One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in recent years is the thickening of my mid-section. Although I’ve never really been a big fan of a traditional six-pack (traditional Okinawan karate’s custom believes the hara, or the source of life, is in the midsection), I’m also not a big fan of having a hanging gut. Most people tend to forget that insulin is a hormone and can cause weight gain depending on its use. And given that I’ve reached my 40’s, my metabolism is no longer what it used to be.
Most of the time, and as I’ve written before, fad diets and gimmicks are usually useless. There is generally only one true, effective way to lose weight and burn fat and that’s to burn more calories than you consume. The prospect of reducing your food consumption or filling up on foods that are low in calories, such as lean meats and vegetables, are obvious ways to accomplish that goal when combined with rigorous exercise performed several times a week.
That fact doesn’t prevent some people from trying their best with things that they believe will help them along on their weight-loss journey. I’m saddened to admit that even I gave it the old college try, back in 2015. Despite how hard and how often I was working out, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and look into a supplement that I was told was “guaranteed” to help trim stomach fat. I’m talking about Conjugated Linoleic Acid, or CLA.
CLA is a fatty acid that can be found naturally in a number of foods, but it is not an “essential” fatty acid. This means that you don’t necessarily need it in order to be healthy. We consume CLA through these natural sources, but many people use an artificial CLA supplement in order to help shed some weight. For the most part, the jury is out and although it shows SOME potential towards shedding weight, it’s negligible.
According to an article posted by Healthline.ca, there have been numerous studies performed in relation to CLA and weight loss. The results usually showed only a minimal loss of fat compared to those who were given a placebo. The article talks about a matter of half a pound per month. For those who are a bit weaker in math, this means that consistent use of CLA supplements over a full year would see you lose no more than about six pounds.
The article actually offers a sadder total, estimating that long-term use of CLA over the course of six to twelve months only reduced body fat by 2.93 pounds. That’s pretty pathetic, when compared to the cost of paying for the supplements, coupled with some of the negative side effects that one will likely develop from its use. You can click on Healthline’s link above to read about some of those, but wouldn’t it be easier to simply exercise more?
I was living proof of these studies when I used CLA supplements for the better part of a year. My muscle mass increased with all the exercising I was doing but in terms of body fat, there were no results. Plus, I had dished out a bunch of money on buying the supplements when I could have been using that added money on lean meats. I love lean meats. And fish… Damn, I’m getting hungry now…
Just to give you a bit of an idea behind the financial toll this attempt took on me, I would purchase a 60-capsule bottle at about $25. I won’t make myself civilly actionable by naming the retail chain I purchased the capsules from, but the dosage is 3 to 5 capsules a day. So at the lowest dosage, I would need another bottle roughly every three weeks. This means that over the course of a year, I paid $450 for those supplements. At the highest dosage, I would need to replace the bottle every two weeks, meaning I would have paid $650 over the course of a year. Thank the light I only stuck to the lowest dose…
There are no easy shortcuts to weight loss. No magic pill or secret formula you can consume will make the fat magically melt off your gut. This is one of those things in life where you need to put the time and the work in. Despite the fact I should have known better, I had to learn it the hard way. And sometimes it needs to be that way, but I’m hoping that my post will help some understand.
Eat well, rest well and exercise well and you can be assured that weight loss will happen in its own time. And remember that every person and every person’s metabolism is different, and what works for one person may not work for you. Hopefully you won’t waste a bunch of money figuring that out. But if you are thinking of trying out a new supplement, be sure to consult your medical practitioner and do your research. ☯