Q:

Is weight loss medication bad? I tried eating healthy & exercising but no luck. Any suggestions?

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Answers (8)

EXPERT
Dr. Andrea Ruman, MD (Internist) answered

Weight loss and weight maintenance therapy should be based on a comprehensive weight management program including diet, physical activity, and behavior therapy. The combination therapy is more successful than using any one intervention alone. Data has been published to suggest that commercial weight loss programs like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig can help people achieve weight loss. These programs help explain calorie restriction, review exercise goals and promote group support and weekly weigh ins that make you accountable for staying on track.  In addition there is some evidence based data to support these types of programs. Weight loss medication can be helpful in certain cases but have side effects and can be costly. In addition without the proper education regarding nutrition and exercise weight loss medications alone will not help you keep the weight off since most weight loss medications are only prescribed for a short period of time.

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EXPERT
Michele Noonan, PhD (Neuroscientist & Lifestyle Expert) answered
Don't take weight loss supplements with high amounts of stimulants such as caffeine,  phenethylamine (PEA) or even worse, ingredients banned in the USA like ephedrine or ma huang. Caffeine has not been shown to help with weight loss, despite people thinking it boosts your metabolism. There is a small amount of caffeine found in ingredients such as green tea extract or green coffee bean extract, but that is not the main way those ingredients work and should be a low enough amount of caffeine to be safe for most users without heart problems.

One great weight loss ingredient that has worked for me and many other clients is African Mango extract (also called Irvingia gabonensis). Without stimulants, it helps control meal size by helping your brain become more sensitive to natural satiety (or fullness) hormone leptin that is released during meals. When you eat less, you lose weight. African Mango also reduces inflammation, which helps your fat cells burn fat easier. As a bonus, it also levels bloods sugar and lowers cholesterol.

Just make sure you look for a product with the patented IGOB131 African Mango extract, because that is the extract that has been tested in 3 published clinical weight loss trials, whereas other ones (non-patented) on the market have not been tested at all.
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EXPERT
Jocelyn Morante, MS, RD, CDN (Clinical Dietitian) answered
I second what Dr. Ruman said.  Before going to pharmaceutical means of weight loss (which does have its place, when all other avenues have been exausted), I would make sure to really focus on eating clean and upping your physical activity.  Since I don't know the details of your current diet, I would definitely not say your not "eating healthy" - but, most of us don't eat as well as we think we do - or burn as many calories exercising as we think we do.  I would keep a food record for a little while and really keep track of whats going in - including liquid calories, etc....and, if you can, make an appt with a registered dietitian, who can take a look and see where some things can be cleaned up.  Many dietitians also use machines in their practice that can help figure out how many calories your body burns a day at rest - and how fast or slow your metabolism is.  They are called "indirect calorimetry" machines and it can be a helpful tool when trying to figure out specifically what your body needs to be well fueled - and lose weight the slow and steady (and healthy) way.  Do you have medical insurance?  Can you also visit your MD?  Its possible that there are other reasons why the scale isn't moving - such as an underactive thyroid (very common) or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).  Medication has its role in weight loss, but I really suggest exploring other avenues beforehand.  These drugs can come with hefty side effects, financial burden, and temporary loss. Weight loss through healthy diet and adequate physical activity is maintainable for a lifetime.   
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EXPERT
Jim Vigue (Ph.D. Holistic Medicine) answered
I agree with Meg W. Find a good green coffee bean extract. I would also find a good omega-3 product with a high DHA content. We have had a lot of luck with this combination as both stimulate your metabolism.
Both African Mango and a good omega -3 can reduce C-reactive protein which can influence leptin levels. Leptin is the hormone that determines your hunger.
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EXPERT
Tracey Wilson (Certified Sports and Conditioning Specialist ) answered
I agree with Meg W and are you sure you have tried everything there is in terms of natural weight loss through diet and exercise.  Usually a small tweak can make all of the difference especially when it comes to your diet.  But a great supplement is CLA, which is good for weight management when combined with diet and exercise.
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EXPERT
Dr. Ramani Durvasula (Licensed Clinical Psychologist) answered
I know this is hard to hear (and frustrating) - but there are 3500 calories in a pound - burn that much or more and you will lose weight.  But first step - see a physician to rule out any medical causes for weight loss challenges.  One that is done, keep a CAREFUL food diary - and it only works if you are honest.  Take a picture of everything you eat if you need - and then do the math. Most people eat more than they realize.  Finally, be kind on yourself - weight loss and management can be a SLOW process in order to sustain over time.  The problem with diet pills and the like is that they are often not very safe, and they end up with you outsourcing yourself to a pill rather than making real lifestyle changes.  I hear your frustration - take your time, see your doctor, and take it one day at a time.  If you are feeling distressed or finding yourself out of control with food, I strongly encourage you to seek out therapy with a licensed mental health practitioner.  Warmest wishes - Dr. Ramani Durvasula
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EXPERT
Stefanie Mendez, RD (Registered Dietitian ) answered
Hi anonymous - I have to agree, you need to be careful with all diet pills & supplements as they can have some serious side effects. Diet & exercise is always the safest, most effective route to weight loss. If you have hit a rut and can't seem to lose more weight, you may want to see a dietitian for personal diet counseling. You may also need to increase the intensity of your workout regimen. If you're still not seeing any results, you may want to speak with your doctor about having some testing done. It's possible that you may have some hormone imbalances or thyroid issues. It could also be a side effect of a medication you're taking. The best thing you can do is to have ongoing conversations with your health care team. Good luck!
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Meg W answered
Very few weight loss pills have been proven save or effective. I say natural is always best—there are several good options for supplements that are natural like green coffee beans, chitosan, glucomannan.
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