You were driving on your way home. As you stopped when the traffic lights turned red, a giant billboard caught your attention. It was a macro shot of a juicy, beefy, cheesy smokin’ burger for an ad of a popular burger joint. You heard your tummy protesting against the organic vegetarian diet you’ve just started recently. You feel yourself drooling over that one enticing ad.

But next to it, you see another billboard—this time, it features a gorgeous, beach-ready supermodel with a waistline that your overreacting mind thought to be nonexistent. In your heart though, you’re secretly wishing for the same size, for that flat belly. Looking at yourself, your big, bulky self, you thought: “In your dreams.”

They say we’ve come to that age when we’re not judged anymore by how we weigh or what’s the size of our waistline. There are many advocates of body positivity, a movement that encourages people, especially women, not to conform to common societal norms of what is defined as “beautiful.” Body positivity means that no matter your size, shape, built, or color, you are your own beautiful self.

And then, you see those glossy pages of your favorite magazine with a stunning model with tantalizing eyes, slim shoulders, legs, and arms—oh, how you envy her well-proportioned body. All in a sudden, you forgot that Photoshop does exist and that every magazine photo undergoes the scrutiny of this software application, trimming those flabs and excess fats without a trace.

That’s the time you forgot about body positivity, too. Now, all you think about is how to get rid of that belly fat as quick as possible. That would mean cutting back TOTALLY on junk food though, which doesn’t sound very appealing to you. In fact, thinking about those fries only makes you upset.

Are weight loss pills the answer? Before you think about self-medicating yourself with any miracle potion that doesn’t require you to maintain an active lifestyle and eat a healthy diet, take a pause and read this.

What’s Your BMI Anyway?

The answer is simple and straightforward: There is no such thing as substitute for proper amount of exercise and healthy diet that’s right for your current health situation. Miracle weight loss pills are often too glorified that they sound too good to be true. But indeed, they are actually too good to be true.

There’s a reason why effective weight management supplements are called as such—they supplement the basic formula that lay the groundwork for your long-term health. So, from its name itself, it’s not a substitute. Rather, it’s a supplement. Something that helps you yield more effective results out of your active lifestyle, healthy diet, and proper amount of rest and sleep.

Excess unhealthy fats, especially that huge bulk around your waist is a possible indication that you have visceral fat deposits. These bad guys lurking in your abdominal region are dangerous kind of fats because they accumulate in your internal organs such as your liver, kidneys, intestines, and pancreas. That’s exactly the reason behind the existence of a ‘fatty liver’.

While it’s not easy to determine if that belly fat is visceral or it’s simply subcutaneous—the kind that lies right beneath your skin which isn’t much of a big deal, take a clue from that tape measure wrapped around your waist.

If you’re a woman and it reveals more than 35 inches, it’s about time you do a combination of abs workout and cardio. For men, the ideal waistline should be not over 40 inches. Anything more than that could be a sign of excess visceral fats. In other words, the smaller your waist, the better. Of course, it’s still best to consult your trusted physician before you start any weight loss program.

Now, this is also pretty obvious when you take a look at your body mass index (BMI). A BMI of around 18.5 to 24.9 reveals that you have a healthy weight. Maintain it. Anything more than that means you have excess weight, though, at times, a denser muscle mass could be the reason behind it in bodybuilders. Well that’s an exception.

If, apparently, your being overweight is a result of excess fats, it’s better you start making the necessary changes now. Giving your lifestyle and diet a careful review is a must so that you’ll have a better idea on how you can turn your life around with biggest chances of success.

What if it’s really too difficult to control your weight to the point that you’ve reached obesity? That’s indeed more challenging. But hey, there are many success stories out there that are truly inspiring. You can achieve a normal weight, too! First though, you need to acknowledge that you need a little help.

Take Diet Pills or Stick to Natural Ways?

If you’re suffering from obesity, you need to find out what’s causing it. Is it simply because of your unhealthy habits and poor choices when it comes to food? Are there more serious underlying issues you need to address? It’s hard to know the answers to these questions without consulting a qualified doctor.

Any credible and honest physician wouldn’t tell you that the best diet pills available can substitute healthy meals, exercise, and stress management. If you need it anyway, he wouldn’t allow you to take those pills long-term.

He may only prescribe it for a few months to help you out, but after that, you will need to be more mindful of your habits and choices. You need to maintain what you’ve started. Otherwise, all efforts could go wasted when you revert back to fast food and sedentary lifestyle.

So, are weight loss supplements right for you? Before taking any pills, consult your trusted physician. Also, as much as possible, work hard towards your ideal weight through natural ways. That’s still the best option, folks. Also, just like what my workout app flashes on my screen every time I open it, you have to live by this: “Progress is progress no matter how small.” You’ll reach your fitness goals, too. Just be patient and diligent!