Some Thoughts on Weight-Loss Aids

This weekend, the Professor and I were talking about the prescription version of Alli, in which she informed me that the materials that come with the drug just basically tell you that the drug works primarily by conditioning you to eat differently, because, if you don’t, you will shit yourself. The whole “shitting yourself” thing isn’t an unfortunate side-effect; the way the drug works is to make you so afraid of shitting yourself that you don’t eat anything that might cause you to do so. And thus, if you are “lucky,” you will lose weight. And by “lucky,” let us remember, I mean “adequately in fear of shitting yourself.”

Then I just read this about how Consumer Reports is reporting that six out of ten people who have lap-band surgery have to have repeated surgeries.

And all I could think is that we have an interesting definition of “health” where shitting yourself and having to have repeated surgeries are considered healthier than not shitting yourself and not having to have repeated surgeries.

I really would like to live in a world where people had access to healthy foods and ways to move safely around and everyone can eat well and exercise some and you are the size you are. And everyone else just minds their own business, rather than live in a world where “shitting yourself” is seen as a solution to anything.

14 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on Weight-Loss Aids

  1. Remember when a certain red haired country singer (was in a duo with her mother) was the spokesperson for Alli? I can’t see that woman in any venue (tv, concert, etc) without thinking about her trying not to poo herself.

    On a similar note, there is a female that is in and out of one of my friend circles – she is merely an acquaintance to me. Recently, she has been posting images on the internet of herself bragging about significant weight loss. This would be all fine and good – save for the fact that a common friend we share told me the actual weight loss plan is sticking her finger down her throat on a regular basis.

    So, not only is it apparently better for a woman to shit herself than be fat, it is also apparently preferable to vomit until ones teeth rot out and the lining of the esophagus is gone as well.

  2. On Saturday the rest of my family (the ones in Indiana) buried my brother’s niece by marriage.

    She died of complications from Bariatric surgery. The day before her daughter’s birthday.

    She was someone I knew well–we were at school together and have been friends since then–and I’ve been mad about this for a week now.

    I’m sure her daughter would rather have a fat mother than a thin corpse to visit at the cemetery. Oh, wait. Traci was cremated, so the corpse doesn’t even matter at all.

    Yes, losing weight was sooooo great for her health.

    And of course a month ago another friend died of complications related to a chronic headache condition….which she incurred in part because of bariatric surgery.

    So this summer I’ve lost two friends of more than 30 years because society told them they weren’t good enough unless they were thin…and they believed it.

    No. I’m not angry at all.

  3. Yup. And the results of that “fear of shitting yourself” drug? Usually about 5 extra pounds of weight loss compared to people who don’t live in fear of shitting themselves.

  4. Yes, all of this. I was recently talking with a friend who lost a lot of weight with the OTC Alli, and she explained that one unexpected consequence was that it gave her gall bladder stones, which are apparently excruciating, and she ultimately had surgery to remove her gall bladder. But hey! She lost 50 lbs!

  5. Oh, Coble. I am sorry.

    Emmy Lou, I was wondering about that with the Professor–whether your body’s filtration system can handle that kind of constant strain? Interesting to know the answer is sometimes “no,” though also scary.

  6. Agreed, to all of the above.

    I’ve been watching a friend who had gastric bypass update her facebook photos with pictures of her new, slim self. Her other friends are commenting on how great she looks. But I swear, she looks gaunt. Her teeth look gray, and I wonder how often she’s vomiting. And her eyes look deadened. Seriously, side by side with pictures of her old, fat self, the new self looks like something’s not right. I wonder about dehydration and vitamin deficiencies.

  7. Agreeing violently with all the outrageous sanity above.

    But I’m horrified for you Coble, and so sorry. I’ve struggled with this bugbear, like everybody else, and my family members have had the surgery or bear other monstrous crosses, but I’ve never seen it kill. To have it happen twice in succession is beyond my conprehension.

  8. I meant to add when I posted previously when I first moved to Nashville I only knew one person, a friend from grade & high school who worked at a local hospital. As it was, she worked the night shift on the floor which housed the post-op gastric bypass surgery patients.

    She told me stories about her work and most of those have left my brain. But what really stuck with me was how many (not all, certainly) of these people didn’t really treat these procedures as actual “surgery” — it was more of a cosmetic “fix” in their mind. And more often than not, she said the same patients came back at least a second time, as the weight lost on the first surgery doesn’t stay off if someone doesn’t make an effort to edit the eating habits pre-surgery. Sure, the operation is designed to allow a certain amount of food to be consumed — but eventually the stomach will stretch to allow more food over time.

    But echoing Coble — people are literally dying to be thin. That is horrifying.

  9. Thanks all for the sympathetic words. I did write a long, angry post at my own blog but deleted it when I felt it would step on the toes of my sister-in-law and others who thought the surgeries were a dandy idea and helped talk the now-dead woman into that decision. So it’s nice to finally vent a small bit.

    That’s what I think is missing. Beth mentioned the red-headed country singer whom I saw on an Oprah with her mother and sister, who basically admitted they were ashamed of her and relieved that she was finally going to be “normal”. Traci had her grandparents, parents, husband, aunts and uncles all rooting for her to get the surgery so she “wouldn’t embarrass [them] at restaurants anymore.” Melissa was a nurse whose company laid her off because she, as a fat woman, gave “the wrong image” to their patients. (Yes that was their right as a corporation I suppose but it still springs from a dark place in our societal consciousness.) These people are just a sampling of folks who are getting pressure from all corners because we’ve lost sight of the fact that thin DOESN’T automatically correlate to good health.

    And yes, I echo O.C. in that the people I know who’ve had bariatric surgery all look rather more as though they’ve had a protracted case of pneumonia or TB. They may be THIN but they do NOT look HEALTHY.

  10. Coble, I’m chiming in late (because I was so busy yesterday) to extend my sympathies. How sad.

    And also to say that it was generous of you not to vent about this at your own place, but that maybe in a few months you could take up the topic there more generally so that the people who would have been offended can be shown a different opinion.

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