This post is going to be an example of full disclosure. It’s going to be about the fact that I have started taking Alli, which you have all seen in the news because it is the newest weight loss drug out there. Alli works, according to research, by preventing the digestion and absorption of about 25% of the fat that you eat. Although I have been doing really well on Weight Watchers (24 pounds gone as of my last weigh-in!), I thought I would see what, if anything, Alli would add to my efforts. And because my sister works for the company that manufactures this wonder drug, I have been looking forward to its release and have been following it closely in the media.
One of the things that is most talked about concerning this particular medication is the “treatment effects” that some users experience when taking Alli. The literature that is included with the starter pack is very open about the fact that, when users eat more than their “allowed” amount of fat per meal (they often use 15 grams as the magic number, but my goal, according to the materials, is 19 grams per meal), they can experience some unpleasant side effects, including oily and loose stools, oily discharge, and frequent stools that may be difficult to control. The materials even go so far as to suggest that users first try Alli out on a weekend when they can stay close to home in case any of these effects happen to them.
I am nothing if not daring.
This past weekend, Bill and I enjoyed a night at the bar, a wedding, and a fantasy football draft at my parents’ followed by a big dinner. It was not a Weight Watchers weekend. However, I knew that it was going to be my last big weekend before the month-long experiment that I was setting out on. I had a good time…and that good time included a hangover, followed by some McDonald’s. It was a FANTASTIC weekend!
Sunday night was my first of two nights back at work. I decided that I was going to start taking the Alli on Monday. Because of my work schedule, I always count my Weight Watchers Points from midnight to midnight. That way, when I am working, my first meal of the day is actually my middle-of-the-night meal (lunch, if you will). And when I am off, I can eat like a normal person and count breakfast as breakfast and lunch as lunch and, well, you get the idea. It’s working well for me that way.
This Monday, my “lunch” was a Lean Cuisine meal that I stole from my parents’ house. I popped my first Alli pill and ate my meal. The meal only had about 9 grams of fat in it, so I didn’t expect any treatment effects…and I was right. When I got home from work, I had my next meal…two 97% fat free Hebrew National hot dogs on lite rolls and a yogurt. I once again popped my pill and at my meal, and once again, it was not overly high in fat and I had no treatment effects. Before heading into work tonight, I had my last meal of the day…Morningstar Farms corn dog bites (so yummy, and I was able to have two servings without going over my Points or my fat grams) and crinkle cut fries in the toaster oven. Again, I was within my fat parameters, and I had no treatment effects. My snack for the day was pretzels, which I brought to work with me to snack on toward the end of my eating day. I also caved a little and had a chocolate-covered peanut butter cracker that the parents of one of our recent NICU graduates brought in. However, even with that transgression, I was within my calorie goal for the day, and I was under in my fat grams. I did go a little over in Points (it’s interesting to really see how many calories Weight Watchers Points translate into…I am eating far fewer calories on Weight Watchers than I thought I was!), but it’s the start of a new week, and my Flex Points will more than cover that!
I would call this first day a success…I basically had a normal Weight Watchers day, and I just used Alli to augment it. Now, some of my habits will have to change with Alli. After all, it is not odd for me to save up Points once in a while to have McDonald’s for dinner on my way to work. And that won’t be a possibility on Alli…the number of fat grams in my usual Chicken McNugget Extra Value Meal would translate into some embarrassing after-effects later on. But I am hoping it will kind of force me to avoid such trips to McDonald’s in favor of more balanced and better planned eating.
That said, I will only be taking this for a month. I can’t imagine spending the money to take this medication long-term. And it is really only designed to be taken for six months, after which your newly learned habits are supposed to be ingrained enough that you won’t need Alli. I also can’t imagine never having the freedom to just give in to temptation and live it up a little. One of my favorite things about Weight Watchers is that it is able to absorb the effects of some off times. It is more a way of eating that I can live with…although I look forward to seeing what Alli is all about as well.
Will I make it the entire month on Alli? Will I suffer any treatment effects? Will I really go a month without ever eating more than 19 grams of fat at one meal? Stay tuned and find out…after all, I am in full disclosure mode now!