With more than 50% of the adult population in the UK and the USA currently classed as overweight, medication might sound like a perfect answer and it’s not difficult to understand why. Many people struggle for years to lose weight, trying diet after diet with little or no success. Unfortunately, there are no magic pills and very little if any evidence to show that weight loss medication brings about any lasting results. Most people who lose weight whilst taking a diet pill put it all straight back on again afterward. There is only one way you can lose weight realistically, and that is to consume fewer calories over a period of time than your body uses up. Weight loss medication is designed to artificially bring about this negative calorie balance.

There are basically 3 main ways in which weight loss medication works. Stimulants boost your metabolism so that you burn up more calories. Appetite suppressants trick your brain into telling you that you are full so that you eat fewer calories. Absorption inhibitors prevent fat and other nutrients from being absorbed by the body so that they are expelled and fewer calories are retained.

It is a sad symptom of our society today that instead of doing what we know for sure works; i.e. a healthy diet and more exercise, many people still look for a lazy way to lose weight that can also be detrimental to their health. Diet pills carry a number of serious health implications particularly if you suffer from heart problems, high blood pressure, and many other medical conditions. They can also produce a variety of unpleasant side effects. Compare that with the fact that there are no side effects associated with eating a healthy diet and increasing your level of activity. The evidence clearly shows that a natural option is far more likely to result in permanent weight loss and better health than an artificial one, and yet many people continue to look for a quick fix.

The following are a few of the more common weight loss medications available either over the counter or on prescription.

Adipex – works by suppressing your appetite suppressant.

Bontril – is also an appetite suppressant.

Didrex (benzphetamine hydrochloride) – works similarly to amphetamine or speed to boost your metabolism and decrease your appetite.

Ionamin or phentermine – is an appetite suppressant.

Phendimetrazine – boosts your metabolism.

Reductil (Meridia in the US) or Sibutramine – works by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin and noradrenaline in the brain giving you a “feel good” effect and making you feel full earlier than you normally would.

Tenuate – is a metabolism booster; it increases heart rate and blood pressure and decreases your appetite.

Xenical – inhibits the absorption of fats into the body

Weight loss medication is usually only prescribed by a physician to overweight people who have a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 30 or more, or sometimes less than 30 where there are serious risks to your health by being overweight that outweigh the risk of taking medication. Your BMI can be described as a body/fat ratio calculated using your height and weight and is an internationally recognized measure of obesity. If your BMI is between 25 and 30 then you are classed as overweight, if it’s 30 or over then you are considered obese.

Weight loss medication puts an added strain on your body. This in itself should set alarm bells ringing. If your body is already under pressure from excess weight then why would anyone choose to make the situation worse? Diet pills can also interact with other medications you might be taking to counteract their effectiveness and, in some cases, can be highly addictive.

So what is the answer? The answer lies in the fundamental truth that the most efficient way to lose weight is to eat a healthy diet and to monitor your calorie intake so that you consume less than you are burning up. If you up your level of activity too then you will have the added bonus of an increased level of fitness and will speed up the process. Only in this way can you ultimately ensure a healthy and consistent weight loss. Permanent weight loss cannot be found in a bottle, it doesn’t happen overnight either, and it certainly won’t come by itself. You have to make the decision to lose weight and then take control of your diet. Once you’ve done that, you’re on the road to a slimmer, healthier, and happier you.

How to work out your BMI

A simple way to work out your own BMI is to divide your weight in kilograms squared by your height in centimeters. So for example, if your height is 160 centimeters and your weight is 60 kilograms, you divide 60 x 60 by 160. 60 x 60 = 3600 divided by 160 is 22.5. You have a BMI of 22.5, which is well within the normal range.

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