Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Are Weight Loss Drugs Worth the Risk?

posted by Linda Mintle


This week, another weight loss drug, Qsymia, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The drug is a combination of a stimulant (Phenetermine) and an anti-seizure medication called topiramate. The stimulant decreases appetite and the anit-seizure medication has the side effect of weight loss.

This medication is approved for adults who have a 30 or greater body mass index (BMI) and those with a BMI of 27 or greater with one weight-related condition. So we are talking obesity, not just 10-20 pounds overweight.

And of course, there are the side effects– fast heart rate and metabolic acidosis (creates highly acidic blood that can end in coma or death in severe cases;  damage d  bones and  kidney stones; heart damage and birth defects–pregnant women should not use this medication).

So here is the question:

Is it worth the risk to take a medication to lose weigh? Here are four reasons to consider:

1) The risk is high. I’m been working in the area of weight loss for almost 30 years now and this makes me very uneasy. Medication approaches to weight loss have come and gone, many with serious side effects. I remember the fen-Phen scare because I was in practice and we had to decide if we were recommending this as a weight loss approach. After looking at a year or two of the data after the drug was released in the market, my practice opted not to use these medications. We made the right decision because the drug was eventually pulled from the market place because of  serious consequences.

I know the argument is that there are risks from obesity but these are known risks and can be worked on in treatment. I helped a 600 plus pound man lose over 300 pounds with therapy, exercise and nutritional guidance. It was very tough but it can be done.

2) Medications  do not continue to work once the person stops taking them. What I have seen in practice is that once the person stops the medication, the weight gain typically returns.

3) You still have to learn to modify your diet and exercise. Weight loss is a total person venture. You must address body, soul and spirit for long term maintenance. Anyone can lose weight but keeping it off is another story.

4) You still have to learn how not to use food in unhealthy ways and develop a healthy relationship with eating. This is the message of my book, Press Pause Before You Eat.

So the bottom line for me is that I will not recommend this approach right now. And while we are constantly looking for the magic pill that will make those pounds melt away, medications continue to pose serious risks. There are too many unanswered questions about long-term affects for me. But everyone has to make up his or her mind.

 

Click here to watch the interview I did on CBN News:

 

 

 

Telling Kids You Are Divorcing

posted by Linda Mintle

Reader Question:

My husband and I are separating and will most likely divorce. We have two young children. I am wondering how to tell them about the divorce. I am really dreading this because I know how upsetting it will be.

Without trying to put extra guilt on you, divorce is tough on children. If there is any way you and your husband can go to therapy and work things out, please try or try again. Most marital problems can be solved and fixed if both partners are willing, submitted to God and work with a marital therapist.

If this isn’t the case, then this is what I recommend. Be prepared for your children to be sad, angry and anxious. Because they are so young, they will probably act out these feelings rather than talk about them. Thus, you will need to be firm but loving.  Draw out their feelings by asking questions. Then validate their feelings. When they misbehave, don’t ignore it because you feel guilty. Do what you would normally do to correct the behavior.

In terms of telling them about the separation, it is best if both parents tell the children. Give them as much detail as they need and no more. As soon as you know, tell them of your plans to live apart. Don’t blame, be angry or get into conflict in front of the children. Be civil and ready to answer tough questions. Most important, assure them that this decision is not their fault. You will have to keep doing this because kids believe divorce is their fault no matter what parents say.

When told, some children become immediately upset and others will show little emotion at first. Keep communication open so they can talk later when reality hits. This is a major loss and they will need to grieve. If they don’t, they can develop emotional problems later. So help them sort out their emotional feelings of loss. Encourage them to be honest and not say things just to please you.

Your children will want to know how this will immediately change their lives. So outline specific upcoming changes, e.g., daddy won’t be in this house to tuck you into bed; he will have another bed for you to sleep in when you are at his new house, etc. Keep it simple and factual.

Keep their lives as consistent as possible during the time of separation and divorce. Routine is important. Make sure they have one on one time with each parent. And don’t talk about divorce until you are certain it will happen. Many people continue to work on their problems during separation and reconsider divorce.

Is It Wrong to Take Anti-Anxiety Medications?

posted by Linda Mintle

I just received another email from someone who is a Christian and struggling with anxiety. The panic has become so severe that the person isn’t functioning well. The question he asked was, “Is it wrong, a lack of faith, to take medication to help this condition?”

My answer, an emphatic NO–it is not wrong to use medication to help free you from something that is impairing your life.

Some people are prone to anxiety because of their genetics and must work on their coping skills in general. In others, anxiety can be triggered by loss, trauma and other life experiences that create a feeling of loss of control. Even if anxiety is not predisposed genetically, life experiences can create this reaction and people must learn how to release it and let it go. Part of that treatment sometimes includes medications to help calm the person enough to begin working on his/her thoughts and physical relaxation. Medications can be used as part of a treatment strategy for those needing more than therapy. Medications are not typically used long term unless you are dealing with a biological-based anxiety like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Medicine can be a path of healing. God is not limited to healing people one way. Spiritually, one of the issues in letting go of anxiety is to fully trust God in terms of His promises and character. That is part of the spiritual work that can begin once a person is calm enough to work on that part of doubt. Other areas relate to anxious thoughts, knowing how to calm the body and more. Anxiety is very treatable and usually employs a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Approach.

Taming Your Temper In Any Relationship

posted by Linda Mintle

Temper outbursts don’t help relationships. Staying cool and calm and thinking before you speak is the desired behavior. Well, researchers at the University of Michigan and Ohio State may have come up with a way to help tame your temper.

Here’s how it works: Your partner does something to irritate you and you are about to lose control. Instead of ruminating on what the person did (thinking about it over and over -this makes it more likely you will lose your temper), you try another approach. You step back from the situation and view it from a distance. Believe it or not, this small shift, called self-distancing, brings down the anger and irritability.

So next time you find yourself about to blow up at your partner, become a fly on the wall. Step back and take a little distance. This keeps aggressive thoughts and angry feelings at bay and makes you less likely to lose your temper.

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