The idea that a pill could make me lose weight quickly has always been somewhat appealing, despite FDA bans, poor research on my part, and fine print cons. Living in such a lazy society that is stuck on the “ideal weight,” sometimes it’s hard not to get sucked into all the fast fixes.
Over the last three years, I have tried my share of diet pills and concoctions. I’ve taken Hydroxycut before the FDA ban, drunk the nasty Slimquick mixes, and swallowed the Mega T Green Tea pills because I was on a budget. At times I had success and other times I missed the mark. Even now, there a couple of half-empty bottles in my apartment.
Often it seems we get sucked into the commercials of weight loss pills. Overweight people suddenly appear drastically thinner after taking their choice of drug. The idea that someone that big could become so small just from taking a pill is golden.
However, no one seems to pay attention to the fine print at the bottom of the screen, the fine print that says “results not typical” or “results may vary.” Don’t get me started on all the medical disclaimers. Despite all of that, companies are getting rich off our vanity.
“I think diet pills are abused—well, at least prescription pills,” Ariel Jackson, senior middle grade education major, said. “You see these 95-pound girls taking pills that they don’t need. Working in a pharmacy makes me think they are becoming an addiction. People eating nothing but junk food but take the pills looking for immediate results.”
While I have never heard of anyone dying from diet pills, they can have some nasty side effects, including but not limited to insomnia, hypertension, constipation, anxiety, depression, and acne. Once again, none of these would fit well into my upcoming spring break.
According to Dr. Lynn R. Bell, clinical nutritionist for the Lowndes County Health Department, diet pills are not beneficial to one’s weight loss because “pills fail to address the reason why the person is overweight or obese.” In Bell’s professional opinion, diet pills are taken for a quick fix and are used as a “cop-out to avoid dealing with the real issue of making healthy lifestyle choices, or as a crutch permitting continued unhealthy food choices.”
“[I took Hydroxycut] of course to lose weight, but [also] I’ve always been pretty focused on my weight and staying a certain size, and I needed to lose, like, 10 pounds quickly to get back to my usual weight after I gained my freshman 15,” Christi Holliday, junior mass media major, said.
Aubrey Galeza, senior mass media major, also tried diet pills. Like Holliday, her reason for taking the pills was to maintain a particular weight. Galeza tried two different weight loss pills only to find little to no change, and ultimately she feels they were a waste of money.
“I think some [diet pills] might be successful, but at the same time, the majority of them you can’t take and expect to lose weight; you have to put in work, meaning diet and exercise too.” Galeza said. “I already eat strictly and exercise a good bit. I [am not] about to spend my week’s paycheck buying one of those expensive pills that [makes] you automatically lose 20 pounds. I know it’s not that serious.”
According to Dr. Bell, when addressing weight loss, we have to answer four personal questions: Why do we eat, what are we eating, when and where do we eat, and what amount do we eat?
While Dr. Bell is against the use of diet pills she provided alternatives to popular quick fixes:
– Get 7 hours of sleep a night and help your body’s normal weight balance mechanism (the alternating states of hunger and satiety.)
– Learn stress management and coping techniques to counteract the weight gaining effects of stress hormones.
– Use physical activity as a means of stress relief.
– Eat a little something for breakfast every morning to start up your metabolism.
– Avoid skipping meals, which tends to slow down metabolism.
– Try to fuel the body with food every four hours during the day to avoid hunger that results in mindless eating of junk food.
While I’ve personally seen results from diet supplements, I know they are short-term without any real work. Maybe tomorrow I’ll start popping fewer pills and hitting the treadmill a little bit more.