Many of us have had the experience of having early success with a diet or exercise plan, but this does not necessarily translate into long term weight loss or health benefits. In fact, many dieters are subject to a syndrome that we commonly call 'yo-yo' dieting, in which the same ten, twenty or fifty pounds are gained and lost repeatedly. That's the problem, really, with 'going on' a diet - it assumes that at some point you will be 'going off' the diet, and if you haven't changed your diet and lifestyle in lasting ways, that's when the pounds will start to creep back. Weight loss guru, writer and counselor Geneen Roth admits that, in her dieting days, she 'gained and lost a thousand pounds' - not all at once, of course, but that's what it added up to over the years. The health consequences are more serious than 'just' obesity. Losing and gaining so much weight puts a real strain on your body, not to mention the psychological ramifications of such an ongoing issue.
Of course, the ideal is this: you embark on a weight loss program, but instead of seeing it as a temporary thing, you change your diet and eating habits in lasting ways. You also monitor your weight regularly, so that any small weight gain is dealt with promptly. You are healthier as well as thinner, and you keep the good habits you have picked up for the rest of your life.
That's the ideal - something we should all strive for. Of course, not all of us make it, and that's where various little 'helpers' come in. One of these is a supplement called linoleic acid. European studies show that a daily dose of 3.4 g of linoleic acid helps people maintain weight loss over time. In the study, conducted in Norway last year, 125 people were put on the supplement after having lost an average of nine per cent body fat the previous year. Most people who took the supplement, unlike the control group, sustained their body fat loss. Of course, less body fat and more muscle has some very significant benefits; basically, the more muscle you have on your body, the faster your metabolism. A person with more muscle will burn more calories even if he or she is just sitting still, because muscle burns calories and fat.
Linoleic acid is a safe, natural supplement. You can buy it at a health food or natural food store or pharmacy, or a naturopath can prescribe it for you. The taste may not be that great, to be sure, but there are easy ways around that - take it with fruit juice or yogurt, for example. Linoleic acid is available at a very affordable price, depending on the brand name. We have not noticed any significant differences between the various brands, though some naturopaths swear by a particular product or brand of supplement.
In a very real sense, there are no 'quick and easy' ways to effect weight loss. If you are overweight, you need to do the work involved to lose the weight, plain and simple. You need to eat less, and even more important, you need to exercise regularly. Linoleic acid, like any other supplement, will not actually make you lose weight if you are not doing anything else to effect that change. It would be appealing to think that it could, of course, but the fact is that it doesn't. Only your own hard work, exercise, and commitment to change - whatever it takes - will ensure your successful weight loss.
Once your weight loss is well established, however, there is certainly no harm in adding some supplementation to help you maintain it, especially if the supplement in question has been the subject of scientific studies that back up its efficacy, as linoleic acid has. So ask your natural health pharmacist or naturopath about this product to see if it can be effective for you. The precise way in which it works is not well known, but all the available evidence suggests that it does. If you have easy access to such a handy tool for sustained weight loss, why not give it a try?