Returning to what works
Tunes for Tuesday: Hot Mess, by Chromeo

Motivation Monday: Guinea Pig Gail tries something new

The folks at my local Vitamin Shoppe call it the "Dr. Oz syndrome." Every time the TV doc discusses some new herb, supplement or food that can help with weight loss, people come streaming into the store asking for it.

Hey, I'm just as guilty as the rest of them, but I stay away from products that can overstimulate since I don't want to risk the jitters or increased blood pressure.

Safslim So when asked if anyone was interested in trying an all-natural supplement that targets belly fat, I raised my hand. Naturally Savvy is a website devoted to natural, organic and green living, so I felt like they wouldn't send me anything shady.

What did they send me? It's a product called SafSlim -- high-linoleic safflower oil, flavored and whipped into a smoothie-like consistency. You use it twice a day before a meal. Either you take it straight off the tablespoon or you can stir it into yogurt. It comes in two flavors -- berry and tangerine -- and is sweetened with xylitol. Each tablespoon is 60 calories. I just figure it into my daily calories.

So why high-linoleic safflower oil? In an Ohio State University study, 55 overweight, diabetic, post-menopausal women taking high-linoleic safflower oil lost up to 9.4 percent of belly fat in 16 weeks without modifying diet or exercise. They also had an average of a 20.3 percent increase in adiponectin, a hormone that helps with insulin sensitivity and metabolism. Daily use of high linoleic acid from safflower oil is supposed to activate and increase adiponectin, regulate fasting blood sugar, increase insulin sensitivity, reduce CRP, and increase HDL.

So, yeah, that dreaded belly fat. Something I didn't really have until I turned 40 (that's what happens, kiddies). I'm still very much a pear shape, but there's more belly than there used to be and that's the dangerous kind of fat -- a topic that Dr. Oz likes to illustrate by dragging out slabs of pickled omentum. That's the metabolically active fat that gathers around your belly region and hangs out around your internal organs.

I'm as skeptical as they come, but I thoroughly checked out SafSlim's website and there's plenty of information and studies that makes me feel good about giving it a go.

I've been using SafSlim for the past three days, and I swear my midsection feels and looks flatter.

I'll be checking in midway through and at the end of 12 weeks to let y'all know how it's going and how I'm using the SafSlim (it's great in a smoothie, by the way).

SafSlim is sold at most GNC and Vitamin Shoppe stores and is also available at the SafSlim website and on QVC.

Note: I received the bottles of SafSlim for free to use during the 12-week program.