To lose weight there are many considerations in addition to reducing calorie expenditure. Healthy lifestyle changes such as balanced healthy diet and living a physically active life help in achieving gradual and steady weight loss. However, lifestyle changes take longer persistent efforts to show results, so some natural supplements can serve as helpful adjuncts to achieve weight-loss goals and keeping weight off over the long term.
Adopting healthy diet, mindful eating habits and regular physical activity help in achieving a safe and steady weight loss of around 1 to 2 pounds per week. Besides, improving health these lifestyle changes help in improving energy levels, physical mobility, general mood, and self-confidence.
Whole plant foods (whole grains, lentils, beans, peas, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds) help in achieving weight loss goal by providing loads of fiber to keep you full for longer, reduce hunger pangs and cravings.
- Eat whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, pasta, brown rice and oatmeal.
- Choose lean plant protein from beans (pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, split peas, and lentils), nuts and seeds
- Add lots of variety in your diet by eating different: fruits (fresh, frozen, canned, or dried) and vegetables (greens, dark leafy greens and orange)
- Use nuts and seeds to get healthy fat
Eating habits such as munching while on the run, checking out phone, sitting in front of the screen; eating too fast; skipping meals; and emotional and social eating when you are not hungry, can lead to weight gain. Cultivating mindful eating habits help in building a healthy relationship with the food i.e. you enjoy the smell, flavour, taste and texture of your food fully; as a result you get satisfied with eating less and improve the digestion of your food.
Regular Physical Activity
For weight loss, you need to lead an active lifestyle with healthy diet and eating habits. Regular moderate intensity exercises (brisk walking, biking, swimming) for 30-45 minutes and weight training for atleast three times a week help with weight loss. Also, look for opportunities to include more physical activity in your everyday life for e.g. choose to walk instead of taking your car for short distances, take stairs rather than elevator wherever you can, to lose weight and keep it off.
Dietary supplements for Weight Loss
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA): Research suggest that the derivative of linoleic acid i.e. CLA may enhance weight loss by assisting in fat burning and reducing body fat mass in obese people. CLA supplementation have synergistic effect on overall body composition with increased physical activity, as the free fatty acids in your blood provided by CLA is used as fuel and help in burning more fat while exercising. CLA is often found well tolerated with minor side effects like gastrointestinal disturbances. Though caution must be taken as CLA might decrease high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and increase insulin resistance in obese people with metabolic syndrome.
Garcinia cambogia (Hydroxycitric Acid): The pulp and rind of garcinia cambogia fruit contain high amounts of hydroxycitric acid (HCA). HCA is believed to reduce weight gain by inhibiting fat production, boosting fat burning and regulating appetite. It is generally safe with mild side effects like headache, nausea and gastrointestinal symptoms. Garcinia cambogia may help in lowering insulin levels and improving cholesterol levels but it shouldn’t be used with prescription medicine to control blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Green tea (Camellia sinensis): It is high in antioxidant polyphenols that have thermogenic properties, which help in boosting metabolism and promote fat oxidation. These effects are especially important for maintaining weight loss as they counteract the decrease in metabolic rate that can occur during weight loss. Research suggests that epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) polyphenol in green tea may help in preventing metabolic syndrome by decreasing fat absorption and reducing hunger and cravings. Consumption of green tea doesn’t have any adverse effects but it is advised to take green tea extracts with food (not empty stomach) to minimize the possible risk of liver damage.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega 3 supplements may help in weight loss by increasing metabolism and switching on enzymes that trigger fat-burning in cells. They also play a role in suppressing appetite and reduce emotional eating. In a study, when omega 3 supplement was combined with a calorie-counted diet and increased exercise, the effects on weight loss was substantial. Omega-3s also help in better management of health problems associated with obesity by reducing blood pressure, cholesterol and inflammation; and improving glucose sensitivity.
Vitamin D: Low levels of vitamin D may lead to rise in parathyroid hormone (PTH), which triggers fat cells to convert sugar into fat and hoard fat rather than release it to be burned. Therefore, when vitamin D supplementation was done in obese people with vitamin D deficiency, it aided weight loss and enhanced the beneficial effects of a reduced-calorie diet. Vitamin D also ensures proper functioning of leptin that helps in regulating hunger and appetite.
Vitamin B: This is a group of vitamins that are essential for digestion, metabolism and energy production. These vitamins help in weight loss by ensuring that the calories from food are used efficiently to provide energy and not stored as fat. A B-complex supplement can help in weight loss by controlling fat metabolism and glucose tolerance.
Chromium: This essential trace mineral is required for proper metabolism of food inside your body, as it helps in breakdown of fats and carbohydrates. Chromium also enhances insulin’s action in the body, which helps in energy production while controlling blood sugar and fat deposits.
Magnesium: This mineral aid in weight loss by activating enzymes that control digestion, absorption and utilization of food. Magnesium also helps in the chemical reaction that allows insulin to usher glucose into cells, where glucose is involved in making energy rather than get stored as fat and contributes to obesity.
Zinc and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) are other natural supplements that help in weight loss. Zinc is required for appetite control and curbs cravings, while CoQ10 improves metabolism and energy production that help in losing weight and keeping it off.