Before we dive in, let’s quickly go over what a vitamin is.
Short for “vital amines” and discovered as important components of human health in the early 1900s, vitamins are essential for the proper function of the human body. They are organic substances, of no caloric value, that are needed in minuscule amounts for many bodily functions to operate as intended.
Though only a small amount of these vitamins is necessary, relative to other nutrients like fats, carbohydrates, and protein, they are not produced in sufficient quantity in the body to survive without an external source. They are, therefore, considered an essential nutrient and must be consumed in order to survive.
There are 13 vitamins essential to human life: A, the B complex, C, D, E, and K. They regulate organ function, metabolism, the immune system, and much much more.
What they do not do, however, is play a significant role in weight loss.
So then why is the title of this article “4 vitamins essential to weight loss!”?
It’s simple… I lied to you, and for that, I apologize. But I did it for your own good, I promise.
If you clicked on this article hoping to find some new secret to weight loss, or some magic pill that you can take once a day to melt the fat right off of your body… well then I have news for you: There is no such thing as a magic pill. There is no secret to weight loss. There is no “trick your Dr. doesn’t want you to know!”.
There are no shortcuts, but what there are a lot of, and I mean A LOT, of dishonest individuals out there who prey on the desperation of people who are struggling to be healthy. They market a “quick fix” solution for weight loss knowing full well that it is akin to snake oil and will not do you one bit of good, and knowing, also, that you will buy it anyway because… well, why not. What could it hurt?
I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met who, on the verge of tears, tell me that they are ready to give up on weight loss because “I’ve tried everything and nothing works!”. Then when I ask them what constitutes “everything” I’m given a list of fad diets, supplements, As Seen On TV gimmicks, and anything and everything else you can think of other than “diet and exercise”.
It’s time to stop falling for the click bait. It’s time to stop wasting time and money on quick fixes, magic, pills, super supplements, and the latest useless gadgets. It’s time to stop giving power to the scammers and snake oil salesmen who cast their nets out over the world wide web hoping to snare desperate suckers.
Don’t be a sucker. Don’t believe everything you read. Don’t buy anything or start anything without doing a little due diligence. If something sounds too good to be true… it probably is. Be your own advocate and take responsibility for your own health and wellbeing.
Weight loss is hard, there’s no denying it. If it was easy there would be no need for magic pills, and I would be out of a job. But it’s worth the struggle, believe me. Something that is hard won is always far more precious than something that came easy.
Since I feel bad for misleading you and because I want you to have all the tools you need to be successful I am going to give you MY version of 4 vitamins essential to weight loss.
Vitamin Aerobic exercise
Aerobic exercise or “cardio” is essential for a healthy heart and lungs, metabolism, and is a surefire way to take a bite out of your calorie budget for the day.
Anything that gets your heart rate up to a submaximal level and keeps it there for a sustained duration can technically be considered aerobic exercise. So don’t think that running is your only option.
You can run, bike, swim, hop on the Stairmaster, play tennis or racquetball, or anything else your heart desires as long as it elevates your heart rate and keeps it up for at least 30 minutes.
The minimum effective dose is about 30 minutes 2-3x/week.
Barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, bodyweight, or TRX… the equipment you choose doesn’t really matter, what matters is that you incorporate some resistance training into your routine.
Resistance training, done properly, will help you to build healthy joints, be strong and capable of the things you want to do in life, boost your resting metabolism, and undo some of the damage that being sedentary has done to you over the years.
I recommend avoiding the weight machines and opting instead for functional training methods that incorporate full body movements as the primary mode of exercise. Things like squats, lunges, deadlifts, push-ups, pull-ups, etc. etc. I could write an entire article on the importance of functional training… oh wait, I have.
Again there is a minimum effective dose. I recommend at least 30 minutes at least 3x/week. So for those keeping score with resistance exercise and aerobic exercise we are up to about 5 days/week.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: weight loss is 80% diet and only 20% (at the most) exercise.
If you want to lose fat you need to eat a healthy diet. I almost hesitate to use the word “diet” because it brings to mind, for many people, crash diets, fad diets, liquid diets, and detoxes, etc.
The issue with any and all of those types of “diet” is that they are, by their very nature, a temporary means to an end. Once you’ve lost the weight are you still going to do nothing but drink kale juice for the rest of your life, or are you going to start eating the same things that got you into trouble in the first place.
When I say diet I am talking about making a lifestyle change and overhauling the entire way that you eat. Permanently. Anything less will just have you back in the same boat in a year or two.
Start by tracking your calories and seeing exactly what you’re eating now. I recommend the MyFitnessPal app for this purpose, though a pen and paper works in a pinch. Then figure out what you need to change.
One word of caution: be very careful about taking dietary advice from anyone but a registered dietitian. Nutrition is incredibly complex and each individual will have very different needs than someone else. So what works wonders for your neighbor might not work for you or, worse, might actually do more harm than good. A good R.D will be able to help you sort through the myriad of misinformation and come up with a plan that actually works… for YOU. I know a great one if you need help
Sleep is an incredibly important and often overlooked component of weight loss.
Inadequate sleep can disrupt your metabolism, zap your energy levels and make it harder for you to exercise, prevent you from recovering between bouts of exercise and lead to injury, and much more.
Eating healthy and exercising are incredibly important, but without sleep, your body can’t fully benefit from either. So put down your phone, turn off the TV, and go to bed. Your body and your waistline will thank you.
If I tricked you into reading this with my intentionally misleading title, I apologize. I hope, however, that you kept an open mind and absorbed the message I’m trying to convey and that the next time you see a “too good to be true” article on weight loss you will hesitate and remember what I’ve said here today.
Weight loss is simple, though it’s anything but easy. If you need help, well that’s what I am here for, feel free to reach out. Otherwise, take my “vitamins” and call me in the morning.
Damon has been a personal trainer with American Family Fitness since 2014 and has trained a wide variety of clients: youth, seniors, athletes, general population, special populations, etc. He specializes in functional, movement based, training with the goal of restoring and/or improving movement patterns and the ability to carry out activities of daily life. He’s trained clients with adhesive capsulitis, diabetes mellitus, joint injuries, neck and spinal injuries, P.O.T.S., M.S., M.I, stroke, depression, anxiety, and more, with great results.
When not training, Damon is spending time with his wife and two boys ages 3 and 1. On his bucket list: thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, tour Scotland and lift the legendary stones of strength, write a book.