My new friend, Phen

I have been trying to lose weight as long as I can remember. I mean, it’s almost as if I was born and then said, yep – time to skip that breast milk, gotta shed a few. Oh wait, I wasn’t breastfed.  Can I blame my heavy weight on that? Or my family genetics? Bone density? Environment? The fast food industry? Probably a combination of multiple factors, but best not to dwell on that at the moment.

As an adult, I’d say it’s fair to say that I’ve hit all the major diet programs at one point or another – Jenny Craig, Nutri System, Weight Watchers, Atkins, etc. But I have never really been one for the extreme diets with miracle testimonials — eat all the grapefruit you want for 2 weeks (yeah, sounds fun) or eat according to your blood type (???huh?) or just take this pill once a day and watch the weight dissolve (can’t pull the wool over my eyes). I was indoctrinated to believe you watch the calories that go in and work on the energy you expend. The basics, right? Now of course, the fitness industry is much more complicated and has all kinds of directions and details that frankly, I don’t really care about. I just want to see results.

As part of my Weight Loss 101, I learned like a good little student that the safest and best way to lose weight is to watch what you eat and exercise. It’s up to you to make the difference and any drugs or surgeries like gastric bypass shouldn’t be considered, unless you are an extreme case. (And that definitely wasn’t going to be me.) So I’ve meandered on for years, doing it on my own, with the occasional help of diet programs and trainers and periods of success followed by a trip back up the scale.

Imagine my gasp of horror when my Endocrinologist recently said she wanted to put me on a weight loss drug. What?!? I wanted to look over my shoulder and see if there was someone else in the room. You’re talking to me? Umm…think again! I don’t need a drug. In fact, since January I’ve been working the program. Have a trainer and dietician. I am shedding weight slowly but reasonably. I am making progress, so how dare she suggest a weight loss drug! Given my future plans to bring forth life, my doctor wants me to be 15 pounds lighter before I get pregnant. Ok, I agree and that was my goal as well. Even though I haven’t been progressing as quickly as planned, all my recent blood work is showing great signs of progress and healthiness. She runs me through the drug, Phentermine. Describes how it used to be part of the dreaded duo Phen-Phen, but the other Phen was the bad one, causing all those nasty heart murmurs. Hmm. It’s always bad when you don’t have the right partner. I agree to do a trial run for a month.

First day, boom! Didn’t think it was possible, but my energy level definitely shifted up a whole notch. Not to jitteriness, but a noticeable difference with more focus. Also completely lost my appetite — like it currently doesn’t exist; Like I have to ask myself, ‘Have I eaten in the last 2 hours?’ and force myself to eat when not hungry – ALL the time. Oh, and a bit of an issue with restless sleep at night. My dietician was concerned. At our session, we looked up the drug. Yep, lots of great amphetamines in Phentermine (is that why they sound so similar?). No wonder I’m feeling more…vibrant. (Sounds better than gassed up or high or on speed.) The question is how much this can impact my thyroid or throw it out of whack, but my dietician agreed we give it a chance  – if I remembered the importance of eating regularly and maintaining healthy nutrition. OK, deal.

So I’m just about two weeks in now. Headed to the gym today. Hopped on the scale. I’ve officially lost 18 pounds since late January! 2-3 pounds in the last week. The slow going of one pound a week seems to have been sped up by my friend, Phen. Of course, I’m feeling elated and trying not to feel like a cheater by using the drug. It’s not all a bed of roses. It is weird to never have an appetite or have your stomach grumble. When I start to feel the slightest bit hungry it actually catches me by surprise and I’ve never had the problem of having to REMEMBER to eat. Who would have thought? But there is no miracle cure and my friendship with Phen is short-lived. If I want to succeed after that, I have to be eating right. Complete lifestyle change. Yada, yada, yada.

Oh happy day! I’m still going to celebrate. 18 pounds in 14 weeks is not too shabby. It’s funny because in the past people have sometimes said, “oh, you look good. You look like you lost weight.’ When I haven’t done a damn thing and I’ve probably gained weight versus lost it. And now that I have actually lost some decent weight, nobody has really noticed, except for me. Oh, and my friend Carol. But it’s all good. Progress, slow and steady.


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