I need to lose weight, about 100 pounds to be honest. I’m addicted to fast food and I hate to exercise. I take lovastatin (Mevacor) for high cholesterol; I take Alli and phentermine to lose weight. What supplements can I take along with these?”
–H.R. Hallandale, Florida
Answer: Sorry, no one has invented a pill to substitute for exercise. It is the fastest way to reboot your hormones and retrain your body to burn fat but do ask your physician what level is right for you. Alli, an over-the-counter fat-blocker isn’t the cure, nor is the prescription appetite suppressant phentermine, which is highly addictive and can be extremely dangerous if combined with other diet meds. Never combine medications without pharmacist and physician consent.
There’s no easy way out, you NEED to make healthy food choices (notice I didn’t say diet). Diets are unendurable. I hardly ever recommend counting calories, but I need to make a point. Generally speaking, for fat loss to occur, you should take in 10 calories per pound of weight. So if you are 250 pounds, you should consume about 2500 calories per day. The total caloric intake for a burger, fries, soda and iced coffee add up to 1,260! That’s just one meal. This is why people with a fast-food mentality can’t lose weight, and in my experience, never get off medications. Besides that, boxed and processed foods are loaded with trans fats and artificial chemicals. In come the statins to control cholesterol, and halt production of your sex hormones. That could lead to erectile dysfunction and will make you depressed in a hurry.
You really need expert advice and a registered dietician who can design a personalized program. Balancing hormones is critical. When balanced, excess weight comes off, the cravings ease up, and your fat-burning potential increases. Good practitioners know how to measure and correct hormone imbalances.
–One hormone that often needs reducing is insulin. It spikes after you eat fast food. Chronically elevated insulin has been linked to Alzheimer’s, cancer, obesity and type 2 diabetes. It comes down when you eat more fruits and vegetables which ‘feed’ your body rather than just filling it up with empty calories. There’s a big difference.
Ask your doctor to measure your DHEA hormone levels. If they’re low you may need DHEA cream or supplements. DHEA helps balance a stress hormone called cortisol which is associated with belly fat.
–You may need some thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism is an extremely common cause for weight gain and it’s easy to correct.
–Estrogen levels are important. When you exercise, your fat cells start to shrink, and this lowers the amount of estrogen your cells make; a good thing because excessive estrogen increases the risk of developing breast (and prostate) cancer. See, losing weight isn’t just about looks, it’s about living.
Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.