Tag Archives: overweight

Say “Yes!” to Goals for 2017, Not Resolutions, Especially For Weight Loss!

student_success

(This article was originally published in The Huffington Post, written by William Anderson, LMHC, author of The Anderson Method, explaining important aspects of the ground-breaking method he developed, losing 140 lbs. and keeping it off for 30 years)

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As the New Year’s Holiday approaches every year, the subject of New Year’s Resolutions crops up, and there comes a flurry of opinions about it. Is it a good idea or a bad idea to make resolutions?

Most of us have a history of making resolutions, most having to do with diets and exercise. Then we promptly fail to keep them and we feel like defeated failures in the very first week of the new year. It’s an awful feeling I know too well from the 25 years I struggled against obesity, until I finally discovered the solution, lost 140 pounds and kept it off for over 30 years now.

So, here’s my take: don’t make resolutions, which are promises to do or not do something, ever, that you’ll most likely be unable keep. Sticking perfectly to your resolution is unlikely, and with most of us, the failure causes us to say “the heck with it” and give up trying all together. Instead, sit down and write out some hopes and goals for your life, and then for the year. What have you got to lose? You won’t be any worse off if they don’t happen.

I was pretty much an undisciplined wreck as a young person, constantly making vows in the morning to do one thing or another, then losing my motivation and belief by noon most days. I often could not follow through on just about anything that didn’t feel good, whether it was writing a letter, starting a diet, applying for a job or even doing something as simple as making a phone call.  I improved, but not enough. By the time I was 30, I was over 300 lbs., smoking like a chimney, in terrible health, without a college degree, my successful career in flames and having lost the financial means to live a satisfying and secure life.

I had to hear the advice to write down my goals for years before I started actually doing it, but when I did (together with using other Therapeutic Psychogenic technique) my life changed. I solved my lifetime obesity problem and lost 140 pounds permanently. I not only completed a college education, but I completed graduate school training in clinical counseling and psychotherapy. I obtained the Florida Medical Quality Assurance license to be a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and established a successful private practice. I wrote a successful book (now an audiobook) that has helped tens of thousands to solve their weight problem. I created a satisfying way of living in one of the most beautiful places on earth. All of these things were only pipedreams when I first summoned up the courage to admit to myself that I would actually want those things to happen and wrote them down. When I started using written goals, things changed.

I don’t want to suggest that this was all I did to succeed at weight loss and the other accomplishments. There are lots of other pieces of the mechanism that I used and teach. Like the parts of a car, you need them all assembled to be able to get anywhere. Leave important parts out and you go nowhere. But writing down your goals is one of the most important, the foundation and starting point that everything else grows from.

Take the time this week to go off by yourself with a pad of paper and make some lists.

Make a dreams list. If all things were possible, what would you like to have happen in your life? Then make a five year goals list. Five years from now, where would you like to be? Then make a one year goals list. If you were on your way to the five year goals, where would you be and what would you have done at the end of this coming year? What do you want to make sure you do this year?

Then write down what you need to do this month to move toward that. Make a list of what you need to do next week, maybe to study and learn more about what you need to do. Finally, write a to-do list for tomorrow to make it toward what you want to accomplish this week.

Forget about making resolutions, especially to stick to a diet. If your goal is to be a certain weight at the end of the year or to lose a certain amount of weight, what do you think your goal for next week should be?

You can make your life better. It starts with a vision of what you’d like it to be, a picture with the details described. Start using written goals. You’ll be surprised what can happen.

 

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.