I know that I am not the first person to discuss this and I'm positive that I certainly won't be the last but let's talk a little bit tonight about diet pills 'AKA' the miracle drugs that are supposed to make us shed pounds without changing any of our eating or exercise habits. Earlier this week, my son and I were in the living room together watching television. A commercial for some weight loss drug "for the severely obese people who are serious about weight loss" (FYI - that means it's really expensive) came on. I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to it because I've seen the commercial at least twenty times before, but my son did. He said to me, "Momma, you need to buy some of that so you don't have to exercise any more." This statement stopped me in my tracks! I was flabbergasted and a million thoughts were running through my head all at one time. "Doesn't he know that exercise is important?" "Commercials are so deceitful and I've talked to him about this!" "None of these products actually work but he doesn't understand yet!" etc., etc...
I was so disturbed by this that I had to turn off the television and have a serious conversation with him about the intention of commercials and that none of those products work (I know from experience) and that exercise is necessary for a healthy life. I could see the glazed look in his eye and could tell that this really wasn't making a whole lot of sense but then I had to reflect upon "Why" this wasn't making any sense to him. He's eight years old now, completely mold-able, and has lived with a Mom who has never been serious about weight loss or healthy living. I have fed them junk since they were little (only until two months ago did I cut out the junk and snacking out of mine and the kids lives). I have bought them endless amounts of "in home" entertainment because I was too lazy to get outside and get active with the kids. And finally, I've let them watch endless amounts of television to where their little minds have been molded to believe those commercials. It literally made me feel sick to my stomach. What kind of role model have I been? I've taught my kids that it's okay to be lazy! I've taught me kids that it's okay to eat crap! I've taught my kids that it's okay to watch TV and believe the crap that they hear!
This revelation has been hard to swallow...in fact, it's even harder typing it on this blog because as good as a Mom as I have believed myself to be, I realize that I have set my children up for failure if I don't do something about it. I have changed their eating habits because I won't buy the junk any more but I haven't pushed the physical activities like I should. I have decided to make a commitment to turn the televisions off and do more active things that I know they will enjoy. Swimming is one of those activities...in fact, we spent most of the day at the pool one day this week. We'll be doing that much more often. The kids love to go to the park and we'll be doing that much more as well. As much as I have changed my lifestyle, I have to incorporate the kids in it more than just a bike ride or walk around the block. Physical activity doesn't have to be tedious. It can be a whole lot of fun and that's what we'll be doing from now on. The best part about all of this is the kids won't even realize that they're getting exercise! They'll think we're just having fun and that's what I want them to learn from all of this.
Now, to address the commercials. Commercials (or advertising) is everywhere...not just television. You see it when you drive down the street, when you go to any store, on every billboard, in every magazine, practically everywhere you go there is some product that you just have to try! And frankly, it is so engrained in our culture that most of us don't even pay attention (or are at least unaware the we pay attention) to it any more. I will be the first one to admit that I've bought more than a few products and grocery items because of the appeal of the advertisement. However, I also realize that I have bought a bunch of products that weren't worth crap and that includes just about every diet product out there! Who doesn't love the idea that some pill is going to allow us to eat whatever we want and never exercise, yet "the pounds will just melt away!" Now, I consider myself a pretty intelligent person and I'm very realistic about most things in my life; however, when it came to my weight, the naive, optimistic, foolish part of me wanted to believe that there was a diet pill that was going to make my fat go away and all I needed to do was take a pill with every meal! I would have never have admitted that before but I am sure most of you who have weight problems can relate to that little part of you that says, "Maybe it can work," "Those testimonials looked real to me," "I've got to do something about all of this weight and this pill might be the answer!" But sadly, no. It won't work. Those testimonials are paid testimonials. And the answer you're looking for isn't inside of a little pill. The answer is inside of you and has been all along.
It infuriates me now to think of all of the time and money I've wasted on products that promised to change my life. It is a vulturous, insidious, disgusting practice advertisers use to appeal to those that are vulnerable, weak, and need a wake up call rather than a false promise to make our lives better. I am ashamed to say that I fell for that appeal over and over in my life rather than accepting the fact that I needed to make serious changes; that no one could fix this for me; that no product in the world was going to make me healthy. I know that I am not alone in this or else drug companies wouldn't continue to create these "miracle" drugs. They also wouldn't be a multi-billion dollar industry without people like me.
So, this is my appeal to you. There is no pill in the world that is going to make you lose weight and keep it off. There is no pill in the world that is going to make you choose healthy foods over junk. There is no pill in the world that is going to fix your problems for you. Weight loss is hard. I personally work out one and a half to two hours per day and the weight doesn't just melt off. It takes a ton of work. You will need to make exercise a permanent part of your life - not just to make it to your goal weight. You will have to stop eating crap. You will have to change your habits. You will have to change your life completely. But my promise to you is this...if you ever do decide to make this change, it will be well worth it. You will feel better, look better, and you will have EARNED it because YOU changed your life...not some fly-by-night manufacturing company who wants to make a profit. Don't let advertisers fool you any more. Believe in yourself...not them. They only want your money. You deserve to live a better life because you WANT a better life for yourself and because you're willing to make the changes necessary for that life.
Again, I've rambled on long enough but I cannot stress to you all enough that the only person or thing in your life that can make a lasting and realistic change in your life, is you. You have to want it, you have to own your mistakes, and you have to make a commitment to change. If you fall, that doesn't make you a failure. Tomorrow is a new day and you can renew that commitment to yourself.
Thanks again for reading my blog. I hope to see you again soon and I hope this can at least get some of you to stop buying that crap!!!