Most supplements are formulated with harmful stimulants that artificially speed up metabolism and/or suppress appetite. In the long term, they can do more harm than good.
Fat Burning Supplements 101
How do I know if my fat burner is working? First, let’s look at how fat burners are supposed to work.
A fat burner is known as a thermogenic supplement. Basically, that means that the supplement generates heat. Specifically, as your body burns calories, it produces heat. So, a fat burner effectively speeds up your metabolism so it burns more calories and generates heat.
However, most thermogenic supplements burn too few calories to lose any significant weight. Most studies conclude that every milligram of caffeine burns .1 calories every 24 hours. Thus, a fat burner with 100mg of caffeine only burns 10 calories.
Of course, other ingredients may burn more calories. For instance, Green Tea Extract contains both caffeine and ECCG. The ECCG slows the breakdown of adrenaline. Thus, it enhances the effects of the caffeine. Unfortunately, studies show that even Green Tea Extract has a negligible impact on weight loss.
However, thermogenic supplements formulated with several fat burning ingredients produce better results. Unfortunately, no fat burning supplement alone can generate long-term, sustained weight loss.
Beware of Fat Burners Making False Claims and Marketing Hype
Whether talking about the latest fad diet like Keto or a new fat burner, beware of false claims. No diet or fat burner can reliably predict how much weight you lose in a specific period of time. So claims like “Lose 25 pounds in the next 60 days” are 100% false.
No diet, weight loss supplement, or exercise program alone will solve the problem. It took years to put on the extra pounds and it will take time to safely lose them.
In fact, research consistently reveals that losing 1-2 pounds per week is considered safe and realistic. Any diet, fat burner, or exercise program advertising greater weight loss is either lying or advocating unhealthy practices. If you have any doubts, always consult with your physician before starting any new diet or using any weight loss supplement. They will tell you what is both reasonable and attainable plus be able to help you select the best path forward.
Leptin Resistance And It’s Impact on Weight Loss
Leptin, a metabolic hormone, controls your metabolism. Specifically, leptin impacts weight loss in several ways:
- Controls and Triggers Cravings
- Determines How Much We Need To Eat to Feel Satiated or Full
- Regulates Metabolism and How Fast Body Burns Calories at Rest
- Determines if New Food is Stored as Fat or Burned for Energy
When we eat, leptin levels increase and signal the brain that it’s full and to stop eating. When we don’t eat, leptin levels get low and signals the brain to tell your body it’s hungry and consume calories. At least, this is how leptin is supposed to work.
Unfortunately, virtually everyone who has any significant belly fat has developed a condition known as “leptin resistance”. Basically, this occurs when your brain can no longer detect leptin. Thus, the brain thinks you are starving. This causes cravings to intensify and you need to eat more to feel satiated. Plus, your brain also slows down your metabolism to conserve energy.
If you have developed leptin resistance, no diet, fat burner, or exercise program will work. Yes, you may lose weight initially. But between the intense cravings, large portion sizes, and slow metabolism: You are essentially doomed to fail.
How Do I Know if My Fat Burner is Working?
Fat burners will work even if you have leptin resistance. Unfortunately, the results will invariably plateau. No fat burning supplement alone can fully overcome leptin resistance. Until the condition is reversed, long-term weight loss will remain out of reach.
For a fat burner to work and be effective, it must help rebalance leptin and reverse leptin resistance. While there are fat burners on the market formulated to address leptin resistance, they alone are not enough.
To burn fat and keep it off when leptin resistance is a factor, you need a 3-pronged approach.
Switch to High Protein Diet
Winning the battle against leptin resistance is impossible without making changes to your diet. Remember, the brain thinks you’re starving. That means cravings, extra calories, and more stored fat.
Protein naturally suppresses appetite. Plus, protein requires more energy to digest and thus increases metabolism rate. Studies show that a high protein diet naturally reduces caloric intake by more than 400 calories. Plus, ingesting fewer calories lowers leptin levels. Yes, you will still be fighting leptin resistance but fewer calories gets you closer to reversing the condition. Lastly, the intense cravings causes by leptin resistance are negated by a high protein diet.
Ideally, you want to get 25-30% of total calories from protein. Even switching to a high protein dinner consistently helps reverse leptin resistance, lowers caloric intake, and burns fat.
How do I know if my fat burner is working? Your caloric intake gradually reduces while cravings disappear. A high protein diet or even adding in high protein meals greatly accelerates the rebalancing of leptin.
Add In Anaerobic Exercise to Your Weekly Routine
Lean muscle mass burns more calories at rest than fat. Weight lifting helps build lean muscle mass thus increasing your metabolism rate. This is vital to reversing leptin resistance.
You need not live in the gym or buy expensive exercise equipment. A simple set of dumbbells works just fine. Simply work out for 20-25 minutes 3 X’s a week and you’ll quickly add lean muscle mass.
Aerobic exercise like walking, jogging, or swimming also helps reverse leptin resistance. Plus, they help burn fat and calories with minimal effort.
Remember: Reversing leptin resistance requires using several strategies simultaneously for a sustained period of time. Otherwise, you will not reverse the condition and all of your weight loss efforts are doomed to fail.
Use Fat Burning Supplements that Rebalance Metabolic Hormones
Without a diet supplement to help rebalance your metabolic hormones, reversing leptin resistance could take up to 6 months. However, with the right supplement, you can reverse the condition in a few weeks.
How do I know if my fat burning supplement is working and rebalancing leptin?
You will see the following changes when the fat burner is working and rebalancing leptin:
- Cravings Gradually Reduce and Eventually Disappear
- Portion Sizes Decrease as You Need to Eat Less to Feel Satiated (because your brain is detecting leptin again)
- Energy Levels Increase Along with Activity Levels
- Fat Burning Accelerates and Pounds Start Dropping Off Easier and Easier
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Realistic Expectations For Long-Term Weight Loss
Even taking the best fat burner on the market, your weight won’t necessarily drop in the first few weeks. In fact, you may add water weight in the initial transition phase. Now, fat will be burned and this can be measured with a fat caliper. But, the scale may still say you aren’t losing weight or are possibly gaining weight.
That’s ok and it’s part of the process of reversing leptin resistance.
Also, your cravings may intensify in this initial phase. However, switching to at least one high protein meal per day will neutralize any increase in cravings.
The bad news is that it can take 2-6 weeks to fully rebalance leptin and the weight loss starts to accelerate. A high protein diet, anaerobic exercise, and some degree of aerobic exercise greatly speed up the process and help you burn a lot more fat.
Now here is the hard part: You have to make long-term changes to both diet and lifestyle. However, you don’t have to give up all the foods you love or starve yourself. In fact, unrealistic demands like giving up all the foods you love or starving yourself are why most diets fail.
The truth is harsh, but here it is: We become addicted to food. Consuming the foods we love stimulates the release of dopamine and makes us feel good. To completely deny all satisfaction derived from food ensures failure.
Instead, you want to aim for the 80/20 Rule. That is, eat the foods you love 20% of the time, or 1 in 6 meals. The other 80% of the time, eat high protein meals and avoid processed foods, especially refined sugar.
How do I know if my fat burner is working? It’s simple: You can eat the foods you love 20% of the time and still consistently lose about 2 pounds per week. No calorie counting or starving yourself is needed. The right fat burner will help reverse leptin resistance so you naturally consume fewer calories while burning more.
It’s a process. It requires sacrifice and making long-term, but realistic, changes to diet and lifestyle.
Mike Dorfman is BS in Biochemistry from the University of Colorado. Mike’s has worked as a personal trainer for Gold’s Gym and helped many clients achieve their weight-loss and fitness goals.
To health first, weight-loss second. Mike and Tetrogen are here to help you make the transition to the healthier, happier, and thinner you!
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