counteract some of your weight loss by activating built in starvation-prevention mechanisms. So stick with your diet and pill with razor sharp focus and determination.
First off, it takes time to lose weight. You’re essentially reprogramming your body to burn calories instead of storing them. So stick with your plan and be patient. Far too often dieters give up on their diet plan and pills right before experiencing significant weight loss. It’s disheartening to speak with people who are trying so hard to lose weight only to hear about them giving up right when real, lasting success was in reach.
How long should you continue with your diet pill before giving up? It is recommended that you need to give any diet pill at least six months before stopping. You definitely don’t want to stop until you’ve completed the amount of time used to study the pill in question.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to use diet pills to help you lose weight. You just need to make sure those diet pills are backed up by research done by professionals so that you know the pills can be beneficial to achieving your weight loss goals. Do your research and if you are hesitant about using a certain weight loss supplement, consult with an experience doctor or weight loss coach to help you make the decision on whether or not to use it.
More expert advice about Weight Loss and Supplements
Photo Credits: Lose weight now by Flickr: Alan Cleaver; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas - Fotolia.com