Women shouldn't pit themselves against men when it comes to losing weight. If you're a woman, you would've heard by now that the difference in the physiological makeup of men and women makes weight loss a slower process for the latter.
But gender is just one part of what may be your greatest personal challenge, whether you're losing weight for a special occasion or for a health issue.
Factors That Affect Your Weight Loss Goals
Gender plays a big role in terms of the rate at which you're able to lose weight because women normally have a higher fat-to-muscle ratio than men. Women generally burn 5% to 10% fewer calories at rest compared to men. Male participants in the 2018 Preview Project who were placed on an 800-calorie diet lost 16% more weight compared to women. However, the study didn't cover how men and women differ in terms of maintaining weight loss.
The heavier you are, the more pounds you are likely to lose, but the lighter person is likely to lose the same percentage, although lower in terms of the number of pounds, according to a study.
You lose weight when you're able to consistently consume fewer calories than you burn. Hence, the more calories you consume, the more weight you’re likely to lose.
Muscle mass decreases and fat mass increases as we age. The number of calories your body needs to maintain normal body functions, such as pumping blood and breathing, goes down 20% to 25% as you enter your 70s.
Although an often overlooked factor, inadequate sleep can jeopardize your weight loss plan as you actually burn calories while sleeping. The amount of calories you burn while you're asleep is proportional to your body mass.
Medical conditions and medications
Health conditions such as hypothyroidism cause your thyroid gland to produce fewer metabolism-regulating hormones, slowing down your weight loss. Meanwhile, certain medicines, particularly antidepressants, can promote weight gain.
Family history and genes
You may be predisposed to being obese or overweight due to your genes or heredity.
Going through the gain-lose-gain merry-go-round isn’t only bad for your weight loss plan but also puts you at risk of heart disease.
How Much Body Fat Should You Have?
Although body fat has its own function in regulating your body temperature, secreting certain hormones, protecting your organs, and cushioning your joints, too much of it isn't a good thing.
The ideal body fat of an average fit woman is 25% to 31%, according to The American Council on Exercise. Your ideal body fat also depends on your age: 21% to 32% for women aged 20 to 39, 23% to 33% for ladies aged 40 to 59, and 24% to 35% for those aged 60 to 79.
Common Weight-Loss Strategies
Losing weight and losing fat aren’t one and the same. The weighing scale may show that you're shedding off several pounds, but you may be losing water and muscle. You must be able to lose fat while gaining muscle, a process that will only come gradually by doing the following:
1. Exercise to lose fat
Resistance training will burn more calories and reduce fat weight. Besides lifting weights, resistance training includes exercises using elastic bands and bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, squats, and crunches.
Cardio or aerobic exercise should be paired with resistance training to effectively lose body fat and increase muscle mass.
If you exercise regularly at a moderate intensity, you may want to try including HIIT in your weekly routine. HIIT involves short vigorous exercises that make your heart rate speed up (as high as 80% of its maximum heart rate) alternated with low-intensity recovery periods that are repeated throughout your workout, which usually runs for only 10 to 30 minutes.
2. Eat food that will lower your body fat percentage.
The effectivity of your training will depend on where your energy comes from, which of course will be based on what you feed your body. You'd, therefore, want to use a calorie counting app to ensure that the foods you choose to eat will not raise your calories.
Health specialists advise a high-protein diet of dairy, eggs, seafood, meat, and legumes for people losing weight to increase your feeling of fullness and fat burning. A moderate amount of healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut oil, or olive oil can also enhance satiety as they take longer to digest.
High-fiber fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are also good for weight reduction according to research because they move through your digestive system slowly, making you feel full longer as well.
Meanwhile, probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, tempeh, and kimchi are healthy for your digestive health as these bacteria in your gut harvest fewer calories from the food you take.
Moreover, remember to incorporate enough iron in your diet so your thyroid gland can produce enough thyroid hormones for your metabolism to work efficiently. Fortified grains and cereals, dried fruits, beans, and leafy green vegetables are some sources of iron.
3. Take healthy drinks.
Go for water, green tea, and other calorie-free beverages. Limit your intake of alcohol, soda, and so-called fruit juices as they have high sugar levels.
4. Sleep well.
Different hormones can act up when you only sleep for a few hours. Cortisol, ghrelin, and leptin are produced in higher amounts, activating your appetite and making you crave comfort food or junk food. Fats also end up being stored in your body when you don't get enough sleep because your body's sensitivity to insulin, which changes starches, sugar, and other food to energy, is reduced when you sleep for only a few hours.
5. Try intermittent fasting.
This type of fasting has become popular because it doesn't require preparing food in a certain way, plus you get to choose when to eat less during the day.
You can either consume 25% of your normal daily calories on alternate days during the week or for two days in a row. In time-restricted feeding, you’re only allowed all the calories you need for the day within an eight to 10-hour window (say 11 am-7 pm).
Do Fat Burning Supplements Help?
Fat burners are supplements that are made up of a combination of ingredients that reduce your body's fat absorption and increase your fat oxidation during exercise.
They can speed up your metabolism, which in turn stimulates the release of neurotransmitters that push stored fatty acids to be released and used as energy.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH), provides a list of common ingredients found in weight-loss dietary supplements and reports of safety concerns for each.
An agency of the US Department of Health, the NIH has particularly declared ephedra, a plant native to China, as a banned substance due to its adverse side effects.
Caffeine is the main natural ingredient in the majority of fat burners. It increases your metabolism and helps the body use fat for fuel, thereby making you lose weight. They help break down fatty acids in your abdominal area. The fatty acids enter the bloodstream when they are broken down and are then burned up by your body to create energy.
If you're trying to avoid caffeine or limiting your caffeine intake, choose a fat burner that's caffeine-free or has a low caffeine dosage.
Other natural food and supplements that can help you burn more fat include:
- Green tea extract
- Protein powder
- Soluble fiber
Types of Fat Burners
The functions of fat burners vary depending on their product type. They are generally classified into:
- Thermogenic fat burners
Thermogenic supplements are designed to increase your internal body temperature, which leads to an increase in your basal metabolic rate, or the calories you need to burn for basic body functions such as breathing, blood circulation, and cell repair. This allows you to burn more calories and fat even while at rest. The most common ingredient for this type is caffeine.
- Stimulant-free fat burners
Stimulant-free products are best for individuals who are sensitive to caffeine and other stimulant ingredients. Fucoxanthin, which can be found in brown seaweed and other marine-based sources, is a common ingredient for this type of fat burner. They can induce fat loss and the proliferation of fat cells.
- Appetite suppressants
Suppressants mainly balance your levels of leptin and ghrelin, which control your appetite.
- Carb blockers
These fat burners restrain the enzymes that digest carbohydrates so that the nutrients are able to pass through your system without raising your total calories.
- Fat blockers
Like carb blockers, fat blockers hinder the absorption and digestion of the fats that you consume so that they don't add up to your body fat.
- Thyroid regulating fat blockers
These aim to rebalance the chemicals that are normally produced by your thyroid and try to correct problems that come with a slow metabolism.
- Cortisol blockers
These prevent cortisol, an enzyme produced by your body when under stress, from turning the food you eat into fat.
Our Top Picks
The following are some of the top fat burning supplements available today:
1. Premium Women's Fat Burner by Nobi Nutrition
This thermogenic fat burner from Nobi Nutrition is also a carb blocker with a beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) formula that is designed to suppress appetite for speedier weight loss.
BHB is one of the two primary ketone bodies or "ketones" produced during ketosis, or when your body produces a high number of ketones, and uses them for energy instead of glucose, which comes from carbohydrates.
Its formulation doesn't contain genetically modified organisms. The recommended intake is twice daily, one to two hours before a meal or as advised by your doctor.
This supplement mainly contains green tea extract for increased metabolism, cayenne pepper seeds for fat oxidation, and glucomannan, a soluble fiber from the root of the konjac plant, which reduces food cravings.
Created primarily for mixed martial arts fighters, Instant Knockout also contains caffeine anhydrous; vitamin B6, which helps with amino acid absorption and muscle buildup; vitamin B12, which helps break down fatty acids and improves digestion; chromium, which helps control insulin, or the hormone that controls how you store carbs in your body besides reducing appetite; zinc, which helps your body process fat, carbohydrates, and protein; piperine, which restrains fat cell accumulation and elevates energy metabolism; and green or unroasted coffee beans, which slow the rate of fat absorption from food.
The recommended intake is four times daily: after waking up in the morning, before lunchtime, in the afternoon, and before dinner.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar Weight Loss Pills by Zeal Naturals
Zeal Naturals' Fat Burner contains mainly four ingredients: apple cider vinegar, which lowers blood sugar levels and boosts metabolism; garcinia cambogia, which blocks fat production and suppresses appetite; conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) safflower oil, which prevents unhealthy fat production; and green coffee bean, which also suppresses appetite, burns fat, and acts as a clean source of energy.
It's gluten-free and compatible for those on a keto or paleo diet.
The recommended dosage is three times a day.
4. Wellbeing Formula Fat Burner for Women by Wellbeing Formula
The supplement is a vegan thermogenic fat burner that contains mainly five natural ingredients: raspberry ketones, which can break down fat within cells and contains the hormone adiponectin, which helps regulate metabolism; garcinia cambogia; green tea extract; green coffee beans; and caffeine anhydrous.
The appetite suppressant has no preservatives, food dyes, or artificial fillers. It's GMO-free and certified for good manufacturing practice.
The recommended dose for this product is one capsule daily.
5. Premium Night Time Fat Burner by Nobi Nutrition
Another product from Nobi Nutrition, this thermogenic fat burner is designed to suppress appetite and improve sleeping through its combination of ingredients, which include white kidney bean extract powder, green coffee bean, L-theanine, L-tryptophan, valerian root extract, lemon balm extract, passionflower extract, and melatonin. L-theanine, L-tryptophan, and melatonin will all help improve sleep quality without forming addictions to the supplement.
The GMO-free supplement contains vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol, which helps kidneys recycle phosphate back into the blood. This helps your blood stay slightly alkaline, which is its normal pH or level of acidity.
You can take one capsule after your last meal.
6. Hydroxycut Max! for Women by Hydroxycut
This fat burner's Max! Blend has caffeine anhydrous, mango, kiwi, and avocado oil. It also contains 100% of the recommended daily intake of the B vitamin biotin for healthy hair, nails, and skin. The supplement also has iron, folic acid, argan oil, collagen, and silicon—nutrients that women value for their positive effects on the skin, cellular functioning, strong bones, blood pressure reading, and an overall boost in energy.
Two rapid-release liquid capsules are recommended daily.
Hydroxycut also has a free downloadable app that has a meal-planning guide, exercise plans, daily supplement, and water intake monitor, as well as a section on tips regarding recipes, nutrition, and other fitness advice.
7. Premium Women's Vegan Fat Burner by Nobi Nutrition
Like the first Nobi Nutrition product on this list, this fat burner is also thermogenic. Instead of the BHB formulation, this supplement contains the following natural products: raspberry ketones and African mango, which can curb hunger and regulate metabolism; apple cider vinegar, which relieves bloating and offers gentle cleansing; grape seed oil, which supports healthy blood sugar and healthy cells; green tea extract, which boosts thermogenesis; and caffeine, which boosts energy and performance.
It also claims to be a good fat-burning support for those who are on a low-carbohydrate diet. The recommended daily intake for this GMO-free supplement is two capsules daily, an hour or two before meals or according to your doctor's advice.
8. Skinny Gal Thermogenic by Rockstar
A product of Rockstar Sports Nutrition, Skinny Gal diet pills are thermogenic vegan pills. They contain garcinia, African mango, CLA from safflower oil, white kidney beans, caffeine anhydrous, green coffee, raspberry ketones, apple cider vinegar, cayenne pepper, hoodia, 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), turmeric, guarana seed, rhodiola root, and L-arginine HCL.
L-arginine and 5-HTP are both amino acids. The former regulates appetite, while the latter aids in the body's protein buildup, which in turn is useful for rebuilding tissue and building muscle.
The recommended dosage is one capsule a day.
9. Slimvance Core Slimming Complex by BodyDynamix
BodyDynamix's Slimvance supplement is stimulant-free. It mainly contains moringa oleifera and murraya koenigii leaf extracts and curcuma longa root extract.
The product has no gluten, wheat, corn, soy, and dairy. It also doesn't contain any starch, sugar, sodium, and artificial flavors.
The recommended dose is two capsules a day, 30 minutes before breakfast and dinner.
Slimvance was found to reduce the weight as well as the waistline and hipline of 140 overweight individuals who joined a clinical study involving the pill, which was included in a 1,800-calorie diet and walking plan.
10. Burn XT Thermogenic Fat Burner by Jacked Factory
A product of Jacked Factory, this thermogenic fat burner contains caffeine anhydrous, green tea leaf extract, acetyl-L-carnitine, BioPerine black pepper fruit extract, and Capsimax cayenne pepper fruit extract. Acetyl-L-carnitine HCL helps your body to metabolize fat. Capsimax promotes the mobilization of fat to be used for energy, while BioPerine enhances the absorption of other ingredients in this supplement.
The recommended intake is once daily for three days to first assess your body's tolerance to the pill. Acetyl-L-carnitine HCL can cause headaches, stomach problems, and nausea. If you don't experience any adverse effects, you can take two capsules a day before or with meals. It shouldn't be taken within four hours before bedtime.
Are Fat Loss Supplements Approved by the FDA?
Weight loss products, like other dietary supplements, aren’t classified as drugs by the Food and Drug Administration. The agency doesn’t require pre-market review or approval for supplements. However, the agency may take regulatory action and order a product to be recalled or removed from the market if it is deemed unsafe, such as in the case of ephedra.
Prescription Drugs for Obese, Overweight
In some cases, doctors would recommend medication for people who are overweight or obese, particularly if their body mass index is 30 and higher or 27 and higher and they have weight-related health issues such as type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
Orlistat, Lorcaserin, Phentermine-topiramate, Naltrexone-bupropion, and Liraglutide are among the medications that are approved by the FDA for overweight and obesity treatment.
Will Fat Burners Make You Feel Warm?
Fat burning supplements won't make you feel warm, but they promote faster metabolism, potentially making you sweat when you take them. Fat burners with caffeine have a diuretic effect, so taking them may cause you to use the restroom more often.
Stay hydrated by drinking at least three to four quarts of water a day. Increase your water intake if you work out in a warm environment.
Can I Take Fat Burners during Meals?
To make the most of your fat burner, take a thermogenic or stimulant fat burner when you need the most energy and at the same time want to control your appetite. So that would be just right after waking up and 30 minutes before a meal so you feel more satiated. You can also take the supplements in between meals so you have enough energy to carry you through.
Don’t take more than the recommended dosage. Just select the time of the day when it will help you the most.
Losing one to three pounds per week or about one percent of your body weight will give you a good chance of keeping at your weight loss program for the long haul, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It's natural to lose more weight during some weeks and less at other times. Weigh yourself weekly and keep a diary of the food you eat so you can monitor yourself and stay on track.
Doctors encourage weight losers to "cycle" their fat burners because their effects can slow down as your body gets used to the supplements. Take them for two to four weeks, then give yourself a two to four-week break before restarting so you can renew your body's sensitivity to the supplements.
It's also important not to lose too much weight too soon to avoid risks of dehydration, gallstones, and malnutrition. You may also experience the following due to rapid weight loss: muscle loss, fatigue, irritability, headaches, constipation, hair loss, and menstrual irregularities.