When combined with a reduced-calorie diet and regular physical activity, weight loss medicines can help people struggling with their weight, to lose weight over a consistent period of time. People who use these drugs may not feel as hungry, or they may feel full after eating only a small amount of food.
Weight-loss medicines include diethylpropion (brand name: Tenuate); phentermine (brand names: Apidex-P, Ionamin, Pro-Fast); sibutramine (brand name: Meridia); and orlistat (brand name: Xenical). Unlike other weight loss medicines, orlistat works by keeping your body from digesting some of the fat that you eat.
Although some weight loss supplements containing ephedra, ephedrine or caffeine are available without a prescription, it is not known whether these drugs are safe. Such supplements have been linked to reports of heart attack, seizure, stroke and death. It is important to talk to your doctor if you are considering taking a weight loss supplement or if you are already taking one.
Weight loss medicines tend not to be offered to people who are just a little overweight, but rather are reserved for people who are very obese. In fact, most weight loss medicines are designed for people who weigh 20% or more above what is the ideal recommended weight for their height and body type or who have a high body mass index (BMI). The BMI is a measure of your weight and height. Your doctor can tell you if weight loss medicines might be helpful for you.
At the end of the day, there is no magic cure for being overweight. Weight loss medicines can help you get off to a good start and are a great way to get motivated early on, as you see fast results. But once you stop taking them, the weight you lost may well come back if you have not also commenced a well balanced eating plan, and begun an exercise program. To keep the weight off, you must eat a healthy low-calorie diet and be physically active on a regular basis. You must continue these healthy habits even after you stop taking the medicine. Remember that losing weight and keeping it off is a lifelong effort.
If you decide weight loss medicines aren't right for you, you can still meet your weight loss goals. It's important to develop healthy eating habits, but don't expect to change everything overnight. Start by training yourself to eat without doing anything else at the same time.
It is also important to be physically active. A good goal for many people is to work up to exercising for at least 30 minutes, 4 to 6 times a week. Regular exercise helps you burn calories faster, even when you are sitting still. Exercise also helps you burn fat and build muscle. Aerobic exercise raises your heart rate and helps you burn calories. Aerobic exercises include swimming, brisk walking, jogging and bicycling. These are ideal exercise options for people who want to burn calories on a regular basis. Anaerobic exercise, such as weight training, is also good because it adds muscle mass to your body and allows you to burn even more calories.