Tag Archives: cravings

What is Belviq, the New Weight Loss Drug?

Belviq is a new weight loss drug that just became available by prescription this past week, one of only two new weight loss drugs approved by the FDA in the last 13 years. (The other is Qsymia, which I have already written about.) It is made by Arena Pharmaceuticals. Belviq is the trade name, Lorcaserin is the generic name, and it was called Lorqess during its development.

Belviq affects the serotonin receptors in the brain, changing the neurotransmitter action of serotonin, the brain chemical you hear about related to mood. SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) are a group of drugs that are mainly used to treat depression, but it has been found that many of the drugs that affect neurotransmitters have lots of other affects, change in appetite among them. Drugs that change the action of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine are used to treat many psychological conditions, even psychotic disorders, because they change the way we think and feel. They can create experience in the psyche like hallucinations, expansive thoughts or euphoria (good mood or feeling), or quell it, like reducing cravings and dark thoughts, or quieting hallucinations and mania. The antidepressant Wellbutrin was found to quiet the cravings of people trying to quit smoking and was then marketed also as Zyban. Some of these drugs were found to increase appetite, cravings, and drive to eat, and some have been found to reduce appetite and cravings. Pharmaceutical companies create new drugs, experiment with them, then market them for the effects that they produce. Belviq is sold as a weight loss drug, a drug to reduce appetite.

Does it work?

Reliable clinical studies have shown that people given the drug lost weight slightly more than people given a placebo, even without instruction in weight loss protocols. In studies where people were instructed in weight loss technique, people taking the drug did about twice as well as those taking the placebo. In all cases, the weight loss was slight, and the weight was regained after the trials. I have seen no reports that relate the subjective experience of appetite or craving suppression by the study subjects, which is the main thing I would like to know about. One would assume, based on the results of the clinical studies, that eating drive was reduced by the drug.

What value would any weight loss drug have?

Everyone familiar with my work knows that there is no mystical magic to successful weight loss. We must establish new behavior where we eat less, to the degree that we lose weight and keep it off. My method has been so successful because of the use of psychological techniques that are so effective in managing thoughts and feelings and so effective in changing habit –deleting damaging habits and installing healthy habits.

I know, from personal experience, as well as my work with clients and patients, that we are all different in many ways, and we have different psychological experience, like appetite, cravings and compulsion.

For those who experience uncontrollable drive that results in life threatening bingeing and uncontrollable compulsive eating, I pray that we find a drug that can mitigate outrageous eating drive without presenting unwanted and dangerous side effects. People would still have to manage their behavior with the methods I teach, but it would be so much easier if one were not tormented by the compulsion that I know some people experience. Is Belviq such a drug? I hope to find out.

Is Belviq safe?

There are so many bad side effects being reported that it is scary, even to a mental health counselor who has seen it all. Not only are psychological side effects being reported, but risk of medical problems seems high. Both the University  of California’s Wellness Letter and Consumer Reports have published critical reviews that would discourage just about anyone but the most desperate from taking it.

The Anderson Method recommendation:

To solve your weight problem, you will have to create new habits of behavior and thinking, no matter what. You will need to maintain them for the rest of your life. Many people have used The Anderson Method to do just that, some saying it was easy. If you can do that without drugs, that will be the best solution. After all, you don’t want to be taking these drugs for the rest of your life, even if they are safe.

If you are unable to manage compulsive eating and bingeing and the experience of craving is an absolute torment, drugs might help. There are a number of drugs that have helped people with unwanted eating drive, such as Wellbutrin, Lexapro and Topamax. And they have been around for a while. My advice, if you want to try a drug to help with weight control, is to find an expert in these drugs (Psychiatrists or Psychiatric Nurses) and try one that is known to be safe. Remember that no matter what, no drug is going to make you lose weight or solve your weight problem. The solution is in behavioral therapy science. A drug may make it easier to do the work, but you will still need to do the work. If you want to try a drug, try one that’s known to help some people and been around for a while. Let someone else be the guinea pig with Belviq.

 

5 Biggest Weight Loss Myths

Does it come as a surprise that you really don’t have to exercise to lose weight? Or that it doesn’t matter whether you eat diet food or junk food? Or that you can eat at night and still maintain your ideal body weight? It certainly surprised me, because these things were drilled into me by the so-called “experts” my whole life as an obese child, teenager and adult. But with my unique education as a psychotherapist, combined with lessons that can only be learned by being overweight, dieting, and being turned into a compulsive overeater, I learned that the dietitians, phys-ed teachers and doctors who pretended to know it all were wrong. I’ve set the record straight in my groundbreaking weight loss self-help book, The Anderson Method.

If you’ve been failing at diets and exercise schemes forever and have just about given up, don’t lose hope. This can be the year you finally succeed. Believe me, no matter how many times you’ve tried and failed, no matter how hopeless it has looked, your success is entirely possible, as long as you’re still breathing and have an open mind. I know this because I lost 140 pounds twenty-five years ago, after twenty-five years of being an overweight diet failure who gave up more times than you can count. But one year, I “got it”, lost 140 pounds, ended my obesity problem, and I’ve maintained my ideal weight since, over twenty years. This could be the year you “get it”.

Today, I’m a psychotherapist who helps people solve their weight/obesity problem. I teach other therapists so they can help their overweight clients, wherever they are. We are very successful. Believe me, there is hope. You can succeed. There is a way. And here are five surprising and vitally important facts you need to absorb before you can begin on your path to recovery from obesity and dieting failure. Accept these truths and you may be on your way.

1) You don’t need to exercise to lose and control your weight.

What? This goes against everything all the “experts” say! Well, it’s true. Exercise may be vitally important for a lot of things, but it’s not required to lose and control your weight, and if you don’t get your eating under control, focusing on exercise may cause a weight gain! (An hour on the treadmill will be cancelled by one brownie! Eat two because you “worked out”, and you gain weight, not lose it!) When I learned how insignificant exercise was, and that controlling my intake was the solution, whether or not I exercised, I had hope for the first time in my life. I didn’t have to exercise in ways I hated! I have clients who are disabled and cannot exercise, yet they do fine at controlling their weight. Exercise is important for lots of things, but it’s not the solution to your weight problem. Controlling your intake is the solution.

2) It doesn’t matter whether you eat health food or junk food, diet food or fast food.

Your weight is a result of your “caloric balance sheet.” Eat more calories than you use (1800 per day for the “average” woman, 54,000 per month) and you’ll gain weight. Eat fewer calories than you use, and you’ll burn up stored fat and lose weight. It doesn’t matter where the calories come from, health food, “junk” food, carbs, fat, protein—- It doesn’t matter (for weight control purposes). A calorie is a calorie is a calorie. Is it better to have better nutrition? You bet. But if you eat too many calories of “health food” you’ll get fat, while someone who eats fewer calories of the “wrong things” will lose weight.

3) Diets are not the solution. Learning how to eat, strategically undereat what you like, is the solution.

Learning how to diet (eat in some abnormal way to lose weight) does no good, because at the end of the diet, we go back to “normal” or worse, and keep gaining. We got fat because we developed habits of eating too many calories, and if we go on a “diet” with the intention of going back to “normal”, we are planning on getting fat again. Success will come from learning to eat food we like in ways where we won’t get fat. Believe me, there is a way. We will need to change, and it must be a permanent change with no return to the old ways, but it needn’t be without pleasure. In fact, we enjoy eating even more! Our favorite foods are even better, and no guilt!

4) It doesn’t matter what time of the day you eat, or even what day of the week.

Read again what I said in item #2. It really doesn’t matter when you eat, even if you eat mostly at night, or skip meals during the week and splurge on Saturday night. Real science backs me up on this. If you can create a lifestyle you like, one you can live with where your “balance sheet” is correct, you’ll succeed, even if it’s not what some “experts” think is the “right” way to eat.

5) Success is not just a matter of “will power” or “just making up your mind”.

It’s not that some people have “it” and some don’t. Success in changing habitual behavior, even tough habitual behavior like an addiction, is not just a matter of “will power”. There is a body of knowledge and technique in my field of behavioral medicine that you can learn, knowledge and technique that will empower you to make changes in your life that were not possible before. It will be work. You’ll have to let go of some things that you haven’t wanted to let go of. But if being overweight/obese has been a curse on your life, and you’d like to get rid of it, don’t give up. Keep hoping and praying. Learn what you have to do. Read my book. Call one of my therapists. Be prepared to learn more from legitimate sources, and work at it. You can succeed like I and my clients have. Keep going.