Just a friendly warning- I will be talking a little bit about poo. If poo offends you, I suggest you skip over that section or click the X at the top of this tab.
So far I am a little over a week into the Alli Weight Loss System. My starting weight was 176 pounds and I have set a goal of 135-140 pounds. I noticed results in the first two days, and YES you do have to change the way you eat and exercise.
About the product:
For those that don’t know this is an OTC (over the counter) version of the prescription medication Orlistat or Xenical. It is a fat blocker. (I’ll explain more about that in a sec) I bought the “starter kit” with 60 pills, a pill case, and literature on Alli. You can buy a larger kit, but just starting out, I’d suggest not spending the extra money until you know if this system is right for you. You take one pill with each meal *containing* fat.It is also suggested that you start to take a daily multivitamin in conjunction. Again, I’ll touch on that in a moment. When you get your kit, I suggest you go to the website with your code and create an account. You can create an account without purchasing if you are interested in the program. The website will have a quiz section for you to determine how many fat grams you should be consuming each meal based on your current lifestyle/weight. It can be anywhere from 15-20 grams of fat per meal. There are a ton of guides, forums, recipes, and facts to help you along the way. A lot of what is covered in the literature that comes in the kit is on the website as well.
About the “drug” part of the program:
Orlistat is the active ingredient in Alli (half the dose as in Xenical) Orlistat prevents the body from absorbing fats that a person consumes in their daily diet thus leading to less caloric intake. The drugs have been proven modestly effective in helping a person lose weight. So when I said “fat blocker” it does just that. And what happens to something that is not absorbed into the body kids? Poop.
Now to my next point. DO NOT think that you can start taking this if you have no intention of changing your eating habits and lifestyle! This is not a magic fix-it pill. There is no such thing. A diet low in fat and calories can dramatically improve your overall health. You don’t in fact need a drug to lost weight, but I like Alli because it keeps me honest(I’m getting to the poop- hold on) My relationship with food was an emotional one. Thus why I needed the extra step in my diet. All too often I have hidden behind food as a comfort for what was happening in my life. I went on a junk food bender when I had a bad day (which there for a while was A LOT), when I had a fight with the husband, when I was disgusted with how I looked(yeah really healthy behavior I know) or just when I was bored! That’s no way to live. That’s a way to die. It opens you up to a whirl pool of self loathing and self defeating behaviors that could in fact lead to other destructive behaviors! But that’s an entirely different post for a later time.
Every gram of protein you eat turns into 4 calories. Every gram of carbohydrate is also 4 calories. But every gram of fat is 9 calories, which is why everyone should eat a low-fat diet. So if you normally ate 100 grams of fat in a day, that would be 900 calories. With Alli, you’d only absorb 75 grams or 675 calories. Alli blocks 25% of the fat you are consuming. From the Mayo Clinic website:
“Alli promotes weight loss by decreasing absorption of fat by the intestines, which reduces the number of calories you absorb.
Lipase, an enzyme found in the digestive tract, helps break down dietary fat into smaller components, so it can be used or stored for energy. Alli works by disabling lipase, which prevents the enzyme from breaking down the fat while it’s in your digestive tract. The undigested fat continues through the intestines and is eliminated through bowel movements.
Alli is taken with fat-containing meals, up to three times a day. Because of how Alli works, it’s recommended that you eat no more than 15 grams of fat with each meal. Eating greater amounts of fat can cause unwanted effects, such as urgent bowel movements, diarrhea and gas with oily spotting.”
Also about why you should take a multivitamin before bed and what kind to take:
“Some dietary vitamins bind to fat (vitamins A, D, E and beta- carotene). When orlistat is taken, these vitamins are not absorbed and are eliminated in the stool in increased amounts along with the fat. Therefore, patients taking orlistat should take a multivitamin containing these “fat-soluble” vitamins to ensure that adequate amounts of the vitamins are available for absorption. To ensure that the vitamins in the multivitamins are not bound to fat like the vitamins in the diet, the multivitamin should be taken at least two hours before or several hours after the Orlistat.”
Now the “issues” that some people complain about:
Read a lot of negative reviews for Alli? Well, I can tell you first hand that the people that experienced “treatment effects” were those that did NOT follow the diet (the definition of diet is literally what you are consuming, not “to diet” as in lose weight) recommended and did nothing to change their lifestyle. The above mentioned “treatment effects” are: “gas with oily spotting, loose stools, and more frequent stools that may be hard to control.” So you read people who have had accidents and stained underwear.
I can tell you FIRST HAND that those people tried to go ahead and eat that Big Mac and Large Fries!! Think about it folks, since you’ve eaten all that extra fat, if it’s not absorbed it still has to go somewhere and that somewhere is in the toilet! You have to change your way of thinking about food and realize the changes that need to be made- with or without a drug!!! How do your BM’s actually change? Well, there will be oil, like I said it has to go somewhere. But you will not be “leaking” if you are on track with how many grams of fat you are consuming with each meal/dose you take. The oil I noticed when “wiping” looks a lot like what you would blot off of a greasy pizza with a napkin and there was some in the bowl before I flushed. I have experience NO unexpected anything with this. Not even extra gas. I have experienced none of the above mentioned effects.
By changing my diet in conjunction with taking Alli, in 8 days I have lost a little over 6 pounds and I can tell you I already feel much better about my body and my ability to take control over food instead of it taking control over me!! This product isn’t supposed to dramatically affect weight loss and that’s not what I’m after. For any “diet” to be successful and healthy, it takes gradual changes over a longer period of time. You will be more likely to stick with it. A few things that I recommend as baby steps toward gaining control over food are;
Eat from a smaller plate. Even if you portion out your food onto a larger plate, we will see the empty space as “not eating enough”.
Drink water. Lots of it. Especially while you are eating and at least 8 ounces before a meal.
When you are eating, eat slower. Give yourself about 15 minutes after you eat before deciding if you are “full” or not. Scientifically, there’s about a 15-minute lag between when you’re stomach gets this message and when you’re brain gets it. After that 15 minutes it will be easier to avoid “seconds”.
Don’t let yourself go hungry! You CAN snack with Alli. There are a ton of healthy low-fat or fat free choices out there. Stock up on them and bring them with you when you are out.
Since I am just talking about Alli today, I will include another post later about what I have been eating and way to dine out while “dieting”.
I hope this was helpful for those curious about the program. I do have to warn that this IS NOT RIGHT FOR EVERYONE. There are certain risks (as there are with everything) that you should make yourself aware of before beginning this or any other program or drug. This is what I’ve found about the only possible interactions/side effects with the treatment:
What I learned online about the “reported cases of liver damage” that prompted the FDA to issue a warning, keep in mind that this drug is still FDA APPROVED. —-”Doctors are urged to watch patients for signs of liver damage. The whites of a person’s eye turning yellow, dark urine, yellow patches on the skin or loss of appetite are indicators a person’s liver is struggling. In the 13 cases reported, the patients may have had underlying conditions that led to the severe liver damage. Those who experienced the damage had also taken other drugs. Two patients died and three needed liver transplants. All but one case was outside the United States.”
“The blood thinning effect of warfarin (Coumadin) depends on the amount of vitamin K in the body, and vitamin K is one of the vitamins that binds to fat. Patients receiving warfarin who begin orlistat should have their blood clotting monitored closely because the orlistat may cause levels of vitamin K to decline. This will increase the effects of warfarin and lead to abnormal bleeding from the warfarin. There is no evidence that a deficiency of vitamin K occurs in patients who are taking orlistat.
Orlistat may reduce the absorption and blood levels of cyclosporine (Sandimmune) when both drugs are administered together. Therefore, cyclosporine should be administered two hours before or after orlistat, and more frequent monitoring of cyclosporine levels may be needed.”
What I take from this- If you are on ANY other medications, or have existing medical issues ASK YOUR DOCTOR if the drug is safe for you to use. Always inform your doctor of any OTC meds/supplements you are taking!! Always. The best way to protect yourself is to stay informed about what you are putting in your body. Get regular checkups! There are so many PREVENTABLE illnesses out there. We have to get smarter people!
Happy Monday and take care everyone!
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