Fat burners and diet pills can be a useful addition to your weight loss plan. And yet, they create this divide in the health and fitness community, where there are vast numbers of people who swear by them, and an equally vast number who think they are a crock of sh!t.
There’s another group of people who use them, but use them wrongly, or in an unsuitable manner for their goals. These people might think the fat burners are useless when they get through a bottle after a month, and haven’t lost 50 pounds in the process.
Advertising and marketing methods used by the companies who manufacture these products don’t help matters. Hugely inflated claims of a diet pill’s ability to melt fat from you simply as you breathe are bound to set anything up for failure.
Diet pills and fat burners are supplements, not magic beans. Also, they won’t have much effect without the person using them putting in a lot of effort on their part.
Diet – Rest – Exercise – Supplements
It’s pretty confusing when people rage about a fat loss supplement doing nothing for them when they have done nothing to help themselves lose weight other than use one.
Diet and nutrition accounts for most of your weight loss results. Like 80%.
Exercise and sleep make up much of the rest, with supplements contributing to maybe 5%.
What a supplement can also do is provide some extra energy, a boost to mood, some direct thermogenesis and perhaps appetite control.
In an intangible way a diet pill can also help you keep to your weight loss goals simply by reminding you every day, every time you take it, of what you are trying to achieve.
No, they aren’t magic pills, but the few hundred extra calories they can burn a day might just tip you over the balance and into a calorie deficit…aka weight loss.
And that’s the whole point really:
Consume less calories than you burn and you are losing weight. If a product can help you with that, then dive in.
Keep Your Targets Within Reach
The human body is not capable of sustaining very rapid weight loss at the same time as retaining important lean muscle mass, and staying healthy and energized. Sooner or later, something will give.
So, even if a weight loss pill could help you lose 10 pounds a week, it wouldn’t be good for you.
For short periods, a rate of 3 or 4 pounds weight loss per week is possible, but it’s not sustainable long term.
Pro athletes can pull even bigger numbers if they are cutting for a competition with weight classes, but again, this is not sustainable, and happens under the supervision of experts.
The range to stay within is 1 to 3 pounds per week, with anything from 0 to 1 pound not being viewed as a failure. It’s still weight loss.
Losing weight too quickly will also mean you lose lean muscle, and could actually mean you are losing muscle and not fat, due to muscle’s usefulness as an energy source.
Keeping your targets small will also help. Saying “I need to lose 30 lbs” is likely to be a non-starter for dieting success because you are looking at the end goal as one step.
Instead, losing 5 pounds is a much more reasonable and achievable target in the short term. And it sets you up for success.
Stick To Dosages on Product Labels
Sometimes in our reviews, we’ll say something like: “…this product contains an ineffective dose of such and such ingredient…”
That doesn’t mean you should take more pills of that supplement. It’s more likely to mean don’t buy that supplement.
You should always stick to the dosages set out on the label of the fat burner or diet pill. In fact, you can under-dose for a few days or even a couple of weeks to get used to the ingredients.
Basically, taking more than advised will not mean you lose more weight necessarily, but it could mean you are risking side effects.
Stimulants – The Right and the Wrong Way
Stimulants, like caffeine, are definitely a case of “less is more”.
You might think the 5th cup of coffee a day will help kick you awake for a bit longer, but if you do that often enough, you will grow tolerant of caffeine and lose the benefits: alertness, cognitive function, euphoria, energy, and yes, fat burning.
Stimulants are good at burning fat, but they only really work on someone who is “caffeine naive”, meaning, someone who does not use it habitually, and that has a sensitivity to it.
So if you drink 4 cups of coffee a day, don’t expect that adding a stimulant fat burner to the mix will do anything more for you, in terms of energy or weight loss.
The best way to use a stimulant is to cycle it. Generally speaking, a heavy coffee drinker can taper their use of it over a two week period until their tolerance level is effectively reset.
Once tolerance is reset, the stimulant will have the same effect it did the first time you had it. It can continue to have some benefits – including thermogenic fat loss – over an 8 to 12 week cycle, during which it is advised to stay away from other sources of caffeine that are not the supplement itself.
This way, the supplement has maximum effect.
If you want the experience of drinking coffee and getting the buzz we all know and love, then take the fat burner while you drink some decaf.
Stimulants have their place, but overdoing them can leave you washed out at best and at worst, dizzy, headachy and sick.
Used properly they are a valuable asset.
Again, to reiterate: follow the dosage guidelines on all supplements, especially those with stimulants in them.