Common Weightloss Medications
There are a variety of prescription medications that can help with your weight loss goal and diet efforts. Always consult with your doctor to determine what is best for your particular circumstances.
Most weight loss medications work by changing the way you perceive hunger, helping to lower appetite and control cravings. These medications make it easier to avoid overeating and to stick to low-calorie diets. Some medications may also affect how your body metabolizes certain nutrients and stores fat.
- Orlistat – This medication comes in brand names such as Alli or Xenical. Orlistat blocks some fat absorption, reducing the overall amount of fat absorbed by each meal. Because this affects how your body absorbs food, certain nutrients such as vitamins A, D, E and K become harder to absorb. Typically a multivitamin is advised to be taken in tandem with Orlistat.
- Liraglutide– This is one of the many appetite suppressant drugs available to treat weight problems. Liraglutide activates areas of your brain that regulate appetite, mimicking a hormone that tells your brain you’re full. Liraglutide is marketed under the brand names Victoza and Saxenda.
- Phentermine – Phentermine may be prescribed under the name brands Adipex or Suprenza. It is also one of the two drugs in Qysmia. Phentermine is an appetite suppressant that helps promote feelings of fullness.
- Naltrexone/Bupropion – This combination of drugs is sold under the brand name Contrave. Separately, the drugs are typically used to treat substance addiction and seasonal depression, but combined they are used to reduce hunger and control cravings.
Be cautious about miracle diet pills with marketing claims that sound too good to be true. They often are, and some could even cause health issues. Over-the-counter dietary aids do not have the same scrutiny by the FDA as prescription medication does.
Obesity Increasing in the US
Obesity has become an epidemic in the United States with over 70% of Americans now obese or overweight. Much of this is the result of our sedentary lifestyles and easy access to high-calorie foods. The modern world is not the environment our bodies naturally evolved in, so it requires some extra work and attention to keep the pounds off.
Health Concerns of Being Overweight
There are a variety of health conditions which can be caused or exacerbated by excess weight. While many people might want to get in shape because they want to look better, health issues should be a primary concern for those struggling with weight issues.
Obesity increases the risk of serious health problems such as Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and stroke. Heart disease in particular is one of leading causes of death in the United States. Being overweight has also been linked to sexual
Even small reductions in excess body fat can greatly reduce your likelihood of health complications from obesity.
What Weight is Right for You?
Because every body is unique, there is no specific measurement that can tell you whether your current weight is healthy or not. However, a reasonable stand-in is your BMI (Body Mass Index). Based on this BMI scale, a score of less than 18.5 is considered underweight, 18.5 to 24.9 is normal and anything over 25 is considered overweight. If you have a BMI of 30 or more, then you are considered obese.
But what is BMI? Your BMI is a calculation that provides a “rule of thumb” to broadly categorize your weight class. It is a calculation based on your weight and height. Some health experts may also consider a person’s age when determining how to categorize a BMI. Different categorizations may be used across the world.
To calculate your BMI, take your weight in pounds and divide by your height in inches squared. Then multiply by 703. You can also use online calculators such as the BMI calculator provided by the CDC.
Simple Tips to Help with Weightloss
- Watch Your Calories – Fat is accumulated in the body by taking in more calories than are burned. By keeping an eye on the amount of calories you’re eating each day, you can work to keep them under the average number of calories you’re estimated to burn. Using a calorie tracking journal or mobile app can help you calculate and monitor your caloric intake.
- Avoid Fad Diets – Many diets come along and sound fun or easy, but their efficacy is usually suspect. They can also be difficult to maintain once the novelty wears off. Your weightloss journey should be a long-term commitment to changing daily habits. Gimmicks will not be effective in the long run and may distract you from focusing on what will actually bring results.
- Set Reasonable Goals & Expectations – Weight loss is something that takes time to do healthily. You shouldn’t expect to drop 20 lbs overnight with one simple change. Instead, focus on making steady progress week-to-week. Your weight can also naturally fluctuate by around 5 lbs day-to-day, so it’s important to keep in mind that a long-term trend downward should be the goal. If you understand that reaching your target weight could be a year-long journey or more, then you won’t be discouraged by seeing little progress in the first few days. Plan on sticking to your diet and exercise plan for at least six months.
- Limit Your Portions at Restaurants – You should always check the nutritional information at restaurants and don’t be afraid to ask if they aren’t provided on the menu. Typically, a single meal at a restaurant is far more calories than is needed for one meal. While it might be best to avoid eating out all together, there will be times when you need to order out or just want to indulge. If you go into a restaurant meal understanding that you don’t need to finish the whole meal, then you will have a better chance of not overeating. Decide before you start eating how much of the meal you plan to take home so you can stick to an acceptable caloric intake.
- Start an Exercise Routine – While managing caloric intake is an important part of losing weight, you can also keep weight off by making sure that you are burning enough calories throughout the day. This can be a particular challenge for people with sedentary lifestyles, like office workers. Every little bit of physical activity will help you increase the amount of calories you burn, so find a particular routine that works for you. You can also mix up the type of exercises to work well for your lifestyle. Playing sports like tennis or golf can be a great way to work in some socializing into your exercise routine, and if you can’t find time to get to the gym regularly, consider buying some basic weights for exercising at home. You can even find ways to exercise at your desk, or work in simple breaks to walk around and stretch your legs during the work day.
- Get Support from Family and Friends – Social pressure can be a major driver in cheating on a diet and exercise plan. Friends might guilt you into skipping the gym to go hang out, or social outings could come with high-calorie foods and beverages like pasta, cakes and beer. If you ensure that the people you’re close to understand your weight loss goals and what it will take to achieve them, then they can be more supportive and avoid situations that might derail you from your diet and exercise plan. They could choose physical activities like playing sports as a way to enjoy each others’ company or ensure that healthy food options are available at parties and events they invite you to.