By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD
Q: I go to the gym a lot and in the past instructors and nutritionists have recommended I try supplements aimed at mobilising fat to help me lose weight faster. I don’t want to do anything harmful to my body though or use them, only to regain all the weight when I stop taking them. What are your thoughts?
A: To start with, it sounds as though the nutritionists you’ve met in the past may not be qualified to a high level. You’d rarely find a registered dietitian recommending unprescribed slimming supplements. For more information about both prescribed and over-the-counter slimming pills, see WLR’s feature on slimming pills. You’ll see from this that there’s little proof that over-the-counter pills actually work – any weight loss that occurs is often due to a placebo effect or the low-calorie diet that comes with the pills. You’re also right to be concerned about the effect they can have on your health. Depending on the ingredients used, some pills could put your health at risk if you have an underlying medical condition. It’s also worth bearing in mind that they’re extremely expensive with the result that you can be sure you’ll lose pounds – but probably not the right sort!
In order to mobilise your fat stores, I suggest you stick with the only tried and trusted slimming method – and that, of course, combines reducing your calorie intake moderately with keeping up the good work at the gym. Although it’s tempting to lose weight quickly, you should never aim to shift more than 2lb a week. It doesn’t sound much, but that adds up to more than a stone in just two months – and you can be sure that you’ll be more likely to keep it off.
Using the food diary and tools in WLR can help you lose weight without pills, and can provide the low calorie, low fat diet that most slimming pill manufacturers recommend. We'd advise keeping a food diary for a couple of weeks before making a decision about pills - many people find that just making a few, relatively minor, changes to their eating habits sets them on the path to sustainable weight loss. You can use the WLR food diary Free for 24 hours.