Weight loss has become a national obsession in the United States where obesity is considered an epidemic. From the 1970s-1998, Fen-phen appeared to be the weight-loss answer for many. As a prescription diet pill that seemed like a wonder drug, it was taken by millions. However, it was eventually linked to widespread heart disease that, in some cases, resulted in fatalities. Class action lawsuits and a voluntary withdrawal from the marketplace at the request of the Food and Drug Administration put an end to the pill.
The mood of the American dieter seemed to change after the fen-phen scare. Natural weight loss plans of sensible diet and exercise were stressed once again. Some natural weight loss plans provide their own line of frozen foods, making meal planning easy and quick. The dieter joins a local chapter and loses weight with a group of people dedicated to the same goal. Dieters meet to weigh in, once a week in some cases, and eat the food offered by the diet plan.
This type of natural weight loss plan works very well for some people who enjoy the support of fellow-dieters and the ready-made meals that take the hassle out of counting calories. However, others don’t want to make time for meetings, and some find these programs pricey. Meals usually center around meat, fish or poultry, leaving vegetarians and vegans limited choices.
Other natural weight loss plans are available in books, such as no-carb diets, low-fat diets, or more exotic diets meant to drop a few pounds quickly. However, these fad diets do not address the real issue: Why are you gaining weight at all, and how do you maintain a desirable weight once you get to your goal?
While many people might not like the answer, it’s a simple one: The body only requires so many calories a day to operate, and any extra calories at the end of the day are turned into fat stores. Gender, height, build, age and degree of activity all affect how many calories a day one requires to maintain an ideal weight.
For example, an adult female 5’ 5” in height (1,651mm), with an average build and little activity, might only require 1,600 calories a day to maintain an ideal weight of about 132 pounds (~60 kilograms). Any calories consumed in a day that exceed 1,600 will be turned to fat. If the average intake is 1,850 calories per day, this adult will rack up an extra 7,500 calories per month. One pound (0.454 kg) of fat is made from 3,500 calories, so she will gain just over two pounds (0.9 kg) per month.
To lose weight, you have to burn more calories per day than you take in. If the hypothetical dieter counts her calories and limits herself to 1,200 calories per day, she will rack up a deficit equal to 12,000 calories per month, a weight loss of nearly 3.5 pounds (1.58 kg). Sticking to this plan, in one year she could lose 41 pounds (~18.6 kg). Once at the goal weight, she can bump her calories up to 1,600 per day to maintain the ideal weight of 132 pounds(~60 kg).
The real challenge of any natural weight loss plan is retraining ourselves to eat less, and when possible, exercise more. Exercising is healthy for the body and helps keep the metabolism operating at its optimum.
Some people are turning to natural weight loss products that contain herbs thought to be helpful with curbing appetite and cravings. Many of the most popular natural weight loss formulas contain plants and minerals that claim to suppress appetite and even reduce sugar cravings.
Garcinia cambogia and hoodia gordonii are two of the most popular plants for natural suppression of appetite. These are caffeine-free plants. Garcinia cambogia has limited scientific research, with animal models supporting its claims more so than the human studies do to date. Hoodia gordinii is a succulent of South Africa, used by centuries by the natives to suppress appetite and supply energy on long hunts. However, there is less research available on this plant. Nevertheless, some claim these herbs, along with willpower, help to sustain a natural weight loss plan that curbs appetite.
Other natural weight loss minerals and herbs include gymnema sylvestre and chromium, which purportedly help to lower blood sugar levels, and increase insulin sensitivity. This can theoretically reduce cravings for sugars and carbohydrates. Scientific research indicates that gymnema and chromium can be helpful to diabetics as well, but caution is required as they do lower blood sugar levels. People with blood sugar issues need to see a doctor before adding gymnema or chromium to the diet.
Natural weight loss plans that don’t rely on caffeine, drugs or fad diets, but build new habits and awareness are more likely to take dieters where they need to go, and keep them there over the long haul. Counting calories is not difficult and writing down everything you eat will help you keep track. If interested, investigate some of the natural weight loss products yourself to see what appeals to you.
Using a natural weight loss plan may take time to reach your goal – maybe even a year. But in just one year from now you can enjoy being healthy and trim! Aren’t you worth the effort now, for such a priceless payoff later?