Friday, February 20, 2004
posted by Julie |
What we're all waiting for
We want the pill. We do. We all do. We are furious that modern science can split atoms, miniaturize machines, perform nanosurgery, manipulate our genes, microchip our dogs, but cannot yet cure fat.
Come ON. The pill. The pill. The pill! When will it be ready?
Well, it's not ready now, and never has been ready, and it won't be ready any time soon. Don't you worry, though. Millions and billions are being poured into research to deliver that pill some day.
However, we won't have it for awhile, and we're fat now. I had a friend on the phone the other day. He'd lost a lot of weight awhile ago, and put it all back on. The effort of keeping it off was just too much. He could focus on the problem for a few months, but eventually his real life brought him back to his businesses, his family, social responsibilities. He resumed his old habits, so the weight returned. He's furious that there is no pill. Something in his tone suggests he believes I'm taking it and just not telling him what it is. He's got money to burn and is willing to spend it on a cure.
There is no pill.
Well, wait, there are lots and lots of pills. They don't work the way you want them to or for very long. You can get all hopped up on caffeine and herbal speed, clean out the 10 lbs. or so of clingy waste in your intestines and lose the extra water with fiber supplements and diuretic herbs and tonics so you are lighter and feel lighter, but you're not going to find a pill that will help you lose a significant amount of stored fat and keep it off for the rest of your life. Even the prescription weight loss aids can only work for so long to regulate your appetite and boost your metabolism. The best ones are not really fat-melters, but help you rise above depression enough to feel like sticking to a diet and getting your exercise. You can try for fat and carb blockers, but there's that little threat of incontinence that may make the experience, er, unworthy.
The New Yorker magazine recently ran an interesting article on the state of the dietary supplement business in the U.S. The journalist, Michael Specter, focused on the popular blue-bottled diet supplement in his story. The upshot of his research: diet supplements cure by peddling hope.
Hope in a bottle may be a good thing. Hope in a bottle may have its own kind of curative effects. The very act of taking a pill may be enough of a physical cue reminding you of your desire for a healthy body. Maybe the ritual of it is enough to help you maintain your focus on caring for your body for a day, for a few hours.
If you find taking pills gives you hope, then how about meditating on your good health while taking nutritional supplements that help even out the nutritional imbalance most of us experience these days? Think about your desire for good health while you take a multi-vitamin, your omega 3 and vitamin E, a magnesium and a calcium supplement. Check with your doctor first to make sure any supplement you're taking won't interfere with other drugs you're using.
What we choose to eat is the real diet pill. Filling up on veggies, getting enough protein, cutting back on added sugars, empty starches. Keep your calories down, and you'll see the magic chemistry you've been looking for. Exercise every day to build the "stack" that melts fat away. Slowly. Get plenty of fiber in your diet, and you'll feel like doing it again tomorrow. Doing it every day keeps it off forever.
"Miracle in a Bottle", Feb 2, Michael Specter, Newyorker.com
Lynn Grieger, R.D. on diet pills, iVillage.com
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