Monday, June 7, 2021

Weight loss drug and "My 600-lb Life" show stinkin thinkin about obesity

You may have read that the FDA approved a new weight loss drug, one of the pharmaceutical appetite suppressants called Wegovy. USA Today shared how one trial user was able to lose weight on these diet pills. Her frankly disturbing comments echo "My 600-lb Life" participants and show "stinkin thinkin" (thank you Al-Anon) about obesity. 

The Wegovy weight loss drug user said it's unrealistic to expect someone with chronic obesity to lose weight on "this or that diet." She said she's tried many diets and realized weight loss wasn't about willpower and that she had "something physical" that made her unable to lose weight. Very overweight gastric bypass patients on "My 600-lb Life" exhibit the same stinkin thinkin. What's stinkin thinkin? That's the Al-Anon term for disordered, self-destructive thought patterns. 

There's 3-prong stinkin thinkin going on here. First, the fatalistic notion that obesity is a genetic condition that requires diet pills. Obesity is nothing more than being very overweight. Unlike Prader-Willi Syndrome (a condition that causes people to feel constant hunger) obesity is not a disease of its own, only in that it leads to diseases like diabetes. Obesity doesn't cause you to overeat; you get obese by overeating. 

 "My 600-lb Life" participants often trot out Prader-Willi Syndrome to justify their failure to control eating. First, Prader-Willi is extremely rare. Dr. Now is always quick to set gastric bypass patients straight. It's not that they can't curb hunger, it's that they won't control eating. Also, even if you have Prader-Willi, appetite suppressants alone won't curb hunger. You have to learn new behaviors. 

Which leads to stinkin thinkin prong 2: The "special exemptions" claim to be unable to lose weight no matter what or how hard they try. I lost 100 pounds on a 1200 calorie diet. There is some meal plan that will work and if it doesn't it's the dieter's fault, not the diet. Which leads to stinkin thinkin prong 3, that obesity is inherited. 

"Fat families" doesn't mean people are predisposed to obesity. Generational obesity is down to nurture, not nature. "My 600-lb Life" shows overweight people in family settings and how they eat (terribly, too much, junk and fast food, etc.). It also shows how quickly they lose weight without any magic weight loss drug, on Dr. Now's gastric bypass 1200 calorie diet. 

Which disproves the Wegovy user's comment that willpower and self-control aren't involved. One more time for the people in the back: weight loss is ALL about learning self-control. A diet pill may help you curb hunger and lose weight but it won't help you keep pounds off. Lasting weight loss requires changing stinkin thinkin, eating habits and destructive patterns. 

I realize that all this sounds a little Draconian. I wish there was an easier way to beat obesity, but maybe it's for the best. At the bottom of food addiction (Al-Anon says with any addiction) are mental health issues which shortcuts won't address. So I'll end with the good news: I'm not the most put-together person and I lost 100 pounds without gastric bypass or prescribed appetite suppressants. You can too! 

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