Over the last week, I was one of those people yelling at the TV thinking that the people talking on the show could actually hear me. Why was I yelling? Well, two stories really hit me and they hit me so hard that I felt I needed to share them with my 5,000 readers. (Thank you so much for the support!)
The first story that just outright shocked me was on the NBC Today Show, "Gastric By-pass can be a Good Option for Obese Teens". Click on the link and watch the story for yourself and read their article. I understand there is a social stigma for some obese people. As we have seen from the various schoolyard bullying reports, our children and teens are experiencing the most negative issues right in our schools on a daily basis. I do not believe these children are lazy, nor are their parents. I believe that they truly want to be healthy and enjoy life to its fullest. That is why a story like this enrages me. These are good people who got burned too many times on the diet rollercoaster. They felt the only way out was this major and, as the article calls it, "severe type of bariatric surgery". Calling this surgery a “last resort because diets don’t work” is nothing more than smoke in mirrors. I agree that diets do not work long term. The focus needs to shift from being on a diet to living a healthy lifestyle. We need to determine what type of life a person wants to live and then identify the choices that will support that lifestyle, rather than waiting to make lifestyle changes after a person has had this major surgery. Make the lifestyle choices before! If someone wants to be at a healthy weight, living should not revolve around being on a diet. It should be viewed as a lifelong journey characterized by pleasurable, balanced eating and coupled with regular exercise and relaxation to support our bodies. To lose weight, eat more nourishing foods. Find balanced cardiovascular and resistance exercise that makes you sweat. Relax more. No magic pills. No packaged food. Definitely, no surgery! That is what’s called “Living Well”.
And the second story that just pushed me over the edge was from NPR regarding a new weight loss drug. Click Here to listen. They stated more than once that diet and exercise alone don't work. I will agree that diets to lose weight do not work long term. “Dieting” typically focuses on trying to get that number on the scale down. In reality, for most people who go through the effort of losing weight, the focus is much more than a number on a scale. When are we going to wake up and get out of this cycle -- the cycle of merely looking at weight loss, versus looking at overall health! Weight loss without health is not beneficial and is not sustainable. Weight loss is typically the action. But, the goal most people are looking for is wellness. These are people who just want to feel good again. They don't want pain when they move. They don't want all the different prescription medications. They don't want people looking at them in judgment. They want to love the person who is looking back at them in the mirror. They want to fit in their fun clothes again and play with their children and grandchildren. They want to be proud of themselves.
As I am writing about in my upcoming book, “The Perfect Storm – Obesity in America”, weight loss is a very complicated and personal issue for every single person. I will agree that it is not diet and exercise alone that will reverse the obesity trends. There are the emotional, career, environmental, and other health factors that play a role. That is why over half of the population is stuck in the weight loss/weight gain cycle. The “whole person” is not uniquely addressed. And, you know what? A pill is not going to address it, either.
This story on NPR highlights that the FDA just gave the green light for Belviq as an approved weight loss drug, which will help suppress appetite and affect the metabolism of patients. The problem with obesity in our community right now is not people eating too much food. It is that people in our community are not eating enough of the good foods that actually bring nourishment to the cells of the body. Our community is malnourished. Taking a pill such as this will only promote more malnutrition, as it suppress appetite. It is malnutrition that will create additional side effects and make other conditions already affecting the body even worse. For people who are suffering from disorders such as thyroid, pituitary, and adrenal glands issues this malnourishment will only make those issues worse, to whereas complete nourishment could make those issues better. And guess what? From taking this drug with all its side effects you are probably only going to lose 5% of your body weight over the course of a year! That means if you are 200lbs and take Belviq you are only going to lose 10 pounds over the course of an entire year! I tell you what, call me. I will tell you how you can do that in one month with real food and no side effects! I mean…really! What a joke. I don't say this to be mean in any way. I talk to a lot of people who are hurting out there because they have not been successful in keep the weight off long term. However, this pill and all others like it are not the answer and only make the problem worse. Oh, yes and by the way they state to achieve that 5% weight loss with the pill, just as with the surgery, the only way they say it is going to work is with a healthier diet and lifestyle changes.
When reading the quotes from the FDA it seems that they really felt pressured into approving a new drug for weight loss. Now they can at least say they did something. Janet Woodcock, Director of the FDA's drug center, said in her statement, "Obesity threatens the overall well-being of patients and is a major public health concern. The approval of this drug, used responsibly in combination with a healthy diet and lifestyle, provides a treatment option for Americans who are obese or are overweight and have at least one weight-related, co-morbid condition."
I mean, come on! The FDA rejected this same drug in 2010. Then the manufacturer came back with new data -- not a new drug -- and now they approve it? Anyone can play with data to make it look better. Hello? Enron & Bernie Madoff made data look really nice until the bottom fell out. Do you really think we should be using that model with our health?
Live Well,Joeythe new well
About the contributor: Joey Toth () valley resident and holistic healthcare practitioner has brought the wellness revolution to the valley in the form of the new well of Paradise Valley which part of a national weight loss and wellness company focused on inspiring women to change their lives.The new well combines personal coaching, nutrition, exercise and relaxation therapy -- all in one convenient location. Founded in 1999, the new well has centers across the United States. Each center is locally owned with corporate headquarters in Grants Pass, OR.