Permanent Weight Loss: Does it Come in a Pill?

by Alan Wayler

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“One brownie never made anyone fat.”
Thelma J. Wayler, MS, RD, Founder, Green Mountain at Fox Run, 1972

Weight loss never comes in a pill | A healthy weight spa program

In the 1970s, Green Mountain founder Thelma J. Wayler, MS, RD, welcomed participants with these words. And every woman in the room nodded in agreement. The words ring as true today as they did then. Diets without changes in emotional/attitudinal behaviors and lifestyle patterns offer little chance of long-term success.

The introduction of new obesity drugs that can depress appetites in some people present another option for weight loss. But can drug therapy replace the need for lifestyle and emotional/behavioral changes that truly support long-term health and well-being?

While the debate continues as to whether these drugs are good or bad, safe or not, or will work over time, it’s essential that we don’t lose sight of everything we’ve learned about successful health and weight management. In other words, the Big Picture.

Whether it’s human nature or simple the seductiveness of taking a “magic pill,” having extra body fat vanish without effort is extremely appealing. Unfortunately, total reliance on drugs is short-sighted and may undermine long-term success. While drugs may help suppress appetite, we all know that we overeat and binge for many other reasons, which often have nothing to do with being physically hungry. While the drugs might make some of us physiologically satisfied, they can’t satisfy psychologically. Diets don’t, and I don’t believe drugs can either.


“If one diet ever worked, there’d never be need for another.”
Thelma J. Wayler, MS, RD, Founder, Green Mountain at Fox Run, 1972

Lifestyle change is and will always be an essential part of the prescription for long-term weight management. If you read the literature that accompanies obesity drugs, even the pharmaceutical companies state unequivocally that you need to change your eating, exercise and stress management and emotional behaviors to be successful.

For some, appetite-suppressing drugs may be the difference between getting started and not starting at all. But the key word here is “starting.” The pill is only a beginning. To continue on a lifelong path of good health, lifestyle change is essential. Then, if the drugs work, not only are you going to weigh less, but you’ll have a host of strategies supporting this newfound weight. On the other hand, if the medications don’t work, you’ll still have the lifestyle strategies as a backup to ensure that the efforts you’ve made are not wasted.


“It’s not the food, it’s the feelings.”
Thelma J. Wayler, MS, RD, Founder, Green Mountain at Fox Run, 1973

Green Mountain has long promoted the idea that there is no one formula for success, nor is there a right or wrong way. We have also advocated that people need choices – for building personalized approaches to ensure that changes are reasonable and can fit into their busy lives. So, if you and your health care provider have chosen one of these drugs, maximize your success by empowering yourself with the skills, knowledge and understanding it takes to create the emotional/attitudinal and lifestyle changes that will lead to a lifetime of health, positive body image, and confidence.