Slimming Pills - A shortcut?

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I would like to highlight in what my view is a shortcut to nothing! Slimming pills have been available on the NHS for a while now, but how much do you really know about them?

Most of us have been on diets of one sort of another and we are always being told which foods are good or bad for us. Very simply THERE IS NO EASY SHORTCUT! For the majority of people losing weight is an arduous and lengthy task.

First of all, are you really overweight?

This is easily judged by calculating your BMI (Body Mass Index). Your weight in relation to your height gives an estimate of how much of your body is made up of fat.

Take your weight in kilograms (kg) and divide it by your height in metres (m) then divide whatever you get by your height again.

The BMI ranges are as follows

18.5 - 24.09 Healthy Weight
25 - 29.9 Overweight
30 - 39.9 Obese
40 + Severely Obese

Do diets really work?

There have been many fad diets in the press recently, some combining food groups and some almost to absurd to even contemplate. Then you have the obvious choice of a lot of people crash dieting.

Brace yourself......

Look at losing weight as a long-term goal; combining a lower calorie diet with increased physical activity has more success than a diet alone. When it comes to losing weight don't be surprised to learn that you may need to change your lifelong eating habits!

Most people that concentrate solely on reducing their calorie intake put weight back on within 2-3 years.

If you are overweight and have a health problem such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or arthritis your G.P may be able to arrange for you to see a dietician to get advice about changing to a healthier way of living!

Can prescribed medication help?

If you do have a weight problem, or a serious health problem linked to your weight, and conventional ways of losing weight haven't helped, your G.P may suggest that you try taking medication to help you lose weight.

Here are facts on three well-known brands.

Orlistat (Brand name Xenical) is a new medicine designed to assist with weight loss.

It is only suitable if you are very overweight (with BMI over 30) or have a BMI over 28 with a health-associated risk (i.e. diabetes). It is normally prescribed by a G.P.

How it works

Orlistat works by stopping chemicals (emzymes) mad in your gut (intestine) from breaking down fat. This means that less fat and therefore less calories are absorbed from the food you eat. The undigested fat passes through your body and out in faeces.

It is not meant for long-term use (over two years). There are also side affects, largely due to the extra fat in the faeces.

These include:
Oily leakage from the anus (reported in 27%of cases)
Wind with oily leakage (24%)
An urgent need to open bowels (22%)
Smelly oily faeces (20%)

With this drug the side effects tend to improve over time, possibly because people realise that such problems are less likely to arise if they stick to a low fat diet!

You do not need to take a capsule if there is no fat in your meal.


This is a diet pill often prescribed by private slimming clinics. Most doctors agree that there is no real value to taking this pill.

Whilst it is designed to cut your appetite down, it can be addictive and also carries the small risk of causing permanent damage to blood vessels in the lungs.


This is a drug that swells up in your gut and is claimed to make you feel full, and therefore you eat less. There is also little evidence that this product works.

After studying the above, it really does not seem quite so tempting to take a 'shortcut to nothing'.

Motivation is a big part of losing weight, you don't need to starve yourself or miss out on things you enjoy, just be sensible about them!

Slimming clubs are an excellent way of meeting like-minded people who can support and offer advice. After all you are all there for the same reason! Even if you can't join a club, grab a pal and go for a walk! Get off a stop early from the bus stop. ALL exercise brings you closer to keeping your heart and soul healthy for a longer life!!

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