weight loss supplements

I was in a computer training recently that was really more geared to computer users that don’t know much about using computers (“Do you know what the right mouse button does?”).  While waiting for directions on how to do basic functions, the internet kept me entertained.

He had us on the msn.com page, and there was a slide show of diets that work, so I clicked and skimmed through it.

Some of the items featured were things that I would agree are Good – books on different ways of eating well.  I’d need to read them really to know if they were any good, but based on the short synopses, they look healthy.

There were also several supplements listed.  They were considered healthy because they didn’t increase metabolism and/or heart rate like some of the old-school weight-loss supplements did.

One of them blocked the absorption of a significant percentage of fat.  Another messed with hunger hormones.

I have a couple of issues with these.

First, I’m not a fan of changing my body’s hormones unless they’re really not working right and there’s no other way to regulate them.  I also don’t want to change what my body is able to gain from food that I eat.  We need fat.  Fat is not inherently bad.

But perhaps more importantly (especially to those who don’t put as much value on the above as I), we tend to compensate for changes that we make.

I was reading What The Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell, and somewhere in the midst of that fascinating book, he was talking about taxis.  I don’t recall the city.  Anti-lock brakes were installed on half of the taxis, and the assumption was that the taxis with the anti-lock brakes would be safer than those without.  But that turned out not to be true.  The cabbies with the anti-lock brakes drove more recklessly, essentially cancelling out the safety factor of the brakes.

I think weight loss supplements like these are likely to do the same thing.

Also, much of the time when we overeat, it’s not because we’re hungry — we’re just eating.  A pill that stops your stomach from telling your brain that it’s hungry isn’t going to stop this type of overeating.

What it boils down to is making new habits.  If you want to lose weight, make new habits, generally one at a time.  To get started, most folks don’t need to have a lot of nutritional information — they simply need to eat less.  You won’t find that on a weight-loss slide show.

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