Shedding those extra pounds, either due to health concerns, for a special occasion, or simply to up one’s feelings of self-worth and self-confidence has been a Holy Grail of sorts, for men and women around the world – and this has been literally going on for decades. The main issue in this picture is that would-be weight losers often base their mind-frame on the wrongful assumption that there exists some of sort magic pill, a miracle diet of one kind or another, which can help them lose the bothersome weight overnight. While diet approaches differ widely from one (scientifically approved) plan to another, from one expert to the next, and even among dieters (to rightfully account for differences in metabolism structure, lifestyle, etc.), science basically is in consensus over one specific fact. That is, weight is not gained overnight; similarly, expecting to shed it in an unreasonably short amount of time is preposterous and naïve.
In spite of repeated such assertions from everyone and anyone in healthcare, it seems there is still a market for the impatient, instant gratification seekers. It is the providers on that market that are perpetuating the belief that weight loss can be achieved through magic pills and other similar solutions. The dieting pill industry is the one responsible for a recent event, which occurred in late October, in which an Irish teenager who had been attempting to lose weight with sibutramine pills was rushed to the hospital immediately. The teen thought she was taking ‘herbal’ pills, as advertised on the package, when, instead, doctors found otherwise and proceeded to remove her colon, to save her from further complications.
This case drew the attention of the Australian media, which promptly looked into the possibility of buying such pills down under: nowadays, getting your hands on a sibutramine containing slimming product costs no more than $1.49 per pill. The pills are instantly accessible to anyone who can afford paying for them, as they are being marketed online – one website even purports that such pills could be the solution to the issue of obesity in Australia! While their actual effects with respect to slimming are still debatable, their side effects are much more of a certainty. Sibutramine has been reported to cause heart problems, which can even go as far as causing heart attacks and strokes. Until 2010, the substance was only available on prescription. After health concern claims started popping up, it was removed from pharmacies – only to become available online nowadays.
According to the experts at the psychotherapy clinic Bayside Psychotherapy in Melbourne, eating for comfort, or in order to assuage anxiety, depression, loneliness or other perceived voids in one’s life can quickly escalate to a weight issue. However, diet pills are not the answer. Properly addressing the food addiction or the binge eating patterns is – and clinic patients are encouraged to embrace modern, alternative methods such as NLP, mindfulness therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy. Aside from providing relief from often damaging issues, these therapies also help sufferers learn how to help themselves, as they make their way back to a full recovery.
A recent experiment in body image perceptions challenged such notions as BMI and societal standards, by asking experts to weigh in on a female model whose height and weight correspond to the countrywide average. The average woman in Australia, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, now weighs 70.1 kilograms, compared to her 1995 counterpart, who was lighter by 3.1 kilos. Also, the average Aussie female has a BMI of almost 26, which places her in the risk zone for obesity (it ranges from a 25 to a 29.9 BMI). While BMI does not allow for skeletal structure and muscle mass, it is also a fairly good indicative of a person’s risks of weight issues. And the reality is Australians aren’t getting any thinner – but fast-track ‘miracle’ solutions are certainly not going to solve anything.
Photo Credit: Helga Weber (CC BY-ND 2.0)
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