Could Placebo Diet Pills Help You Lose Weight?

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Could Placebo Diet Pills Help You Lose Weight? by Laura Moncur from FlickrThis article from the New York Times got me thinking. A mother in search of a placebo to give to her child instead of medicine was stymied by the fact that you can’t actually buy a placebo pill. She has created a company called Efficacy Brands and released a “drug” called Obecalp, which is placebo spelled backward. It’s the drug you give your kids when you know they’re not really sick and just need to feel comforted.

Sometimes, the placebo effect has been shown to minimize symptoms better than drugs. Could diet pills help you lose weight, even if they are just sugar pills? What if you KNOW they’re just sugar pills? There is some thought that maybe they could:

At least one study has shown that placebos can be effective even when the patients know that they are inert. In a study in 2007, 70 children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder were asked to reduce their medications gradually by replacing some of their drugs with placebo pills. The children and their parents were explicitly told that these “dose extender” pills contained no drug.

This article from Mind Hacks, delves further:

Placebos are not ‘ineffective’. In fact, when three condition trials are run (no treatment vs placebo vs medical treatment), placebo consistently out performs ‘no treatment’ and of course, not uncommonly, the medical treatment condition as well.

Furthermore, studies done in the 1970s showed that when heroin users inject water (sometimes done deliberately to alleviate cravings when drugs are in short supply), they can experience drug-like euphoria and have been observed to show opiate-like physiological signs such as pupil constriction.

I have long said that spending money on diet pills is just wasting your money, but I never took into account the placebo effect. What if I put some Skittles into a bottle and tried to convince myself that they were diet pills that would help me lose weight? Would that work, even if I knew that they were just candy in a bottle?

All of this just makes me think that losing weight is voodoo. Is it really all belief? If I believe I will lose weight, I will lose weight. What if I believe I will lose weight and still eat pizza every day? Do we really know so little about the human mind and body?


Biggest Loser Diet Turns Deadly?

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Biggest Loser Diet Turns Deadly? by LauraMoncur from Flickr

The headline on the National Enquirer was pretty dramatic. It claimed that the Biggest Loser diet had turned deadly. What was going on here?

Biggest Loser Diet Turns Deadly? by LauraMoncur from Flickr

Paul Marks weighed 303 pounds when he started with The Biggest Loser. He was eliminated back in February and has since had some medical problems.

According to the National Enquirer:

“Paul is fighting for his life. He’s had five surgeries since being voted off the show, and has had a bout with gangrene. And it’s all because of ‘Biggest Loser.'”

Of course, the quote from the show tells another side of the story:

“It is our understanding from sources close to Paul, and from Paul himself, that his doctors believe that losing weight on the show may have saved his life.”

The article doesn’t say WHY Paul had five surgeries and nine inches of his colon and appendix removed. Weight loss alone couldn’t cause a problem like that, could it? He must have had a problem with his colon that was separate from the weight loss. The only other mention of this was a brief interview on TV Guide’s website:

He is really, really sick. In the past two months he’s spent six weeks in the hospital. He’s had ruptured diverticula and he got a colostomy, which got gangrenous. He’s had [several] surgeries.

What do you think? I know that the doctors at The Biggest Loser watch the contestants like hawks and any little thing that happens, they ship the contestants off to the hospital. Do you think the weight loss caused Paul’s sickness?


The Joy of Tech Gets a Wii Fit

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Click to see the rest of the comic.It’s rare when I laugh out loud at anything. I love to read comics. Most of the time, I chuckle happily to myself at them, but this comic from Joy of Tech made me literally laugh out loud.

When the Wii Balance Board turned my Mii into a short and bloated character, I seriously thought the same thing. Yes, I know I’m fat. Why do you think I bought the Wii Fit in the first place?!

Other than that, I’ve LOVED the Wii Fit. I’ll write a full review for it when I’ve finished working out with it for a week.


PostSecret: My Body In Small Pieces

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

We got a double-dose of PostSecret this week. Frank has created a Facebook group and is posting bonus secrets there for us to see. You can become a fan of PostSecret here:

Here is a bonus secret that showed up on the Facebook profile:

PostSecret: My Body In Small Pieces

It reads:

I take pictures of myself naked all the time.
I like my body better when seen in small pieces.

I have never taken a picture of myself naked. As much as I approve of NakedJen and her message about our bodies, I have never participated in naked picture taking.

I like to think that even if I had a perfect body that I would still keep that part of myself private, but I’ve never had a perfect body, so I don’t really know. Maybe if I was gorgeous, I would be an unashamed exhibitionist, but instead I hide behind my clothes.

PostSecret‘s beneficiary is the National Hopeline Network. It is a 24-hour hotline (1 (800) SUICIDE) for anyone who is thinking about suicide or knows someone who is considering it.


PostSecret: Speedos

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

This postcard from PostSecret showed up last Sunday.

PostSecret: Speedos

It reads:

I am the fat man who wears speedos in public.
I don’t care what you think.
I do it because it makes me feel sexy.

All I can say is, “RIGHT ON, BROTHER!” I haven’t worn a bikini since I was six years old because I am scared of what the world would think. It looks like I have some more Inner Workouts to do.

PostSecret‘s beneficiary is the National Hopeline Network. It is a 24-hour hotline (1 (800) SUICIDE) for anyone who is thinking about suicide or knows someone who is considering it.


Wii Fit: First Look

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Wii Fit at Amazon.comAfter a lengthy quest all throughout the city, Mike and I finally found a Wii Fit. I set it up and it told me that I was fat (I knew that already) and made my poor little Mii character a short and pudgy icon after weighing me. I had no idea that the Wii Balance Board was also a scale, but it doubles in that capacity. When compared to my high-tech digital scale in the bathroom, it reads quite accurately.

The first time we played with the Wii Fit, I forgot to wear my heart rate monitor, but I did get a good sweat on. The most fun Balance game to play was the Soccer Heading. You can see a video of it here:

Click Here To See The Video

We had plenty of laughs while I tried to dodge the soccer cleats and panda heads. I will be working out with Wii Fit for the next couple of weeks and give you more feedback about how many calories I burn while playing and how effective a workout it is.


Attitude Is Everything

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

My friend emailed me this video. The subject of the video was, “So U Think U Can Dance?” and her comment was, “One word… hottie!” I think she was being sarcastic. I clicked on the video and this is what I saw: a half naked man dancing in front of the camera. You can see it here:

Unlike most people, I didn’t laugh and turn it off ten seconds into it. I watched through the whole thing and you know what I realized,

Damn, that guy’s a pretty good dancer!

I’m not being sarcastic. He dances pretty well.

The longer I watched, the less I noticed his doughy body and the more attractive he became. What was cringe-worthy at the beginning of the video became an impressive array of booty-shaking.


When was the last time I was confident enough to dance in front of a mirror, much less a CAMERA?! This guy has cajones and he’s not afraid to show them!

Next time you’re feeling self conscious about the way you look, remember this guy. Hold yourself up straight, put on that attitude that you are the most beautiful one in the room and you’ll look one hundred times better than if you slink in and hope no one notices.


Rexall Drug and Super Plenamins

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Click to see full size adThis is a 1968 advertisement for Rexall Drugs’ Super Plenamin vitamins. If you look closely at the label, you can see that they were “selected for use by the U.S. Olympic Team.” It feels almost sacrilegious to say anything negative about vitamins. We need them to stay healthy, right? We’ll get rickets and stuff if we don’t take our vitamins, won’t we?

Well, I don’t know too much about that. I’ve heard nutritionists say that if you eat a healthy well-balanced diet, that you shouldn’t need vitamins. I’ve also heard them say that they won’t hurt you if you take them just in case. Case in point:

What I DO know is that the sale of vitamins is a business. Not only do legitimate companies like Rexall tap into the vitamin business, multi-level marketing (MLM) and social marketing companies have noticed how much money they can make. From a business standpoint, you can’t lose. You can say that vitamin supplements can improve your health and no one will argue with you. They cure scurvy and stuff, right?

It’s easy for me to look at that old bottle of Plenamins and think to myself, “Those pills didn’t do anything.” The bottle looks so old that they look like snake oil. Rexall is STILL selling Plenamins, though.

Rexall Plenamins PlusWhen I look at this bottle of Plenamins Plus from Rexall, it looks like something I would take every day after I brush my teeth. They’re from a big company like Rexall Drug, so they help me, right?

I’m almost to the point that I want to experiment. What if I STOP taking a multi-vitamin? How long before I develop rickets or scurvy? What if I make sure I eat a well-balanced diet? Am I safe then? How long until I realize that I was just peeing out expensive urine?

Via: Found in Mom’s Basement: Bottle of Super Plenamins vitamins from 1968


Fat Kids: The New Norm

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Click to see full size comic.This comic from Joy of Tech made me feel just as angry at those fat kids as I was at the skinny kids that made fun of me when I was little. When I was a kid, they used to call me Chug-A-Lug. I wrote about it here:

It’s funny to me how much it hurt when I was a child to be made fun of because of my weight. Of course, if they hadn’t made fun of me because of my weight, they would have found something else to torment me with. They would have called me stupid or loud or made fun of my hair because it was brown, whatever.

Are fat kids the new norm? I don’t know. As an adult, we can’t see that world. We can never again step into that small hell that children inflict on each other. I’m sure kids are made fun of because they are thin. I remember kids calling a girl in grade school String Bean. She didn’t like that name anymore than I liked being called Chug-A-Lug. Children have taunted and teased each other for far longer than this supposed obesity epidemic.


Life Support Diet?

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Life Support DietI saw this advertisement on Facebook the other day and it made me crinkle my brow. It says:

Drop 20lb for summer
Try Life Support Diet and lose up to 20 pounds in 6 weeks. Recommended by Oprah.

I clicked over to the site and it was for Life Support Herbal and Hoodia diet pills. Here is a screenshot of their site.

Life Support Herbal

Now, the advertisement said that a diet was recommended by Oprah, but all they showed is that O Magazine had written a little blurb about hoodia saying that it “may” help you lose weight. In fact, all their “Featured in” mentions had NOTHING to do with Life Support Herbal and their product. They only mentioned hoodia.

Firstly, the cactus, hoodia gordonii, has not been proven to help you lose weight. The Wikipedia entry on Hoodia gordonii sums it up perfectly:

There is no published scientific evidence that Hoodia works as an appetite suppressant in humans. The safety and/or effectiveness of Hoodia Gordonii as a dietary supplement must thus be considered as unsubstantiated.

While the cactus hasn’t been proven to help you lose weight, there is absolutely NO proof that some pill that says it contains hoodia could help you lose weight. Just because a news program talked about hoodia doesn’t mean it’s a miracle drug. Just because O Magazine wrote an article about hoodia doesn’t mean that it’s recommended by Oprah.

Secondly, Life Support Diet? Really? You’re going to name yourself Life Support? When I read their name, I immediately thought of my grandma after her stroke on life support. They fed her through a tube that ran through her nose, down her throat and into her stomach. When it was obvious that she was never going to recover, they took her OFF the life support diet. It’s not really an image of health and vitality to go on a life support diet.

There are tiny ads for weight loss pills like these EVERYWHERE on the Internet, even on Starling Fitness. Just based on the fact that I write about health and fitness, ads for products like these show up on my site. Don’t believe them.

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