We all have them. Them being that one weight-loss commercial that resonates with us. My favorite one is somewhat flashy and features Anna Nicole Smith. Not only has she lost weight and gained a new sense of adventure most of us would have never fathomed but has had a major overhaul – right down to the Chiclet-shaped (and colored) teeth. Even when she purrs, ‘Do you like my body’, I am actually happy for her. No, she is not a friend of mine nor do I have a particular admiration for her or what she represents. In fact, I listened to the pre-satellite Howard Stern show where he “introduces” her to this particular diet company. At the time, they were sponsors of the Stern show and when you look at that entire scenario and its players, it was PR marketing at its best. Now to imply that Stern is solely responsible for Smith’s weight loss or that she maintained her daily caloric intake and/or exercise regimen might be a stretch; especially since she was a good two-hundred pounds on her 2003 E! network reality series that was taped months prior to her endorsement. Reports have stated that she lost nearly 70 pounds in just a few short months.
Many people lose weight. They do not have their own television shows, modeling contracts or multimedia deals. Every once in a while, regular folks who used the product with positive results are given a little bit of spotlight for their personal testimony. Do yo ever wonder what became of these people say, six months later? Two months after filming the commercial? To say they gained back the weight would be a safe bet. According to the Nutrition Resources page found at the Colorado State University’s Cooperative Extension website, only 5 out of 100 people who go on a diet keep the weight off for good. In this microwaveable society we live in, the drug companies look forward to the remaining 95 to give their “new, easy and improved” product a try. Not just because dieters want to lose weight but the extra weight gained when the appetite suppression wear off.
Could you see yourself popping pills every day or drinking 2-3 shakes a day for the rest of your life? Ephedra (also known as Ma Huang) and phenylpropanolomine (PPA) are the main ingredients used in diet products. Besides appetite suppression, they also work with caffeine so not only was one eating less but had more “energy” and water loss. If this sounds good, have you ever seen guar gum? This clear, tasteless, blob-like matter is a food thickener used mostly in frozen foods and mass-produced snacks and desserts. Though obviously harmless, excessive consumption may prevent food from being properly digested by clogging the intestines. While the above mentioned chemicals or substances have been or are in the process of being, removed by the Food and Drug Administration, it was for a reason. Side effects stemming from long-term use of diet products are increased heart rate, chest pain, anxiety, dizziness and so on. Unfortunately, users have also experienced heart attacks, strokes or seizures. Many who used Fen-Phen (fluramine and phentermine) in the nineties not only experienced heart valve problems but at least fifty users in the United States have died as a result of heart failure believed to be caused by this product. What goes best with that little black dress, short shorts or that barely legal swimsuit? A living body that will carry it. Little body pockets of jiggle or dimples that are not on your face should not be removed by a few trips to the bathroom or a “magic” pill.
Most women gain weight during pregnancy and very few take it off within six months of giving birth. Smith, who is in her late 30’s, probably will not be an exception. Since her days as a Guess! jeans model her weight has fluctuated on an extreme level. I guess if I admire anything about her as a person is that she embraces every physical change – even if the media and the public does not. In the meantime, I’m ready for the sequel as the pregnancy has brought on a little cliffhanger. Will she take the same pills to lose the post-pregnancy weight? Will Trimspa market a special product for women who just want to lose the “baby fat”? Or will Smith finally be content as a full-figured model who will remain a spokesperson for Lane Bryant? We’ll just have to wait and see and hope that she will not be part of a recall campaign because said product was linked to a consumer’s death.
No matter how appealing or entertaining the ads, I will always believe that the long-term effectiveness of diet pills are about as realistic as a coyote with money that buys weapons that for some reason, cannot destroy the one bird who keeps getting away.