One of life's eternal frustrations is the ease at which you can put on weight but the uphill battle you face when trying to lose it. According to the NHS, weight gain occurs when you regularly eat more calories than you use through normal bodily functions and physical activity. This may seem self-explanatory but additional help may be required.
In addition to expending more calories than you take in, you may need to stimulate the release of stored fat.
Dietary supplements can aid this effort and one that has shown particular promise is forskolin.
Forskolin is an active compound found in the roots of the Indian coleus (Coleus forskohlii), a tropical plant related to mint.
Two studies hint at its promise in both reducing weight and preventing weight gain.
Research shows that testosterone can stimulate the release of fat from fat cells, which may partly explain the fat loss observed in the study.
A rise in testosterone can also promote an increase in muscle mass. In fact, there was a trend towards an increase in lean body mass in the forskolin group, but it was not statistically significant.
In the other study, 23 overweight women received the same dose of Coleus forskohlii (500 mg/day) for 12 weeks.
In contrast to the previous study, forskolin supplementation did not have any significant effects on fat loss, but the results suggested that forskolin may protect against weight gain.
General tips for losing weight
In addition to making healthy dietary decisions, exercise is integral to losing weight.
"This is because your body needs energy (calories) in order to move. So, as well as having a whole host of benefits for your health, exercise can help you to burn more calories," explains Bupa.
As a first step, think about reducing the time you spend being inactive - for instance, watching television, using a computer or playing video games, advises the health body.
Once you've started building up the amount of exercise you do, it says to aim for the following over the course of a week:At least 150 minutes (two and a half hours) of moderate-intensity exercise
ORAt least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity such as running
ORShorter durations of very vigorous-intensity activity such as sprinting
ORA combination of different intensity activities.
How do I know if I am overweight?
The most widely used method to check if you're a healthy weight is body mass index (BMI).
BMI is a measure of whether you're a healthy weight for your height.
According to the NHS, or most adults, a BMI of:18.5 to 24.9 means you're a healthy weight25 to 29.9 means you're overweight30 to 39.9 means you're obese40 or above means you're severely obese
"BMI is not used to diagnose obesity because people who are very muscular can have a high BMI without much fat," adds the health body.