Tuesday, July 24, 2012

First Guest Blog Post: Sarah's take on Diet Drugs

Sarah and Carrie in May
This morning I heard on the news that the FDA has approved a new diet drug, called Qsymia.  Hearing of diet drugs really irks me because those that need to lose weight (and those that don’t) will rush to get their hands on this “miracle” drug.  And I want to scream in protest and here’s why.  But first, a little about me…
I am a 5’8”, marathoner, cyclist, endurance distance inline skater, former military person with a 20.5 BMI.  Why do I say this?  To give you some options of where your life could go.  4 years ago I was 35 pounds heavier…but still a marathoner, cyclist and former military person.  Your initial reaction is correct: HUH?  How could I be an endurance athlete and still be 35 pounds heavier than I am today?  Or even more confusing, how could I run marathons, be IN the military, eat perfectly and gain around a pound a week?  I was as baffled as you.  I did things right.  I ate the correct number of calories (more when I was training, less when I was in an off season).  I ran 5 times a week.  I biked once or twice a week.  I ate healthy things.  I weight lifted.  And yet I was gaining weight.  I considered Alli at the time to help me out, but the side effects of the chemicals seemed worse than gaining the weight.  And I had my head about me – do things the right way and you will succeed.

Over New Years in 2008/2009 I was visiting my friend in Colorado.  Her husband and her were starting the South Beach diet again at the start of the year and one of the diet’s key points is NO carbs for the first two weeks. Having gone to college with her for 3 years, she knew I loved my carbs.  As a dare, she encouraged me to go 2 weeks without carbs.  Since I am a sucker for discipline, I accepted.  And guess what?  I lost 8 lbs the first 2 weeks.  Over the next 4 months I ended up losing 35 pounds.  I dropped almost all carbs (except fruit and rice – before noon) and focused on protein and changing how I worked out.  I lightened my weights and did more reps in the weight room and at home.  I made it a point to run faster, not always longer.  In cycling, I saw hills as a welcomed challenge versus something to be dreaded.  I changed my perception of standards for athletes and my body changed.  If you are one of the lucky people who can eat whatever whenever they want – I’m happy for you!  I really am.  But it didn’t work for me.  My timing of food was all off.  In exercise, my body had fallen into the usual rut and it wasn’t challenged anymore.  With that said, back to my rant about diet pills…

Before anyone starts rambling ignorantly about how this drug is meant for those with a secondary issue to the obesity (high blood pressure and diabetes, at the top), let me first tell you these are SECONDARY ISSUES to the main issue – obesity.  And guess what?  While taking this drug, you are to exercise and eat correctly.  Hmm…similar themes to normal “dieting”.  (BTW – I hate the word “dieting”.  I like the word “diet” as that is what I choose to eat day in and day out.  I have a particular diet that I choose to live with, but I won’t be “dieting”.  That is temporary.)  Also, the drug only claims an additional 5-6% weight loss.  If you need to lose 100 pounds, it is ONLY going to help you lose an additional 5.  Not all that much in the grand scheme.  These chemicals are poisons to the brains of the obese.  They give a false hope for a miracle drug.  Get off the couch and do what your body was meant to do anyway – MOVE.  This drug WILL NOT cure your obesity.  This drug WILL NOT cure your high blood pressure.  This drug WILL NOT cure your diabetes.  But YOU can.

YOU have to make the decision to change.  YOU have to make the decision to be more disciplined in YOUR life for your spouse, children, grandchildren and friends.  You don’t have to start out with a marathon in mind for a goal.  How about walking around the block without getting winded?  How about making a concerted effort to not eat carbs after lunchtime?  How about cutting out all the cups of coffee you drink everyday (limit it to 1 or 2) and drinking water the remainder of the day?  IF you want it, you WILL get it.  You have to figure out how YOUR body works.  This will be done with trial and error.  NO PILL will do the work for you.  YOU have to do the work.  But honestly, it will become a habit and will no longer be work.  I promise.  But it is SOLELY your choice.

Sarah is Oracle EPM consultant as well as Carrie's personal Jillian Michaels. She is a strong, amazing, talented and compassionate person who pushes herself and others to achieve their best potential.


  1. Would you like to motivate my patients? I don't know how many times I get asked to prescribe a diet pill. I'm surprised I haven't been asked about the new one yet. The sad thing is, I don't have the time to sit down with patients and help them make a good plan for diet and exercise - that doesn't fit in a 20 minute visit when you have lots of other things to cover. I try to fit in some pointers, but I think they often just here "No" read "my doctor doesn't care" or "my doctor is skinny and just doesn't understand."

  2. Thanks for your comment Mere, it is really interesting to have a doctor's perspective! I think it is really hard because in our society people want quick fixes. Also, as a former heavy person I honestly thought that people who were skinny were just naturally skinny- I had no idea that they actually had to exercise or eat right to get or stay that way. Thanks for commenting!

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