The health and wellness market is flooded with vitamins and supplements which are – for the most part – of very little use to your overall wellbeing. In fact, taken in large enough doses alongside a relatively healthy diet, supplements such as vitamin A can actually have a negative impact on your health. Some supplements can have side effects like suppressing your appetite or increasing it, which could have a direct impact on your weight, but in general most of these supplements are extremely expensive and for the most part, about as useful as a placebo.
The ugly truth
Unfortunately, there is never going to be a one-size-fits-all shortcut to good health and fitness. Most supplements designed for weight loss tend to market themselves as being all natural – meaning that they have no side effects. They may well boost your metabolism, but at what cost? They might reduce your appetite, but how? You might not experience side effects in the short term, but long term use and reliance on these supplements could result in a whole host of side effects. I took a supplement when I was 16, to try to reduce my appetite. I took it for two weeks, and found that it was reducing my appetite fairly well. One afternoon, I had a fluttering feeling in my chest, and thought nothing of it. The next afternoon, I had the same feeling, and then I dropped to the floor in the middle of art class. I was out for two minutes, and spent the rest of the afternoon in a wheelchair, because I didn’t have the strength to stand. I threw the supplements out the same day and haven’t used any since. These were supplements from a reputable retailer: not an online store, and they are probably some of the safest you can buy. But that doesn’t mean they’re safe.
Doctors, nutritionists and health experts alike will all generally advise against the use of health supplements for women. It seems like not a week goes by without news of a woman or girl trying to lose weight passing out or dying of heart failure, simply from becoming addicted to supplements. Not only that, but reliance on supplements to control weight and to maintain your figure can lead to problems with body image and issues such as body dysmorphia. Plus, as soon as you stop taking the supplement, your appetite and your eating habits will return to “normal”, which may well lead to a change in your weight or health.
An all-natural approach to health and fitness is always the safest way to look and feel the way you want to, but it’s important to always keep moderation in mind. Eat too little and your body won’t have the nutrients and energy it needs to get through the day, let alone to exercise. Your body may even hang onto everything you put into it, especially if you’re eating far too little.
The only supplement you need is a balanced diet, regular exercise, if you can manage it, or yoga. It’s important to try to develop a balanced mind alongside your diet – be sensitive to your mind and body and treat yourself in the same way that you’d treat a friend, with kindness. Look into foods that nourish your body, that will improve your skin, that will give you an extra boost of brain power, and that will give your metabolism an extra bit of oomph and you’ll never have to take a supplement again.
A big part of maintaining good health is maintaining a positive and happy state of mind. Multiple studies show that stress can cause us to retain fat, particularly around the stomach, even with a healthy diet and exercise. If you’re stressed, try anti-stress exercises such as meditation and deep breathing and make sure you get plenty of sleep. See your doctor if you think you need extra help. Remember, nature provides some of the best supplements – you don’t need to use anything else.