Weight Loss Strategies

Dave Tenley, R.Ph. - Norton and Wadsworth Locations

Too many celebrations, too many cookies, TOO MUCH WEIGHT GAINED!!! HELP!

Dieting is a topic that weighs heavy on our minds this time of year.  Making the decision to start a weight reduction program in winter is difficult as our bodies are programmed to store fat during this time, to use as an insulator as well as for an energy source on an "if needed" basis.  Procrastination, though, is our biggest enemy.  Don't put it off, instead, take it off and most importantly, keep it off.

So how do we get started?  First, we need to realize that weight loss is a long process that requires behavioral changes, activity changes, and possibly supplement and/or prescription medications.  Behavioral changes include involvement of friends/family members as well as healthy eating habits.  We need to set realistic goals and use long-term strategies versus the quick-fix (yo-yo diets).  Within these goals, we need to remember there will be set backs and discouragements.  An example is, as we increase activity, muscle tissue will increase as fat decreases.  Therefore, do not rely on the weight scale solely for your success.

How do we set a realistic goal?  It is important to remember that just a 5% to 10% reduction in body weight is extremely beneficial to curb tendencies for hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.  Another goal is your diet.  Try to set your caloric intake based on your daily expenditure of calories. In other words, burn more than you eat.  Be aware of those empty calories such as white bread, chips, and pasta.  Replace with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish and lean meats.  Lastly, a goal of increased activity is paramount.  As mentioned earlier, your calories expenditure needs to be greater than calorie intake.  Without the task of trying to figure your daily expenditure, most of us would benefit greatly with a time commitment of exercising just two hours per week.  This is best, for example, to be broken up into three to four times each week.  Your commitment here is realized with feedback after you step on those scales or notice your clothes are getting loser.  If you are not seeing these results, you will need to modify your exercise time and/or dietary intake.

Let's take a look at a couple of customer's questions:

Q: Dr Oz, women's magazines, TV ads/infomercials… I see all these supplements that are supposed to help me lose weight - do they work?

A: The most important thing to remember here is that supplements can be helpful when combined with setting goals, proper diet and sufficient exercise, but not solely by themselves.  Some current popular diet supplements are:

Green Coffee Bean: shown to promote short term weight loss up to 12 weeks.  It works by increasing both glucose and fat metabolism.
Garcinia Cambogia: may be labeled as HCA (hydroxycitric acid) which is the active part of Garcinia.  It is harvested from a fruit that has benefits in increasing fat breakdown, decreasing fat formation and reducing food intake. This product has shown to have long term benefits especially with exercise.
Raspberry Ketones: shown to increase a substance needed to burn calories instead of storing calories.  Watch as this product can also increase blood pressure.
CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid): has shown to decrease appetite and may help reduce body fat.  Watch as this product my adversely affect good cholesterol (HDL).
Chromium: most commonly available in the picolinate form and has shown to decrease weight by affecting the action of insulin on your body's glucose


Q: My sister has a lot of weight to lose - are there prescription medications to help her?

A: Yes, a couple of medications were recently released in 2012 that are indicated as a long term treatment option.  They are Belviq® and Qsymia™.  Both medications are unique in their actions and do need screened to see if one is appropriate for you.  Of note, Qsymia™ has on-line support tools such as a food log, activity log, weight tracker, recipe search and calorie burn.

Seeking and following reputable guidelines are important to the success of your weight loss.  As an aid, Ritzman Pharmacy's web site has a section on the home page called "Wellness Library" where you can look up current factual information you need to make informed decisions.  Also, for your convenience, we have freestanding iPads at most Ritzman locations where you can also do product searches, check diet strategies, and even print off or e-mail recipes to yourself that you may want to try. 

Most important, always check with your physician prior to starting any type of diet program.  Also, of importance, is to consult with your pharmacist prior to starting any supplement to make sure it is safe and effective for you.  This "team" type of approach will lead to increasing your chances for success.