I have delayed the hot topic of “weight loss” drugs for some time now, as I have tried to figure out how to “feed” this information to you in a useful and intelligent way. Hence the need for a “Part 1”, I have way too much to communicate.
What’s Coming Next Month
Next month, I am going to talk about the specific drugs, their costs, how they work, projected outcomes, as well as potential side effects. It is important to understand the medications and if you should consider them, but this month we talk about the reality.
The Reality of Weight Loss Drugs
The bottom line is that these drugs “give the people what they want”, which is an easy path to weight loss. Unfortunately, these medications are not the panacea, meaning that the patient MUST be participatory, and not a passive observer, in order to actually lose the weight, improve their health, and most importantly, in my humble opinion, actually sustain these outcomes.
Evolution of Weight Loss Approaches
In the “weight loss” world, people clearly understand the concept of being on a diet and restricting calories. Back in the early days of dieting, the 70s and 80s brought the diet gurus who focused on cutting calories and did so by removing or adding certain foods and food groups. Anyone remember the “cabbage soup” or “grapefruit” diets. We then moved into other controlling diet approaches like “Adkins”, which limited calories and carbs, and “Scarsdale”, which focused on curbing calories and fat. And now, we have every iteration of dieting styles with intermittent fasting, keto, time-restricted eating, paleo, vegan, carnivore, flexitarian, Mediterranean, and more.
The Paradox of Our Nation’s Health
At the end of the day, we as a nation are fatter and sicker than ever before. Why you ask? Blame the multibillion-dollar diet industry, partnered with the influx of inexpensive, readily available, highly palatable foods chocked with salt, fat, and sugar. Mix that with the countless “nutrition and weight loss” experts at your fingertips via the internet and social media spewing so much noise that we no longer have a clue as to what a “healthy eating pattern” is nor how to put it on one’s plate.
Weight Loss Surgery as a Tool
In addition to the latest pills, injectables, potions, and diet approaches, we can’t fail to mention “weight loss surgery”. The bariatric surgery world actually considers these surgeries a “tool” that aids in their patient’s weight loss. By the way, when they reduce the size of the stomach, which limits the amount of food that can be consumed, hence the weight loss, with the inability to digest and absorb nutrients, which forces these patients to have to take large amounts of supplements to make up for the nutrient loss. And now those providers are adding new medications on top of this “tool”.
The Emotional Attachment to Food
All this being said, I have seen this medication in full effect in my community and I am concerned. What I know is that many people have an emotional attachment to food, similar to any other addiction. These medications actually calm that call to food (and drink). This allows these patients to have more self-control when it comes to overeating. In some cases, they are able to eat very little, which accelerates their weight loss, but it comes with a price tag called “malnutrition”.
Words of Advice from Mama G
Words of advice from Mama G…if you need to lose weight and improve your health, these medications can be the impetus for helping you get there. The caveat will always be to understand the value of instilling a healthy eating pattern that will allow you to propel your health gain and then sustain your weight loss for a lifetime. Otherwise, this is just one more very expensive diet!