A week or so ago, I was in the check-out line at the supermarket and saw a blurb on the cover of a magazine. The headline read: "Breakthrough! FAT LOSS VITAMIN!", and the text beneath it said, "95% of us don't get enough. Safely boost your intake and:Lose 5 lbs a week! Burn 30% more fat every day!"
The magazine was Woman's World.
Being in the business of health, fitness, diet and weight loss, this claim intrigued me so I threw a copy of the magazine in the buggy, and read the article when I got home.
Very briefly, here's what the article had to say: Most people don't get enough Vitamin C, and Vitamin C can help your body burn more fat.
Now, this was interesting, and since I believe most people don't get the nutrients they need, I was willing to go along with the idea of increasing your normal intake of Vitamin C, either by increasing the amount of things such as orange juice, which is good for you anyway and it contains a lot of Vitamin C, or by use of Vitamin C supplements.
The information in the article made sense, and, when I did a little independent online investigation, I found that apparently the article was reasonably accurate. I don't have a particular problem with the information in this article, and agree that increasing Vitamin C could help someone lose weight.
This brings us to the slightly exaggerated title of this article.
Everyday, it seems we are bombarded with all these claims about weight loss, fat loss, diets and health. One person says their pill will deal with cortisol, which is the cause of weight gain. Another says their diet will "melt" the fat. Someone else wants to hypnotize you, and that will do the trick. The covers of many other magazines at the checkout on the day I bought my magazine had different tips, hints, diets, and weight loss solutions.
All these people can't be telling the truth, can they?
Is weight gain the result of cortisol, poor diet, lack of exercise, not enough Vitamin C, lack of sleep, stress, too much beer, or just bad genes?
Actually, the answer to both questions is, "Yes...sort of..."
The actual biological process by which people get fat is known. The solution is also known, and it doesn't have much to do with Vitamin C, cortisol, genes, or a lot of other things...directly.
A runner who wishes to run faster gets there by training at running and trying to run faster. However, that runner can also strengthen his or her legs by using weight training. They can improve their performance, or perhaps reach their goal faster, by eating a certain type of diet...maybe even making changes in that diet at different points of their training or competition schedule. If stress is inhibiting their performance, learning to meditate might help them put that stress behind them or at least relieve it enough so that their times improve. If their home life or work schedule is such that it interferes with their training, rest, or nutrition schedules, then making a change in those areas may improve their athletic performance.
Even so, the main thing in their running training is...running! Everything else just helps with the speed of development or the amount of progress that is ultimately made.
The same thing applies to most weight loss situations and so-called solutions. Increasing physical activity and eating reasonably are the two major things that bring about healthy, permanent weight loss. If, in your exercise program, you choose to supplement with Vitamin C, or get more sleep, or take something which reduces the effects of cortisol, or quit your job because it interferes with your weight loss program, then you will probably enhance the results. You will lose more weight over time, lose the weight a bit faster, or just find the whole process easier. However, the major portion of the weight loss (and improved health and enjoyment of life), comes from the basics of exercise and nutrition.
So what about the people who DID lose weight by breathing properly, or taking Vitamin C, or adding Chocolate to their diet?
People are all different, and so are the facts and factors of their lifestyles, education, upbringing, and genetic makeup. Someone who is one dress size bigger than she wants to be may get all the weight loss she needs from increasing HER Vitamin C intake. That does NOT mean that every woman will experience the SAME results. Another woman may need to lose a lot more than one dress size, and taking Vitamin C, while it might help her shed a few pounds and be more healthy overall, will probably NOT produce anywhere near the total results she hopes to achieve. If, however, she IS doing the right things to bring about weight loss, adding the Vitamin C may speed the process a bit and help get her to her goal a little faster,
Just as in the title of this article, the key word in all these claims is "help" whether it is stated or merely implied. True healthy, permanent weight loss will be the result of a combination of activity and nutrition. All the other things, which may certainly be of value, are just helping.