Weighing Supplements

If you have been in health and fitness for any amount of time, I have sure you have come across about 100,000 solicitations to buy supplements. They promise to help you lose weight, help you gain weight, help you gain muscle, and there may even be some to help you crawl up the wall like spider man.

It’s mind-boggling.

Seriously, there are probably 2K or more different protein powders, and they are all promised to do something different.

How do you weigh your options, or even know what’s necessary (or not)?

Well I am here to give you my best advice, as a mom who doesn’t have a ton of money, doesn’t have a ton of time, and is (in general) weary of the supplement industry and its false promises.



Meal Replacements

My first bit of advice, especially if you are just starting out, is to stay away from meal replacement drinks, processed meals, and the like.  They may seem easy, but what they are doing is bring you further away from your goals.

This is especially true when weight loss is the goal – whether you have 5 lbs or 300 lbs to lose.

It’s important that you learn how to eat.  Because eating is what we do.  It’s how we sustain ourselves.  Everything about our society is eating.  You have to learn how your body responds to food, you have to learn about portion size, and you have to learn about meal timing.  This is an extremely important point that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Are you an overeater?

You have to do the hard work.  It’s the only way it works.

Plus, our bodies are smart – very smart.  It learns very well and adapts to what you are doing.  If you actually lose weight on meal replacements, it won’t be forever.  Your body will learn to save energy to compensate for the loss of food, and you will stop losing weight.

Then what do you do, if you are not learning about food and how to eat?  How do you adjust?

Unfortunately, people don’t and often give up.

And that’s sad.

I get it.  You are a mama who wants to work from home and sells meal replacement shakes.  I’m all about entrepreneurship, But just know, that for people who are just interested in losing weight, you are hurting more than you are helping.


Everything else

There is a lotion and potion for everything.  People will even sell you saran wrap, so you can tone up and lose weight, without changing your lifestyle.

Bad news, you have to change your lifestyle.

Good news is, you don’t have to spend $300 bucks a month to do it!

You don’t have to spend any money, in fact.

When I started, I bought a 30-minute DVD.  I didn’t do protein powders or anything.  I watched my portions, made better food choices, lost weight and thrived.  You really don’t need anything.



Your diet is key.  It’s 90% of your success or failure.  I don’t care what supplements you buy, there is absolutely no supplement for a bad diet.  If your diet sucks, you can spend $1K a month in supplements and get nowhere (except maybe to the poor house).

My advice to you would be to learn how to eat on a whole foods diet.  Get your macros in order, hit your macros everyday with healthy nutritious foods, and lose weight with control.

Boring, right?

You wanna do it, that’s how it’s done.



What I use and why

Eventually, you are going to want to try some supplements, because there are some that will help you along the way.  It’s not a bad thing.

I use particular supplements and I have specific reasons why I use them.

BCAA – BCAA stands for Branched Chain Amino Acids.  Amino Acids are the building blocks of protein/muscle.  There are “non-essential” and “essential” amino acids.  “Non-essential” amino acids, our bodies make.  “Essential amino acids, we get through our diet.  Our bodies need BCAA’s to sustain us, but you don’t need to get them through a supplement.  We get what we need through our diets.

BCAA supplements provide us with Valine, isolucine and leucine – all of which you can get from a diet rich in lean protein (eggs, chicken, etc).

So why the BCAA supplement?

Now, if you work out, the BCAA supplement is useful, because it helps reduce muscle soreness (aids in recovery) – which is really important if you have to go to the gym and do it again the next day.  The supplement also helps preserve lean muscle mass.

But if you are not trying to build or sustain muscle, this is a supplement that you can skip.

I consume my BCAA’s usually at night, a few hours after my post-workout meal – sometime before dinner.  It’s been shown that BCAA’s when taken in a feasted state (as opposed to fasted), actually help to preserve lean muscle.

So I have chosen to take a BCAA supplement – one serving a day.  I also take one serving on rest days to aid in recovery.


Protein powder – There are a lot of powders on the market.  Some are made of different forms of whey, some are casein, some are non-dairy based like brown rice or pea.  But they all provide BCAA’s and protein for your body and muscles.

What’s the difference?

Whey is fast absorbing and is better as a post-workout meal – as the protein will get to your muscles quickly.

casein is a slower digesting protein – and will keep your fuller longer than whey.  This protein is often taken at night.

Brown rice and pea are vegan options and for people who are sensitive to whey.

Do you need a protein powder?  No.  Definitely not.

Actually, I find more satisfaction eating my calories rather than drinking them – and I honestly have zero problems meeting my protein numbers.

Why do I use protein powders?

Because they are good, and a bit sweet.  I use them with 10-15 almonds as an option for dessert.  I enjoy them as a dessert shake.


Creatine – Creatine, the most extensively studied supplement, helps with pump.  You exercise, you want to take creatine.  It’s so cheap and tasteless.  You put a scoop or two into your water/Gatorade/Powerade, BCAA’s or whatever.  It draws water into your muscles, and helps you to push more weight – very important if you want to gain lean muscle mass or get stronger.

Does it make you gain weight?  Initially, yes, because it pulls water into your muscles.  It’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to do.

I take it every day (rest or training) faithfully.  I have gotten stronger and built more lean muscle because of it.

For training, it’s essential.


Multivitamin – Micronutrients are just as important as macronutrients.  A good multivitamin is essential.  It takes care of those deficiencies in the diet – especially during our times of caloric restriction.

You need to take your multivitamin when you have eaten. Some components need fats to aid in optimal absorption.  So I take my multi right after my post-workout meal.  My stomach isn’t too full, and I have an easier time swallowing.

Personally speaking, taking it after dinner is hard.  I have a hard time swallowing when I am full.


My aim with this post was to make your choices easy.  You don’t need a lot, and if you aren’t training, with goals of building or maintaining lean muscle, maybe you don’t need anything.


What supplements do you find useful?


About Lisa

Hey! Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm Lisa - a homeschool mom of 3 (2 boys and 1 girl). I care about the strength of the family in America, and often blog about babies/kids, natural parenting, homeschool, and marriage. Before you leave, please sign up for my monthly newsletter (on the top right). If you do, you will be well rewarded with notification of all giveaways and sales - which will not be announced on the blog. Google+ Profile


  1. Wow !! What an inspiration, you are Lisa. I wish I had half the strength and energy, you have.
    Much love from Dubai

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge