Just One More “Magic Pill”?
Recently I have had a number of women asking my advice in regards to the use of Garcinia Cambogia both in its pure form, or as an added supplement in some new “weight loss” product. This rising interest has been in response to the amazing reviews and recommendations of you guessed it, Dr. Oz.
I had not read much about the supplement so I really just shrugged and didn’t give much of an opinion on the subject. Well, after hearing more about it and realizing that seems to be just another in a long line of “magic pills” being sold to people who are desperate for something, anything, to make weight loss “easy” I finally have an opinion. I don't recommend it.
I hear all the time that losing weight is hard. Monitoring what I eat is hard. Working out is hard. Everyone wants something that makes it easy to lose the excess pounds, look and feel good, and just be healthy.
But it is not easy to be healthy if you load your body up with unhealthy things and refuse to do the things that are good for it.
Even if you do eat healthy and exercise regularly it still is not easy to overcome unhealthy temptations all of the time. It is hard. Life is hard. Our society has taught us to demand easy. It sells easy and it profits on convincing you that it can make your life easy.
We look for things to be more convenient, gratification to be instant, and our wants to be met now.
But easy is not always better. The demand for “easy” has gotten us fast food, packaged meals, microwaves, processed junk with longer shelf lives than the human body, and a long list of health problems.
Along with many of these conveniences meant to make our lives easier have come an increase in illness and diseases such as Cancer, Obesity, Heart Disease, Food Allergies, etc, etc, etc. I for one think that taking a few hours out of my week to shut off the TV, get my butt out of the recliner, and prepare whole, healthy, homemade foods for my family is much easier than having to live with any of the above illnesses.
Am I saying that Garcinia Cambogia is going to cause some kind of disease or illness if you take it? Not necessarily, but at this time there are no long-term studies that prove otherwise either. What I am saying is that easy isn’t always better and in general, when talking about weight loss, the “easy” solution usually is not what is seems.
Here is one review written by Registered Dietitian, Kristin Wiens who shares my opinion. Her review evaluated the effects found in some of the studies done on Garcinia. She found in her research that “…there is still little evidence to support the potential effectiveness and long-term benefits of G. cambogia extracts.” You can read her full review here. Though she is not my personal physician, I trust her credibility at least as much as Dr. Oz’s.
Eventually we must come to terms with the fact that if we want to be healthier, feel better, look better, and maintain a healthier weight, then we must actually make healthier changes in regards to our lifestyle choices. There is not a “magic pill” that can undo all the damage we have done to our bodies over many years of poor choices. Only methodic and consistent change of poor habits into better ones combined with time for proper healing can do that.
The only definitive way to lose weight in a healthy, sustainable way is to make healthy lifestyle changes to our diets and preferably to include regular exercise into our lives. These are the things our bodies need to be healthier and to perform better; not some “magic pill.”
Based on the reviews and comments that I read of people who have used Garcinia Cambogia, it seems that it diminishes appetite. This would indicate to me that it is not some mysterious trait of the Garcinia that is causing the weight loss but rather the decrease in calories consumed.
This is not surprising since the only way to effect weight loss or gain is based simply on calories in vs. calories out (in normal, healthy individuals, pending the lack of any extreme medical conditions that may or may not effect metabolic processes).
If you eat more calories than your body needs to function throughout the course of your day, than the excess calories will be stored as body fat. Inversely, if you eat less calories than your body needs to function throughout the day, than your body will compensate for that deficit by pulling its needs from another source of energy, most likely, your own stored body fat, which results in weight loss.
Therefore, if you want to lose weight in a healthy way that will actually allow you to keep it off on a long term basis, then you need to look at what you are eating and drinking and make changes there. If you feel like your metabolism needs a boost, create a new metabolic environment. You can do this by changing up the way you eat and the way you exercise. Here are some ways to boost your metabolism, fire up your energy, and burn more fat:
- Increase the intensity or frequency of your workouts and incorporate strength training into your routine. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, strength training will not only help to rev up your metabolism but will help you to lose even more fat. When you are burning more calories through exercise you are able to eat more calories to fuel your workouts.
- Drink more water. Most American adults do not get sufficient amounts of water through the course of their day. Drinking enough water helps curb cravings as feelings of thirst are often mistaken for hunger. Getting enough water also helps your body digest food better, flushes out toxins, clears up your skin and just makes your body and it organs perform better overall.
- Cut out things like too much added sugar and processed foods from your diet and watch your weight drop and your energy soar. These foods often have lots of calories hidden in small serving sizes leaving you feeling hungry shortly after eating them even though your calorie intake is already sufficient. This means that as you eat more foods to satisfy your hunger, you are putting yourself into a state of excess which if not counteracted through exercise to burn off those calories, will lead to more fat storage.
If you hear about a program that helps you lose weight by teaching you how to eat right and incorporate exercise into your everyday schedule it is probably safe to check out. But do make sure that you consult your physician first as you should each time you decide to implement a new diet or exercise program.
If something tells you that it will cause you to lose weight and that you won’t even have to change your eating habits or exercise at all it is most likely at the very least a complete sham and at the most, dangerous to your health and you should avoid it at all costs.
If it says that it encourages weight loss when combined with a regular diet and exercise program, than my recommendation is to try out the diet and exercise plan and skip out on the (insert name of weight loss assistance device or pill here); chances are you will see as good of results without it as you will with it. In conclusion, if something is being touted as a "magic pill" it probably will magically make money disappear from your wallet and magically reappear in the hands of the person selling it, and not do a whole lot to your overall weight or health.