Are Weight Loss Aids Considered “Cheating”?
Whenever it comes out in the press that a celebrity who lost weight did so by gastric band surgery, people go crazy. “Oh, she didn’t do it the real way, that’s cheating,” people say. I will admit, as a weight loss success story myself, I used to look down on people who took what I perceived as a shortcut to the finish line, when I had to work so hard to get there. But why do we place so much value on doing things the hard way? The truth is, no major life change is easy, no matter how you do it, and there are many factors to consider.
Often I hear concerns that weight loss surgery or prescription medications are too much of a “quick fix,” and that such rapid weight loss is not good for you. While it is true that losing weight quickly can have a negative impact on health, obesity is not exactly a dream scenario either, and surgery and drugs are not usually things that people enter into lightly. If it has gotten to the point that a doctor and her patient are discussing such extreme measures to combat the health risks of a high body fat percentage, it is safe to assume that nothing about the situation has ever been easy. Usually these things are only brought up when all else has failed, and years of carrying around extra weight are starting to take a toll on heart function and overall health. This is the point where the risks of obesity may be higher than the risks of surgery, and it is up to the doctor and patient to discuss this. Contrary to being a quick solution, many people who finally decide to have surgery have been struggling with their weight all their lives, and the operation is simply the latest chapter in a story that has been going on for many years.
I think the problem is that since people who have had successful gastric band surgery always seem so happy about it, showing off their new, trim physiques, we think that means they’re taking it lightly or that they didn’t care about the risks. But of course you are going to be happy if you have wrestled with obesity all your life and finally found something that made a difference. It is quite natural to be ecstatic if you find yourself shopping in “normal” clothing stores, after never believing you would ever be in a healthy weight range. The anxiety, depression, and worry about risks happens before the surgery more than after. When the weight finally starts coming off after years of no progress with other methods, it’s definitely something to rejoice about.
Weight loss pills may be seen as a less drastic course of action, but people still judge those who use them. A lot of the weight loss supplements have dubious success records, but there are a couple of prescription drugs out there that appear to be having some dramatic results for significantly overweight and obese people. Again, this is not something where if you’ve put on ten pounds, you just pop a pill and sit back and wait for the magic to happen. Any medication has risks and possible side effects, and your doctor will discuss with you the pros and cons, as well as a plan for behavior modification. This is not for people who splurged a little too much over the holidays. The pills are a kick-start to what will have to be a lifetime of healthier living for those with chronic or debilitating obesity. While weight loss patients are on a course of medication, they are also learning how to feel the difference between eating out of habit and eating out of real hunger. Having a little push to get some of weight off can help build momentum, as well as making it easier to get started on an exercise program.
Each of us who has a problem with excess weight has her own road to walk. There is no one single solution to being fit and in a healthy weight range, and if there were, then no one in the world would ever have any weight problems. Of course, if you are thinking about getting additional help to lose weight, it is essential that you consult your doctor first, and follow their advice. Obesity, surgery, and medication all have risks, and what you decide to do is a private matter between you and your physician. If you have followed legitimate medical advice and are satisfied with being healthy and fit, then it’s nobody’s business to judge how you did it.