Thursday, September 30, 2010

Alli: The Miracle Diet Pill?

Alli boasts being the only diet pill approved by the FDA, which is the Food and Drug Administration of the United States. Alli is actually Oristat and is half the prescription dose of the drug. Alli/Oristat is a fat inhibitor and is designed to block your body from absorbing a certain percentage of fat. Alli is available in the United States, Europe and Australia over the counter, for a price, on average in the US, of about $40-$50 for the starter.

Earlier this year, I purchased Alli with the intent of losing weight. Since I was about 15, I’ve struggled with my weight. At first it didn’t matter, however as I’ve grown older I have an increased awareness of the health risks that come with being a heavier person. It is with this in mind that I want to get to a healthy (not necessarily skinny) weight.

About a month after purchasing the drug, I began taking it. Within a 48 hour period, I understood the importance of following a low-calorie diet when taking this. The treatment affects of Alli can be intense and involve running to the bathroom. Rather than being discouraged by this, I used it as motivation to eat better and became very well acquainted with the salad bar and my local grocery store. By including more salad and healthier snacks, the most unpleasant parts of the side effects disappeared. As someone always eating on the go, and as such well aware of all the local fast food locations, I appreciated the extra incentive to find something else.

And, it didn’t have to be from the health food store. I still ate ice cream and TV dinners, but when I bought these items, I looked at the fat content per serving. As a rule, I didn’t get anything over 15g and I made sure my soda (which I cannot live without) had no calories or fat. Generally, other than replacing burgers with salads and some snacks, I didn’t have to make that many changes to my diet.

After a week or so of this, I really felt better. I didn’t weigh myself every day, but I felt more energetic with more greens in me and less hamburger bun. After a week or so more, I did begin to notice that my pants were just a little looser than before.

But, here’s where the wrench is thrown in.

Number one, if you don’t live alone, like me, and don’t live with supportive people, it gets very hard very quickly to keep to a good diet. Even with being able to eat a lot of ‘normal’ foods, there are still some key foods, like pizza, that it’s just a bad idea to try to eat. Unfortunately, sometimes that’s all that’s around.

Number two, if you are a stress eater, you can sabotage yourself and your efforts. I’m a stress eater and generally am under a lot of stress, haha, so I sabotaged myself frequently. I knew, because of the first thing listed, that there were unhealthy, very good tasting things in the house. And, I gravitated to them the way bears do to a campsite with raw meat scattered about.

And finally number three: when bad things happen and you abandon it. About a month after I started Alli, my great-grandmother, the monarch of my family, died. I was in a car for 8-9 hours with four other people travelling to northern Virginia for her funeral. Besides the emotional stress, there was a lot of bad eating. I knew that it would be this way so a few days before I left, I stopped taking Alli. I gained the weight back too because I couldn’t keep up with my healthy eating. While I totally get that and I don’t know that I’d do it differently again, I don’t think it’s the best thing to do.

When you take Alli, it’s also important to remember that you need to eat better for DAYS before and after you start or finish taking it. Alli is still in your system for at least 48 or 72 hours after you stop, so if possible it’s a really good idea to keep to your diet for a few days after.

Overall, I recommend Alli. I think it’s very affective, both clinically and psychologically. It works on your body and provides incentive not to eat badly. However, if you decide to take it, it’s really, REALLY important to start out very committed.

If you start taking Alli and don’t have stress eating under control or good support from friends and loved ones, it’s going to be really difficult to keep to it.

If Alli isn’t for you and you have a weight loss problem, I wish you the best of luck! No one solution works for everybody. If you have any suggestions for weight loss (beyond the typical working out and dieting) please feel free to comment about them.

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