Hugo Luna, General Manager, Rick & Ann's GNC Stores
Officially, it's not really summer until June 21, the summer solstice, but most of us kick it off unofficially with the Memorial Day weekend.
This is the time of year when a lot of people are working to get themselves into shape for summer clothes and swimwear.
We see it in our stores — a big jump in people who stop in and ask questions about weight management supplements, about what they can do to make their weight control efforts a little bit easier.
So let me talk a bit about that.
Why am I putting on weight?
When I was a teenager, weight control wasn’t a big deal for me. Like a lot of teens, I was really active, burning calories like crazy. But in addition to that, I had a teenager’s biological advantages: a high metabolic rate, a higher proportion of calorie-burning lean body mass, and a body that was still growing.
When I got into my twenties and started working, my activity level declined, and, at the same time, biology turned against me. I was no longer growing (except a bit around the waist) and my body mass wasn’t quite as lean as before.
I quickly learned that weight control was no longer automatic. I needed to put some effort into it.
What are the keys to weight management?
There are a lot of things that go into how our bodies put on weight. We’re all dealt a genetic hand that establishes something of a baseline for us — some of us (not me) are naturally thin, others are built a bit bigger. But that’s just a starting point. We can each work with the hand we’re dealt and make the most of it.
At the most simplistic level, your weight is determined by a simple calculation: calories taken in minus calories burned. It’s a bit more complicated than that, but for us laypeople, that’s good enough.
So how do we go about making that formula work for us?
How can I reduce my caloric intake?
Some people obsessively count (and drastically cut) their calories. I don’t think that’s a workable long-term solution. It’s too hard and it requires too much attention; it just can’t be sustained over months and years.
Here are four things I recommend instead:
Adjust your diet. First, adjust your diet to reduce your intake of heavily processed, sugary foods. Stick to whole grains and foods without added sugar. Eat lots of vegetables. You’ll find that your tastes adapt to that style of eating, and you’ll naturally reduce both your overall caloric intake and your body’s extraction of calories from the food you eat.
Use a carb blocker. Second, you can get some help in reducing the calories extracted from the food you eat by using a carb-blocking supplement. A lot of your weight gain comes from carbs (especially processed carbs) that quickly get digested into sugars and then turned into fat. Carb blockers inhibit that process, preventing the ‘sugar spike’ that plays a big role in fat generation. We have several good carb-blockers in the store. I’d especially recommend these: NDS Nutrition™ Keto-Max® Advanced 3-in-1 GNC Herbal Plus® Cinnamon & Chromium
Use a meal replacement. Sometimes it’s hard to get the kind of healthy meal that I mention above, especially if you need to grab something quickly. It’s way too easy to pick up a burger and fries at a drive-through. For that situation, I keep some meal replacements on hand all the time. These drinks and bars are formulated to give me exactly what I need — the protein, carbs, vitamins and minerals for a healthy meal — while controlling the calorie count. We carry a lot of meal replacement products in our stores, and they have different formulations for different purposes (some of them are even aimed at people who want to add some pounds), so check with our staff to get something that meets your needs. If you’re looking to maintain or lose weight, I especially like these meal replacement products: Lean Shake 25 Amplify XL Premium Protein Prolific Isolate
Use an appetite suppressant. When you’re trying to reduce your caloric intake, your stomach often complains about the change. You feel hungry, and you either cheat on your diet or feel miserable because your mind keeps focusing on food. Appetite suppressants can really help you with that. Some of them contain dietary fiber that expands in your stomach, making you feel full. Others work by affecting certain hormones and neurotransmitters in the body to help you feel full and satisfied with smaller amounts of food. Either type can help you successfully cut back on your calories. Here are a couple of products I recommend: Appetrex Control Slimify Advanced
How can I burn more calories?
OK, that’s half the equation: Take in fewer calories. Now let’s look at the second half: How do I burn off more calories.
Get more active. Nothing burns calories better than exercise. When you spend too much time sitting at a desk in the office or sitting on the couch binging on ‘Succession’, you’re not burning a lot of calories. Getting active doesn’t have to mean training for a marathon or spending an hour doing weight-training at the gym. You can take walks. You can use the stairs instead of the elevator. You can spend time standing instead of sitting. The important thing is to make a habit of it.
Use a fat burner or metabolism booster. Another way to burn calories is through a fat-burner or metabolism-booster supplement. These supplements can be a bit technical to describe, but I’ll try to simplify. It works like this: Even when you’re sitting on the couch or asleep in bed, your body is burning off a certain minimum level of calories. That’s your body’s natural, base metabolic rate. These supplements aim to increase that base rate, either by slightly raising your core body temperature or by promoting the burning of fat. Either way, they can eat up some additional calories, even when you’re not active. Here are a couple that I recommend: Omega Cuts Elite Advanced Intensity Black Arsenal X Inferno
And one more step...
If you follow the steps above, you're well on your way to healthy management of your weight. But there is one more thing you should do, not just for weight management, but also for overall health: Keep your digestive system healthy.
'Gut health' is what ties it all together -- keeping your system cleaned out on a daily basis -- and we have multiple products to help you with that. Here are three that I recommend:
The bottom line: manage the formula!
So here’s the bottom line: The key to weight management is managing that formula — calories in minus calories burned.
If you’re setting out to get your weight where you want it, we can help. Come into the store and talk to us to figure out what will work best for you.
A reminder: Our products are not intended to replace a balanced diet and a healthy exercise routine. They are meant to be used to supplement your healthy diet, not to replace it. And whenever you start a new diet or exercise program, it's a good idea to consult with your doctor.