Dr Alfred Dawes | Lose weight instantly!!!
Someone asked me recently, in between bites of fried chicken and fries, if I would give them a tummy tuck. Not wanting to cast judgement, I asked if this was a cheat day on their diet and they flat out said no, but they would stick to a diet after the procedure.
"But if you put yourself in a caloric deficit, you could lose more weight from all over than I could cut off your belly. Then we could address any loose skin with a tummy tuck."
"No. That's gonna take too long."
"What about your overall heath? What you're eating now is bad for you even if your belly is flat"/
"It's just my belly that's the problem. I want it fixed now."
That conversation reminded me that we have entered an era where now is the most important time ever.
"We want information, the internet gives it to us now. We want to buy something, we can get it immediately online or from a wide selection of stores that are open late.
Transportation - call or click. Weight loss - results promised in six weeks or less. In fact, some fad diets use 10 days or less to capture the imagination of weight battlers. Programmes promise to transform your body in 90 days. Then they are supplanted by others that guarantee results in eight weeks. The quicker the time to results, and the more weight lost , is the better the programme.
...We get you fat, we get rich; We try to get you slim, we get richer
Billions of dollars are spent each year trying to lose weight. The weight-loss industry is so rewarding that the very companies that sell sugary drinks and fast foods are the same ones who are the biggest profiteers from selling weight-loss products and programmes. We get you fat, we get rich, we try to get you slim, we get richer.
Detoxes and slimming teas are flying off the shelves. Shakes and supplements that guarantee weight loss are advertised ad nauseum on social media, mainstream media ,and by unlucky friends who unwittingly signed up to a pyramid scheme.
There is one company that operates in Jamaica that achieves the promised weight loss goals but many of their patients put on back all the weight and some more after they come off the products. I know this because many of them end up becoming my patients.
Whereas we can see the obvious causes of the obesity crisis - junk food and inactivity - much harder to see is the damage caused by fad diets and 'Lose Weight Fast' programmes.
Many persons frustrated with their weight fall prey to these establishments hawking the next big thing in weight loss. Even the medical community has its fair share of blame to go around.
Popular TV host Dr Oz was raked across hot coals by a Senate Committee looking into his touting of weight-loss aids on his TV show. For years, colleagues of Dr Oz had been panning his enthusiastic endorsements of products with no scientific evidence to back up their claims as miracle supplements.
Diet pills such as Fen-Fen have been taken off the market and other supplements have been ordered to remove dangerous ingredients, such as ephedrine, from their products. In spite of these moves, the lose-weight- quick market continues to thrive, driven by nutritional experts and Instagram models. Everybody wants to look good now and what should be the ideal reason for weight loss, improved health, takes a back seat.
... Getting trapped on a hamster wheel in a desperate attempt to shed the regained weight
Losing weight rapidly on crash diets is usually not sustainable, because the associated lifestyle changes needed to maintain the results do not accompany the diet. Additionally, the dieter loses skeletal muscle mass that would usually burn fat while resting, contributing to a higher metabolic rate. When you lose weight and a significant portion of that is water weight and muscle, you are in a worse-off situation than when you started. The water weight begins to come back immediately after the diet ends. The fat returns with a vengeance, because there is less muscle to use as fuel.
The result: you lose weight fast but then you hit a plateau and come off the diet, leading to rapid return of the lost weight and then some. This is an all-too-familiar story told by my patients, many of whom get trapped on a hamster wheel in a desperate attempt to shed the regained weight.
Many so-called fitness experts on social media hawk products with their lean physiques as if it were that supplement that got them fit. However, a supplement company merely needs to sign a contract with someone who has many followers in order to get their product advertised. This is the new frontier of marketing, and it is working well.
The Fitness Model phenomenon has boomed over the last few years, especially on picture-sharing platform Instagram. Many start-up supplement companies are using these models to target their followers in a never before seen precision marketing thrust, where the followers are extremely likely to be interested in getting fit and are therefore a captive audience for their ads.
Nobody thinks that the persons they are aspiring to look like are earning a living from looking fit, because their social media accounts portray them as regular folks on a fitness journey. This is a completely different game from a bodybuilder selling supplements. Only now they are selling an impossible dream with a hefty price tag.
The dangers of weight-loss products continue to be overlooked because of the money to be made selling them. We focus on junk food and sugar, but turn a blind eye to an equally important contributor to the obesity crisis.
As usual, as long as profits are to be made, who cares if the consumer is harmed. Welcome to the new world.
- Dr Alfred Dawes is a general laparoscopic and weight-loss surgeon at the Island Laparoscopy and Medical Care;