I don't quite know why, but lately the commercials for Alli are really REALLY starting to bug me. What's weird is that they've been around for a while, but for some reason they're really really bothering me (I think it might be my newly acquired respect for high fat diets).
For those who aren't aware, Alli is an over the counter weight loss suppliment that works by preventing your body from absorbing fat. The big hype, in the US, is that Alli is the first over the counter weight loss aid endorsed by the food and drug administration (of the US). What they don't tell you is that the unabsorbed fat has to go somewhere, and for most people, it becomes incredibly unpleasant diarrhea and oily discharge (from your butt!). Gross, I know, and also the subject of several pretty hilarious blog posts and stand up routines I've seen in recent years.
But poop aside, why is nobody addressing the obvious here? Your body NEEDS fat to function properly. On one hand we have the FDA telling us to take alli and eat an almost entirely fat free diet (because that's the way you avoid the "treatment effects") and on the other hand we have the Heart Association recommending omega 3 suppliments. Its scientifically proven that fat free diets lead to breakdown of brain tissue. And yet the FDA is telling us the same old myth: fat makes you fat. Its like living in the US you have to wear blinders and just ignore what is going on in other countries. In Europe they eat incredibly high amounts of fat (compared to the recommended US diets) and look how skinny they are! (the same argument goes for health care reform and a million other issues that the US would like us to ignore, but that's another post entirely).
But instead of giving us a healthy way to lose weight, the FDA approves a drug that can lead to deterioration of your brain. I suppose as long as you're skinny, its okay to be a vegetable. I don't know the reasoning behind that, though I suspect that money is the bottom line, as it usually is in the US.
So now every time Winona Judd comes on the screen telling me about how wonderful Alli is I just get so angry! I wish the medical association would jump on this and let the public know how terrible it is.
But then I realize, who could possibly stay on Alli long enough to even get brain damage? How long can you take shitting your pants against your own will before you give up. My mom got some Alli, she was one of the very first people to try it. She did it for exactly one weekend. One weekend of spending most of her day in the bathroom, and that was enough for her. My bf's mom bought some last summer and it sat on her kitchen counter for the year because after reading the fine print she was too scared to take it.
And that takes me back to something I realized long ago (while in high school) but then forgot. Most diets are not made for fat people. Those of us with a significant amount of weight to lose would have to stay on any diet for such a long time that it would be detrimental to our health. No, the diet industry is made for people with hardly any weight at all to lose. Gyms do not get created for fat people, they are created for skinny people to stay skinny. For skinny people to show off their hot bodies to other skinny people. Just look at how most gyms are set up. Instead of privacy while sweating, you are in this huge room with several other people, all machines usually face towards the center of the room (at least in the gyms I have been in) so that you are always going to be looking at someone else working out and someone will be looking at you.
Diets are not made for people to lose more than 10 lbs or so. Even weight watchers, the diet most praised by the US as the most healthy option, is not created for long term use. Yes, I suppose you could starve for 10 years and maybe eventually lose weight on it, or you could just do what the diet is meant to do, stay on it for a month, lose the 10 lbs you gained during the winter and go back to the beach and show off how hot you are, all the while praising how effective weight watchers was.
This is why Kirstie Alley failed on Jenny Craig and Valerie Bertinelli succeded. Valerie had a much smaller amount to lose, and from the sounds of it was combating no more than just the cruelty of menopause on her metabolism, whereas Kirstie Alley was combating several psychological eating disorders combined with genetic predisposition.
But these diets never bother trying to help the obese person. Instead we're just made to feel like failures when the diet stops working, or we can no longer take being the fattest person in the gym, or crapping ourselves in public. Why if this super fit lady over here had success then everyone should be able to.
I recently read in one of my cookbooks that Julia Child, proponent of high fat gourmet coooking would sometimes feel the need to diet, as she'd suddenly put on some weight. So for a week or so she'd limit her caloric intake and voila, she'd be back to normal. At no time did Julia Child find herself 100 lbs overweight with years of 1000 calorie dieting in front of her.
Almost every diet operates on the same principle, great for someone who wants to lose small amounts of weight in small amounts of time. But what long term effects are there?
Well, for one, this type of dieting makes you fatter! When I was growing up my mom, in all her inability to nuture without food (I love my mom, but her eating habits and mothering style are toxic, and she's the first to admit it), fed me a steady diet of sugary soda, prepraed meals, cheap artificially flavored/textured/created dessert cakes, chips, candy, and white flour and sugar based products. And I was a fat kid. Sure. When I graduated high school I probably weighed somewhere around what I weigh now. Then in college I put on the good old freshman 15 (and then some) but around my sophomore year I decided I'd combat it with a low fat vegetarian diet. And so I lost a few lbs, then could no longer do that diet so I put on another 10 lbs. Then I tried weight watchers, again lost 20 lbs, and gained back 30. Then Atkins, same story. Until I reached the point a year ago (well more than that now) when I weighed 285 lbs. And I totally blame that on the never ending cycle of restricting and then gorging.
I'm so glad I found SLD, but I can't help but go back to these Alli ads and wonder what possible motivation our government has for approving a diet drug that is set up to fail, and either turn us into skinny stupid people or, more likely, just make us fatter. I don't understand and its making me so damn ANGRY!!!!!!!!
Sorry, I just really wanted to get that off my chest!