When I was in high school, I tried just about everything (except the most obvious thing, exercise) to lose weight. One of the worst things I did, all stemmed from a visit to a renowned (but totally weirdo) old-timey Trini doctor, who prescribed a drug to “treat my overweight condition.” (I will never forget that turn of phrase). It was called Isomeride. If you click on that link, it’ll take you to a Google Books excerpt from Dispensing with the Truth: The Victims, the Drug Companies, and the Dramatic Story Behind the Battle over Fen-Phen. That’s a book about the inadvertent deaths and long-term side effects women suffer from the very profitable diet drug industry. That excerpt is terrifying to me, because Isomeride was the French name for dexfenfluramine. Dexfenfluramine is the “fen” from “fen phen.” And we all remember Fen-phen.
People thought fen-phen was safe, because it was approved by the FDA. Women died, and others suffered heart damage because of those quick-weight-loss promises. Isomeride made my hands shake so bad I could hardly hold a glass, and I distinctly remember one day when I cold sweated through my school uniform shirt. Needless to say, I didn’t last long on Isomeride.
And that early teenage experience made me unable to trust any diet drug. It made me a skeptic about lots of prescription medicines, especially the ones that are heavily advertised on television. But I will admit, on my down days — for example, when I discovered that one of the brilliant commenters on AllHipHop.com (a website I read often and enjoy) felt like calling me a “fat bitch,” (scroll down, it’s there) — I feel that inner twinge of teenager self-doubt and depression. Sometimes, I’m tempted to succumb to the quick fixes.
So when I got a press release about Alli, I actually entertained the thought of writing back to get a review sample. It’s FDA approved, and could help me increase my weight loss by 50%. It would stop me from absorbing fat from the food I eat. Sounds great, right? But having had my Isomeride experience, I just HAD to look at the side effects. Excuse me, “treatment effects.”
I quote: “The treatment effects may include gas with oily spotting, loose stools, and more frequent stools that may be hard to control.”
Wow. No thank you.
The Alli book even includes this tidbit of healthy advice: “You may feel an urgent need to go to the bathroom. Until you have a sense of your treatment effects, it’s probably a smart idea to wear dark pants, and bring a change of clothes with you to work. ” Sweet.
But hey, look on the bright side! They also mention, “anecdotally, many users have told us that treatment effects served as a signal that helped them adopt healthier eating patterns.” USA Today featured an article where Alli users seemed to enjoy having a constant reminder to not go for that second slice of pizza. The drug company’s VP even admitted to having soiled himself because of it. While those side effects aren’t as terrifying as permanent heart damage, that’s a signal I would never, ever want to get. Call me a control freak, but I prefer my bowel movements to be predictable.
After all these years, I finally get it. There is no quick fix for me. My weight loss journey is going to be long and hard, but it’ll be worth it in the end for the discipline I’ll gain. So I’m just gonna stick to the healthy eating, drinking lots of water, and working out, and skip the Alli and any risk of “oily spotting.” But if any of you have tried it, let me know if it really works!
I was recently sent a sample of a wacky but totally innocuous and kind of fun weight loss product, Joey LipFIT Lip Balm.
It’s a clear, super slick gloss that contains “a proprietary blend of peppermint, grapefruit and spearmint fragrances. When applied to the lips, the fresh minty aroma has been proven to safely help inhibit appetite.” I must admit, I like this product. I can’t say that I’ve lost a single pound since I started using it. But it’s a really light, not gloppy, slippery lip gloss. In terms of texture, it’s like Blistex Lip Infusion Moisture Splash. In terms of scent and flavor, it’s like a milder, not-sweet version of CO Bigelow’s Mentha Lip Shine. I likee.
LipFit is part of Joey New York’s Urges collection of glosses and lipsticks, each of which puports to affect your mind through aromachology. I also tried the cinnaMEN Lip Gloss Duo, which uses the scents of cinnamon and vanilla to entrance those you are about to kiss.
The site exclaims: “It is a proven fact that men are attracted to the aromas of cinnamon and vanilla. These lipsticks, lip glosses, lip palettes and lip balms contain a blend of vanilla and cinnamon fragrances that when applied to the lips, the irresistible aroma will get his attention!” My husband doesn’t dig when I get lip gloss all over him, but I think he liked the scent and flavor.
I really liked the Cotton Candy/Cherry Pink combination — the cherry pink is surprisingly sexy, sheer and subtle, and cotton candy is a little too Proenza Pink on it’s own, but makes a great layering color for dark lipstains like my beloved Vincent Longo Baby Boo. The Cherry Pink is the cinnamon side, and it’s a little tingly. The vanilla is yummy, and the gloss isn’t too sticky or gloppy. Two thumbs up, but at $22, bellas on a budget might want to check out the CO Bigelow Cinnamint Mentha Lip Shine instead. It’s a steal at $7.50.
What’s the silliest weight loss product you’ve ever tried?