An ugly thing is sticking it’s head out in the local fitness industry. It’s not a new issue, it’s a resurrection of an issue that seems to have a cyclical component.
The last time I heard of this was about four years ago and then a friend drew my attention to it again last week. I doubt it’s been quiet in the intervening years, I probably just didn’t hear about it for a while.
The issue in question is the abuse of prescription medication for weight loss.
Four years ago, a friend and colleague in the fitness industry who was new in town asked for recommendations for a GP so that she could renew her prescription for her thyroid medication. A fellow personal trainer ( yes, a supposed professional), told her that if she went to a specific pharmacy and told a specific pharmacist that he had sent her, she could get the meds without a script. He said he did it for all his clients to help them lose weight.
Now it’s become a trend again, so much so that a womens magazine recently ran an article on it, and it seems it’s quite prevalent amongst gym goers, not only professional body builders, who prefer a quick fix over a hard slog.
What these people don’t know (or do, but don’t care ), is that taking medication unnecessarily is never a good thing. Your body’s hormonal balance exists on a sensitive mechanism called a negative feedback loop. Flood your system with unnecessary thyroid hormone, and pretty soon it stops manufacturing it’s own. So when you stop the meds, your metabolism drops and you pick up weight again and start the whole process all over. Each time you do more damage until your body no longer produces the hormone in question and you become completely reliant on the medication. You have just medicated yourself into a full blown medical condition.
Even more worrying, is that seeing as how thyroid medication can only be obtained on doctors prescription, most of these people are obtaining the drug through illegal sources, with no guarantee that they are getting the pure product.
I took the liberty of googling a popular appetite suppressant which I know is a scheduled drug. I came across more than one website where I could purchase it without a prescription, no questions asked. They all say they are selling the real deal, they all say its safe to use, they will all post my order without quibble. They look real, just like the real thing, right down to the packaging.
Some side effects of this appetite suppressant: heart palpitations, psychotic episodes, mood swings, depression, dry mouth, anorexia. Perfectly safe to take without a doctor’s supervision? Yeah, right!
Now to get to the point, don’t think you can abuse these meds indiscriminately and not pay the price. You can’t buy health on credit, you will pay one day in worse ways than you imagine right now. If you are considering these methods, think again. And then think again. Research the drugs and pay close attention to the side effects. There are reasons why these medications usage needs to be monitored by a medical professional.
If your trainer or wellness professional recommends this path to you, or ( even worse) offers to get the drug for you, they do not have your best interests at heart. All that matters to them is that you show great results so that they look good. If they are truly concerned about your health, they will refer you to a medical professional to have a full hormone profile test done to determine why you aren’t losing weight. I would suggest reporting them to their professional governing body, and getting a new trainer- one who can help you without resorting to underhand, illegal methods.
Health is not a right- it’s a privilege. One that should not be abused, or the consequences could be disastrous.