Weight loss aids come in many forms. The healthiest ones don’t come in the form of a pill or tablet. Everyone would love a magic pill that melts the fat off effortlessly, but you know that doesn’t really exist. Let me show you some natural foods that may help you reach your weight loss goals without damaging your health.
Diet Pills and Herbal Aids
First, let’s talk about why prescription drugs and herbal concoctions shouldn’t be your first choice when looking for something to help you lose weight.
I believe in losing weight the healthiest way possible, which is mostly through proper diet and exercise. Taking a prescription or over-the-counter drug is probably the furthest thing from that mindset. Diet drugs have a long list of uncomfortable side affects and can be dangerous. Remember Fen-phen?
Some herbal weight loss products can have dangerous side effects also. Ephedra (also known as ma huang) was used in many herbal weight loss aids until the FDA banned its use because of adverse side effects, including heart attack and death. Other herbs such as Bitter Orange are used today in it’s place, but may be just as dangerous.
I don’t want to dwell on all the unhealthy ways to aid your weight loss goals. Whether it’s drugs or herbal compounds, the product’s promise is usually either to suppress your hunger pangs or keep fat from being digested.
The latter is ridiculous in my opinion. First of all, it presupposes that eating fat makes you fat. It doesn’t!
Eating low-quality, highly refined fats (typically found in deep-fried foods) can make you fat. But unrefined, high-quality fats (like organic coconut oil) can actually help you lose weight. You don’t need to block fat, just eat the right kinds.
As far as controlling hunger goes, instead of taking a pill to keep hunger away, try these tips:
- Eat small healthy meals throughout the day (up to 5 or 6), instead of the typical 3 large meals a day. This way, you’re never very far from your next meal. If you know that you can eat in one hour, it makes it easier to ignore any hunger pangs.
- Include a “cheat” day in your diet plan. If you’re dieting on your own or if your diet program includes one, take advantage of a cheat day or at least a cheat meal, where you can eat anything you want. If you really crave that slice of chocolate cake, just think “I’ll have that on my cheat day!”
- Use an accountability system. Make a deal with a friend or family member. Have them ask you on a daily basis if you stayed on your diet that day. Agree to pay them $10 (or whatever amount you agree on) if you cheated. Your slimming wallet will help you keep slim by thinking twice about going off your diet!
Healthy Weight Loss Aids
Here are some natural and healthy weight loss aids that are low-cost and you can start using them today:
- Cinnamon is a delicious addition to many foods. It can reduce the glycemic index of a meal as much as 29% and make you feel fuller. Use Saigon cinnamon if you can find it. Use up to a teaspoon and half per day. More than that can have some unwanted side-affects. I often put some on beans or squash to add flavor.
- Stevia is a natural sweetener that doesn’t produce the insulin response of sugar. It won’t help you lose weight by itself, but allows you to sweeten foods without the added calories. You can find it at Trader Joe’s and other health food stores.
- Green and Oolong Teas both have properties that help to burn fat and slow the digestion of carbohydrates. Black and White teas may share some of the same properties. You can brew your own at home or if you’re on the go a lot, pick up a cup at your nearest Starbucks. If you need to sweeten it, I suggest using Stevia.
- Cayenne Pepper is often listed as a dieting aid, but the active ingredient “capsaicin” is found in any hot sauce. It helps the body burn calories and stabilize blood-sugar levels. So if you don’t mind spicy food, add a little cayenne pepper or hot sauce to your meals.
- Coconut Oil is one saturated fat that is actually good for you. Studies have shown that it helps to reduce belly fat and actually lowers the bad cholesterol while increasing the good. I use it for almost all my cooking needs. Just be sure to look for “organic virgin” on the label.
- Cold Showers are a good way to boost your metabolism and help burn calories. When your body is exposed to cold, it has to burn calories to maintain a normal temperature. Personally, I hate the cold, but I find that I can handle a 10 minute cold shower or a short walk in cold weather and it actually gives me more energy throughout the day.
- Adequate Sleep is very important for losing weight. Most people need 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. If you don’t get enough sleep, you tend to eat more out of hunger and your body craves more high-carb, sugary foods.
So there you have some natural and healthy weight loss aids to help you with your diet. Instead of reaching for a bottle of pills on the store shelf, reach into your cupboard for some helpful ingredients and look for ways to modify your lifestyle for better fat loss.