Today, I saw a story on the news about some new weight loss pills. You take four or five before a meal and drink 16 oz. of water with them. The pills swell in your stomach and make you feel full so you eat less.
This reminded me of a talk I had a talk with my doctor over the last year before going on my program. The doctor recommended some diet meds to reduce appetite. I declined. My problem was not eating because I was hungry. Like most people my size, with my problems was eating more than I needed and at times when I really didn’t need to eat. We don’t only eat for hunger. Actually, if we only ate when hungry and stopped when satisfied far fewer of us would have weight related health issues. This sort of treatment really seems to approach the issue backwards—at least from my experience.
While we do eat for hunger, we also eat for an assortment of other reasons. We eat because of boredom. One book I read a while back gave some good advice. If you find yourself watching TV and suddenly want to eat something even though you aren’t hungry, most likely you are bored. Get up and do something else or change the channel to something more interesting. Another reason we eat is because the foods we shouldn’t have, but love to have, are so readily available. Warehouse stores sell snacks and fatty foods in great big giant bags. You’ve heard the old ad pitch about potato chips, “You can’t have just one.” For me you could add one more word to that, “You can’t have just one bag.” If massive quantities were available then massive quantities were consumed. “Besides it would just go bad if I didn’t eat it and that would be wasteful, right?” Another reason for improper eating was seeking something from the food missing in other areas of my life. When food is a comfort item meant to mollify other emotional needs it gets abused. Since it can’t truly meet those needs more is eaten and before long we feel worse because of all the overeating, the emotions get worse, and we go into a spiral of eating, feeling down, eating, feeling down, etc.
When the doctor recommended the meds I asked what it did. He told me that it would reduce my appetite. Fortunately, I had spent enough time observing myself that I was able to say my problem wasn’t hunger or appetite, but eating when I wasn’t hungry and I doubted such meds would help me. The doctor agreed and pointed out that my only real hope was working through the other issues I was trying to fix with food.
This latest miracle pill is going to be no different. It is simply going to give people an excuse to make poor choices. Even if it helps get the weight off, it can do nothing about the issues causing the weight problem. Also, the stomach can stretch. What happens if you take these pills to fill your gullet, then, because of other issues, continue to stuff yourself to bursting? In time the stomach increases volume and the problem gets worse.
There is no magic pill to weight loss. The only option is to work through the issues causing the problem, learn to make healthier choices, support those choices with a plan, then reinforce the plan with support, and accountability.