Natural vs. Unnatural Weight Loss
Natural weight loss occurs when your body burns more energy than it is supplied with. What I mean by that is that food is the body's energy source. That is what the purpose of food is basically. Energy is measured in calories so I'm not advocating a calorie counting diet for you when I use the word 'calorie'.
The body burns that energy with every movement. Reach up and scratch your nose and you have burned some energy. Our body burns energy even without movement. Our brains alone burn about 400 calories a day just thinking. We burn calories when we sleep.
If you ever watch sporting events, you might have heard sportscasters tell you that a participant in a bicycle race can lose up to 10 pounds just during the race and that is true. Some of that weight loss is fluid but most athletes know to replace lost fluid. Most of that weight loss that the sportscasters are ta king about is actually caused by the body burning stored fat because the athlete is burning more energy than he is consuming.
Nobody reading this is likely to be one of those athletes who can burn 10 pounds of weight off while riding a bicycle, swimming or playing football but this is natural weight loss. Natural weight loss means burning more calories than are being consumed through food and drink over a 24 hour period without the aid of pills or surgical procedures.
Unnatural Weight Loss
There have been a lot of well-publicized weight loss pills and pill combinations in recent years. Many have been proven to be unsafe for extended use while others have been proven to be downright deadly.
When overweight patients ask their doctors for appetite suppressant pills, many times these doctors will quickly prescribe them and then fail to oversee their use or, even worse, they will fail to take their time to counsel their patients on the dangers of using these kinds of drugs.
It is very tempting to use diet pills in the quest for weight loss. Imagine the idea of just popping a little pill in and presto the weight is gone. Unfortunately, diet pills don't work like that. There really isn't a little magic pill. Unless a reduced calorie diet and exercise are used in conjunction with diet pills, the pills themselves will have no effect whatsoever on a person's weight.
Prescription diet pills as well as over-the counter diet pills all have side effects. These potential side effects certainly need to be weighed against any hoped for benefit to be derived from taking them.
Weight loss pills are usually appetite suppressants. Most of the prescription varieties have the potential for becoming habit forming all of them, prescription as well as over-the counter diet pills interfere with normal metabolism.
The Food and Drug administration has approved two drugs for use as diet pills. They are sold under different brand names, of course, but there really are only two drugs. They are orlistat and sibutramine. Sibutramine is sold as Meridia and Orlistat is sold as Xenical. Sibutramine is an appetite suppressant. Orlistat is a lipase inhibitor, which means it interferes with the body's ability to absorb fat.
All prescription diet pills have one or the other ingredient either orlistat or sibutramine. If your doctor prescribes a diet pill for you, you need to be aware of the possible side effects that the drugs can cause.
The makers of Meridia (Sibutramine) list these side effects on their website:
If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking Meridia and seek emergency medical attention or contact your doctor immediately:
- an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives)
- an irregular heartbeat
- high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision)
The makers of Xenical (Orlistat) list these side effects on their website: "More common side effects may include: Abdominal discomfort or pain, anxiety, arthritis, back pain, diarrhea, dizziness, earache, fatigue, fatty or oily stools, fecal urgency or incontinence, flu, gas with fecal discharge, gum problems, headache, increased defecation, menstrual problems, muscle pain, nausea, oily discharge, rectal discomfort or pain, respiratory tract infections, skin rash, sleep problems, tooth problems, urinary tract infections, vaginal inflammation, vomiting"
OK...you say maybe diet pills aren't the way to go. Those side effects sound gross and maybe even dangerous.
There are many surgeries available for very obese people. These surgeries cause the body to not function as it was designed to function and thus they produce weight loss. There are basically three types of surgeries performed for the purpose of the patient losing weight:
- Reduction of the size of the stomach. This procedure simply reduces the physical size of the stomach by stapling or other methods and makes it impossible for the patient to consume much food at a meal.
- Removal of a portion of the intestines. This procedure removes a portion of the intestine and thus reduces the amount of intestine that comes into contact with food consumed by the patient.
- Reduction of the size of the stomach AND Removal of a portion of the intestines.
There are several different names for these types of bariatric surgeries. You can read about the potential risks here. There are many risks associated with bariatric surgeries. Just the first five of those listed are:
- Bleeding from a tear to the liver, spleen, or blood vessels
- Bowel obstruction, requiring further surgery
- Cardiac problems. Greatest risk in patients who are the most overweight, or who have cardiac disease
- Complications due to anesthesia and medications.
- Deep vein thrombosis. Blood clots in the large leg veins. They become serious when they float up into the blood vessels of the lungs.
Sometimes bariatric surgeries are required for those who are more than 100 pounds overweight and have serious weight related health problems but bariatric surgery should never be entered into lightly. The risks are great.
Diet pills can be tempting but they won't work at all unless a reduced calorie diet is followed and exercise is increased. Bariatric surgeries are sometimes necessary but should not ever be considered if there is an alternative of losing weight naturally.
Unnatural weight loss means burning more calories than are consumed over a 24 hour period with the aid of diet pills or surgeries.