According to a 2015 Nielsen survey, health and wellness is far and away the most common New Year’s resolution. In fact, it was the top two resolutions going into 2015, with “stay fit and healthy” at 37% and “lose weight” at 32% outpacing “enjoy life to the fullest” at 28%.
Unfortunately, follow-through is often difficult and many people end up giving up on their goal well before Valentine’s Day comes round. The year prior, 43% of Americans said they planned to lose weight by eating healthier, but by the end of the year 76% did not follow through with a program in 2014.
When progress is slow or inconsistent (and it often is with weight loss), it can be challenging to maintain a healthy diet. A lack of discipline in your food consumption can make it quite easy for your dedication to a regular exercise routine to start to wane. This is particularly true during the winter months when these resolutions are in their infantile execution stages – especially if you live in a colder climate where getting out to exercise can be downright painful.
But not this year! This year will be – and can be – different. And there’s a simple way to achieve that goal that comes with a proven success rate.
An Opportunity for Change
Anti-obesity drug Xenical (generically known as orlistat or tetrahydrolipstatin) has proven to make those weight loss efforts go the extra mile. Xenical, which is available through prescription, reduces the absorption of fats from your diet by approximately 30%. Unlike most weight loss medications, Xenical works directly on the digestive system and does not influence the hormonal balances of the brain.
When the body is taking in less calories, that 30-minute run on the treadmill removes more than the buttery croissant and creamy coffee you consumed for breakfast. Along with a regular exercise routine and some modest changes in diet, Xenical can have a dramatic effect on weight loss results in as little as two months.
Over the course of a year, clinical trials have shown that people using Xenical, while maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine, lose approximately four to seven pounds more than those who just exercise and ate right. The additional weight can not only help motivate further weight loss efforts, but it can have numerous other positive effects.
With 250 – 300 million estimated to suffer from diabetes worldwide by 2025, preventing the spread of this epidemic has been the focus of public health initiatives throughout the world. Clinical trials show that Xenical has proven to help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.
In a four-year, randomized controlled trial, obese people (those with a body mass index exceeding 30.0) that used Xenical and implemented lifestyle changes produced far greater results than those who just adopted lifestyle changes. Over the four year period, Xenical proved to reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes by 41 percent.
The weight loss results were also particularly compelling. While 78 percent of Xenical patients lost more than 5 percent of their weight after one year of treatment, only 45 percent of placebo patients achieved this amount. Similarly, 41 percent of Xenical patients managed to lose 10 percent of their weight vs. 21 percent for the placebo.
Xenical has also helped patients with high blood pressure get their numbers down to a more reasonable level.
The Obesity Epidemic
According to recent studies tracked at the State of Obesity, more than one-third of the country is considered obese and 6 percent were considered severely obese. Approximately 17 percent of children and teenagers (ages 2 to 19) were considered obese.
Obesity rates have more than doubled over the past 35 years. In 2012, the average American was 24 pounds heavier than the average American in 1960. Meanwhile, since 1980, childhood obesity rates have more than tripled.
It is no surprise then that obesity is one of the biggest drivers of preventable chronic diseases and health care costs in the United States. It is estimated that the cost to treat obesity-related health problems ranges from $147 billion to $210 billion per year.
Obesity rates are highest among adults ages 40 to 59 (39.5 percent), compared adults ages 20 to 39 (30.3 percent) and those older than 60 (35.4 percent). This holds true among those who are severely and morbidly obese, where those between ages 40 to 59 have higher rates.
By state, the rate of obesity now exceeds 35 percent of the population in three states: Arkansas (35.9 percent), West Virginia (35.7 percent), and Mississippi (35.5 percent). The highest rates of obesity were throughout the South and Midwest. Even the state with the lowest obesity rate in the country, more than 20 percent of the population of Colorado is considered obese.
Perhaps it is not surprising that Mississippi (31.6 percent – 1st), Arkansas (30.7 percent – 2nd) and West Virginia (28.7 percent – 4th) were among the most physically inactive states in the country. Meanwhile, Colorado has the least inactive population at 16.4 percent.
Americans’ desire for a healthy lifestyle and their actual behavior simply do not line up, according to another Nielsen study. Though many people make resolutions, include popular fitness bands on their holiday wish lists, or download exercise and calorie-tracking apps to their smartphones, when it comes to execution, well, we’re a little lacking.
In addition to the frightening obesity numbers, the survey showed that 75 percent of the responders say they feel they can manage health issues through proper nutrition. However, 91 percent of us admit to snacking all day on candy, ice cream, and chips.
An issue that seems to get in the way of potential weight loss is rising food prices, which the study also listed among the top health-related concerns for consumers. Approximately 54 percent indicated “healthy foods are too expensive to eat regularly.” Half of U.S. consumers said the availability of organic or nutritionally enhanced products had no or very little impact on grocery purchases in the last year.
Since unhealthy food is often cheaper and natural or organic eating can be costly, it’s not surprising to see how the bottom line can impact your waist line.
Another issue is the common complaint that healthy food means yucky food. Half of consumers in the study agreed that “healthy food should taste good, and I am not willing to give up taste for health.”
Prior to 2015, 65% of U.S. consumers planned to exercise more while 33% planned to lose weight via portion control or calorie reduction. However, the odds are that most were unsuccessful in their efforts.
How Does Xenical Work?
For those who can put forth an effort to exercise at a reasonable rate and reduce their calorie intake, Xenical may be the thing that makes the memories of past failed weight loss ventures become a distant memory.
Unlike many weight loss medications, Xenical doesn’t attempt to adjust the patient’s mood. When ingested after a meal, the drug blocks the enzymes in the gut that break down fat so that it can be easily stored in your body. Instead of getting absorbed in your intestines, approximately 30 percent of the fat consumed is sent along its way down the digestive tract.
Vitamin supplements may be recommended as some are typically absorbed with the fat that is consumed.
Xenical is prescribed to men and women over 18, typically with a body mass index over 30. It may also be prescribed to those with a weight-related health condition that is potentially life-threatening.
The drug is administered orally through 120 mg capsules, up to three times per day. It should be taken with a full glass of water, no more than one hour after each meal. Meals with very little or no fat may not require the patient take the pill at all.
The most common effect is oily stools (an effect of the fat not being absorbed), but this can be reduced by eating meals that contain less than fat or that are low in calories. Some patients have reported liver, kidney, or gallbladder problems.
Prospective patients should tell their doctor if they have any problems with their gallbladder, liver, kidneys, thyroid, or if they have any disorders related to eating, seizures, or diabetes.
Xenical is not recommended for women who are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or those who are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.
Alcohol consumption does not influence its effectiveness.
Patients should also talk to their doctor if they’re currently taking cyclosporine (Restasis, for example), beta-carotene or vitamin E supplements, levothyroxine, warfarin, or any medicines used to treat seizures.
Start the New Year With Hope
Healthy eating habits and a regular exercise routine should be everyone’s first line of defense against obesity. But for those facing serious long-term health risks and have had repeated attempts to lose weight foiled for one reason or another, Xenical can be an effective complement that turns 2016 into the year of change instead of a year of disappointment.