Fen-Phen, other pills no cure


    Pop a couple pills and POOF! Ten pounds disappear. It seemed too good to be true and it was.

    Twenty-seven pounds and an artificial heart valve later, Colleen Richards of Orem entreated Fen-Phen users to quit. The Food and Drug Administration yanked diet pills Redux and fenfluramine (taken with phentermine, it is called Fen-Phen) off the market and simultaneously annihilated the American dream of a quick fat-fix.

    The truth, and a good rule to follow is that if it looks easy, whether it be a pill, a shake or some funky combination of grapefruits and eggplant, it either doesn?t work, or is potentially detrimental to your health. Often, it?s both.

    Why then did 11,000 Utahns use Fen-Phen as of July of 1997 to achieve a more flattering figure? Because like most weight-conscious Americans, their number one priority isn?t their health; it?s their appearance. And like most Latter-day Saints, they strive for perfection in everything, including their body.

    Losing weight requires patience and a change in lifestyle. The slower the weight comes off, the more likely it will stay off. Unfortunately for those shackled by health conditions that cause obesity, prescription medicines are their only option for weight-loss. Most of America?s overweight, however, are shackled by nothing more than chocolate and donuts.

    But what about those five or 15 extra pounds that never seem to go away? They are not worth the fanaticism, and they are not worth sacrificing your health to remove them. In fact, if you?re following the American Dietetic Association recommendations, which include enjoying a variety of foods within all the food groups and following the guidance of Doctrine and Covenants 89 and exercising regularly, those few extra pounds, might not be extra. They may just be a part of you and that?s okay, because men and women were not meant to look like Calvin Klein models.

    America?s hyper-conscience toward weight is not health-promoting, but self-destructing. The American Anorexia/Bulimia Association reports that more than five million Americans suffer from eating disorders and that an estimated 1,000 women die each year from anorexia nervosa. Obesity, of course is a health concern, but chances are these women were not obese, and probably not even overweight.

    Skipping meals and taking drugs are not ways of making lifestyle changes. Fen-Phen, even without the health risks, does not change your lifestyle and, for those like Colleen Richards who went off the drug, the weight came back.

    In the end, learning to love yourself, though more difficult than taking diet pills, is both physically and emotionally healthier.

    This editorial is the opinion of The Daily Universe. Daily Universe opinions are not necessarily the opinions of Brigham Young University, its administrators or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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