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Is Alli Your Ally?

Debbie Schroeder RN, BSN
Professional Health Coach

As a pharmaceutical research nurse one of my favorite clinical
research trials was the Orlistat Study.  Orlistat is the generic
for Alli.  This was a well designed clinical trial.  The patients
were closely monitored and I had the ability to do diet and
nutritional counseling with my patients.

Being part of this research study awakened my real passion in life. 
I discovered I really enjoyed helping people lose weight and achieve
their ideal body image.  It was very rewarding to watch people
transform their body and be excited about their success.  However,
as the research study progressed I notice some interesting things. 
The patients who were successful on the study were the ones who made
the necessary lifestyle changes to achieve weight loss.  They
significantly modified their diet to a well balanced nutritional
program and they started an active exercise regimen.  The patients who
did not do the necessary dietary and exercise changes recommended by
the study, did not have much if any success.

The patients who were on the research drug and not following the
dietary guidelines were also experiencing some embarrassing and
unpleasant side effects.  One patient went to the movies and ate
buttered popcorn; she was unable to make it to the bathroom in time
to prevent an embarrassing accident.  Another patient went out for a
nice dinner with her husband and later that night while making love
had an embarrassing accident.  There were many stories of this
nature.  These side effects were definatelly a deterrent for
consuming high fat meals.  The patients did not want to risk the
embarrassment of those side effects.

I was surprised that this drug ever made it to market.  It seemed so
obvious to me that the weight loss had little to do with the drug
and everything to do with the patient's commitment to their health
and wellness program.  However reflecting back, there was no way the
pharmaceutical company could really measure the patient's
commitment or quality of counseling the patients received from the
study nurse.

Ask yourself, if I am going to have to eat a balanced diet and
exercise anyway for the medication to be effective, isn't it better
to skip the medication and side effects and change my lifestyle with
support and guidance?  How good is it for me to take a medication
that blocks fat absorption?  Do you realize some fat is necessary to
absorb certain essential vitamins?  I don't believe there will ever
be a quick fix when it comes to weight loss.  As much as we would
all like to eat anything we want and never have to move, that is a
fantasy.  Your weight did not come onto your body by itself and it
not going to leave the body with a pill.

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