To diet pill or not to diet pill?

Thinking about diet pills as a way to lose weight this year? Most diet pills fall into the category of appetite suppressants, although there is also the category of fat inhibitors, such as Alli (or Xenical). But the majority of what I see is over-the-counter or prescription appetite suppressants. These primarily work by tricking the body into believing that you are not hungry, by affecting the brain chemicals that affect appetite.

A couple of BIG problems with this approach. First, you cannot live on minimal food with any degree of success for very long. So trying to diet by avoiding food is a real prescription for disaster. You do have to eat to live, and eat well to think well, so finding a way to make a friend with food and have it in your life is critical. Second, these can be somewhat addictive, and you can develop an intolerance to them. So, it takes more and more to have an effect. Third, there are physical side effects that are far from pleasant. The most common include increased heart rate, blood pressure, perspiration, anxiety, insomnia, and thirst. Couple those with constipation, lightheadedness, and inability to concentrate. Terrible for students, really bad for everyone else.

Fat inhibitors also have negative side effects, and the degree to which they affect people varies. Mostly, they can cause gastrointestinal and digestive disorders! Plus, you’re still not learning to live with food. So my advice once again is to find a way to make a friend with food and have it in your life.