Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Obesity pills and stone soup

May I have the envelope please? The winner of the "no-brainer" award goes to... (drum roll)... the National Institutes of Health!

I promise I'm not making this up: In a study by NIH that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, we discover that obese patients lose more weight if they make a lifestyle change in addition to taking a diet pill. Apparently, those who merely took medication and continued unchanged their "standard" routine lost only 11 pounds per year. Others, who swallowed the same medicine, but limited daily caloric intake to 1500, exercised, tracked their food, and attended a group; lost 27 pounds.

Please excuse me while I climb upon my soapbox.

Hello?!? This report is news? It goes without saying (or so I naively thought) that if one restricts calories, walks regularly, tracks eating habits, and elicits support; the unavoidable result will be fewer pounds. Frankly, I'm astonished it was only 27.

It brings to mind the "stone soup" fable. Entering a village with nothing to his name but a rock, a poverty-stricken vagabond seeking a meal discloses that he has an extraordinary stone. When boiled with water, it is the only ingredient necessary to bring forth a delicious soup. "Of course," he adds, "it will be better if the community would provide broth, vegetables, and other provisions." The population does so; the result is a rich, magnificent stew.

Naturally it was not the rock that made the flavor; everything else did. Equally obvious to me is the diet pill didn't cause the weight loss; everything else did.

Expecting to merely swallow a capsule and lose weight is tantamount to slipping into new tennis shoes, anticipating they provide the ability to run a marathon. Herbs, capsules, and tablets might be tools; but they are certainly not magic wands.

It is human to long for a supernatural concoction, which - without effort - provides youth, vigor, a flat belly, and the ability to rebuke both common sense and the laws of nutrition.

Bad news: it doesn't exist. And I agree; it's a full-size, colossal, cranky, bummer.

The good news is we're each capable and smart enough to succeed anyhow.

Yet, if you really believe a pill is all it takes to get skinny, there are folks who will try to sell you a bridge in San Francisco.

About the author: Scott "Q" Marcus, THINspirational speaker, lost 70 pounds 11 years ago, and conducts presentations on goal setting, attitude, and health throughout the country. He provides a FREE motivational ezine and can be reached at 707.442.6243 or

No comments: