Tag Archives: Weight loss

Living Fit Mommy: New Weight Loss Device Targets Willpower

When I caught wind that the FDA has approved a new weight loss device aimed at adjusting ones need to overeat, I was both skeptical and interested: how would such a thing work? Is it necessary? Will it be yet another faddish approach to attacking the obesity epidemic?

I mean, let’s be honest, unlike lap band of gastric bypass surgery, this device is aimed at the neural pathways; the theory being that if you can trick your brain into believing it’s had enough, then you won’t keep eating. And while that is a fantastic looking idea on paper, I question any device that resorts to such trickery.

Oh, look at me without manners this morning, for those who have no idea what I am in full rant mode about, take a look:

EnteroMedics Inc.’s Maestro Rechargeable System works by sending 5,000 pulses per second to the vagus nerve, blocking signals between the stomach and the brain. The result is that the stomach feels fuller by taking longer to digest food and the brain doesn’t cause it to expand in anticipation of a meal.

…Implanted surgically in the abdominal area, EnteroMedics’ device looks similar to a cardiac pacemaker, using batteries to generate charges that travel along sophisticated wires called leads into the body. But where pacemaker leads stimulate heart muscles, the Maestro’s target trunks of the primary nerve regulating the digestive system. The rechargeable device is considered a “reversible” weight-loss therapy, because it doesn’t surgically alter the digestive system or create barriers to food absorption.(Joe Carlson, Star Tribune)

Listen, I understand more alternatives are needed, but there doesn’t seem to be enough value in this device for someone to shell out $15,000 to $20,000 to have it implanted.

Willpower is a requirement during the weight loss process, and while the Maestro Implant appears to be targeting those wayward food urges, it may also be offering up a  false sense of security; do we really want to send the message that the choice to overeat is out of our hands? I mean, assuming there are no deep-seated emotional or physical issues contributing to ones decision to head for the kitchen, is it a good idea to foster such co-dependence?

Furthermore, what about those who can’t afford the Maestro, will they look at its presence as another sign that their obesity is something they simply cannot control? Does it foster new crutches and more excuses?

Maybe. Maybe not.

In truth, we all make a choice to do what we do, to eat how we eat, and to live how we live. And while many are struggling with obesity for varying reasons—many of which are legitimate—there are just as many who are struggling because they refuse to make better choices for their body on a daily basis.

For that latter population, a device like this one is dangerous at best, especially if a program of healthy eating and exercise doesn’t come along with that $20000 price tag.

However, you don’t have to listen to my opinion, just take a gander at one that is more scientific, and then you tell me if it’s worth the money.

A recent clinical trial found that people with the device lost significant weight — but so did people in a control group of the same study.

A randomized placebo-controlled study sponsored by the company found just more than half of the patients using the device lost at least 20 percent of their excess weight within a year — a result that Binks said was noteworthy, since any weight loss of 5 percent or more is considered significant. But the study’s control group members, who had devices implanted but not switched on, also lost weight. The experimental group lost only 8.5 percent more weight than placebo. (Joe Carlson, Star Tribune)

People who used the device lost as much as those who didn’t. What that tells me is the loss is less about the device than it is about the decision of the individual to not eat. The placebo effect alone said plenty.

Again I say, it’s about willpower and, device or no device, that’s a muscle we can all exercise for free.

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Living Fit Mommy: I Can’t Eat Healthy Because I’m Poor

Christina Briggs wants the government to help her get and stay fit by providing incentives for her and her two kids.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere, you’ve likely heard the story of 26-year old Christina Briggs. She made national headlines when she said she could not eat healthy because it’s too expensive. She also stated that she wanted her government to pay her to lose weigh and then give her a monthly stipend to maintain that lifestyle—indefinitely.

‘I need more benefits to eat healthily and exercise. It would be good if the government offered a cash incentive for me to lose weight. I’d like to get £1 for every pound I lose, or healthy food vouchers.

‘If the price of healthy food was lowered that would help, too. I need help, but I need it from the government.’

She added that she can’t get a job to gain more money because she’s needed at home to care for her children, especially as her daughter has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and issues with her kidneys.

She explained: ‘There’s no way I could get a job. I don’t feel bad about the taxpayer funding my life and my child’s medical problems, because I don’t treat myself or buy anything excessive. I just get enough money to live on – the taxpayers should help fund my diet.’  (Closer

Listen to me: if this woman really wanted to eat healthy and lose weight, she’d do it. Government assistance be damned, she’d find a way, if for no other reason than to be there for her children.

I’ve tried so hard to look at this woman’s story in an objective manner, but all I come back with is she’s lazy as hell and has zero motivation unless someone is giving her a check. Basically, she’s looking for a way to make more money without having to actually earn it and that is sad as hell.

Is it expensive to eat healthy? Yes! It absolutely is, and that is a disgrace. However, eating “takeaway” every night isn’t cheap either. So, you have to wonder about the priorities of a person who’d rather spend what little money she does get on take out rather than the grocery store.

Even more, while it’s true that a gym membership isn’t cheap, it’s also true that you don’t need a gym membership to get in shape. Personally, I haven’t stepped foot in a gym in years and I’m in better shape now than I ever was—that said, I understand some people need a push to get their shit together.

Be that as it may: walking is free. Playing with your kids, outside, is free. Running is free. You don’t have to own a treadmill or a set of weights to get on the right track, you only need the will to make your life—and the lives of those around you—better. If Ms. Briggs truly had that, she’d be hard-pressed to find the number of excuses she’s seemingly already found.


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Living Fit Mommy: You Have to Step It Up

You want to know the key to torching calories and training your body to burn long after that last set is complete? High-Intensity Interval Training.

Now, I don’t want to lose or bore you with a bunch of scientific jargon about how the inclusion of such training can improve your VO2 Max and up your overall level of performance—but if you’re interested in all of that, feel free to look here—so I’m going to keep it simple and just get straight to the point: if you want to get more from your workouts and become a more fit individual, you have to work harder.

Here’s the thing: the reason so many people have had success on programs like P90x, TurboFire and Insanity is because those programs rely heavily on the concept of giving maximum effort for  prolonged periods of time. That’s the only way to jolt your body into making the necessary adjustments it takes to keep up with the blood and oxygen flow you’re suddenly using in droves; that, in turn, leads to an increase in calories burned and a more aerobically fit body.

But, you don’t have to spend $100+ to get those results. You just need to dedicate yourself to doing more than the status quo. Challenge yourself to go beyond your comfort zone and truly see what your body can do; if you’re not drenched in sweat and completely breathless at the end of your routine, you aren’t doing enough—I’m just being honest.

Now, there are exceptions, of course. If you’re an Olympic lifter, you won’t necessarily take this approach, but most people aren’t incorporating heavy lifting into their regimen, they’re just trying to lose weight. If the latter sounds like you, then I recommend investing in a heart rate monitor and seeing just how much effort you’re really expending during your 30-60 minute jaunt in the gym—the results may surprise you—and go from there.

And, if you want to know your current aerobic fitness level, here’s a nifty little calculator.


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