Can you really inject yourself thinner?

  • The problem with this worrying new ‘Skinny Jab’ fad
  • Can you really inject yourself thinner? And if so, SHOULD you?
  • The boring but effective truth about weight loss

Well, this is depressing.

I don’t know if you’ve watched The Only Way Is Essex (I haven’t) or recognise one of its stars, Gemma Collins, who has appeared on numerous reality shows.

She’s one of the new breed of reality stars who don’t seem to do much in the way of anything creative…

However, they have huge followings of VERY impressionable youngsters who want to buy into a bit of their celebrity lifestyle.

During the summer she boasted on Instagram about her weight loss, which she credited to an injection.

Known as the ‘SkinnyJab’, it gives you a sense of fullness, meaning that you are less hungry.

Every week for a month you stab a pen-like device into your stomach.

The drug inside is called ‘liraglutide’, the side effects of which can include:

· Nausea

· Vomiting

· Constipation

· Diarrhoea

· Inflammation of the pancreas

Nice, eh?

So you’d think this treatment is something that should only be used in extreme circumstances, when all other avenues of weight loss have been exhausted…

And ONLY under close supervision from an expert, as part of a full health programme involving nutrition?

But no…

The problem with this new fad

Gemma Collins was PAID to recommend SkinnyJab on Instagram – yet my understanding is that is against the law to promote prescription medicine directly to the public.

Worse still, her followers are impressionable youngsters, most of whom this treatment is definitely NOT for.

“If she can use the jab, so can we,” is what thousands of slightly overweight young followers of Collins will say – instead of understanding that it might be their self image that’s the problem, or that there are better ways to lose weight without the side effects.

Kerry Katona, former pop star turned reality star, has also promoted this therapy on social media.

As I discovered, both have the same PR representative as the company behind SkinnyJab, one of the main businesses that create these products.

Because of this, I think there’s a risk that people who don’t really need this drug will desperately try to get hold of it.

LloydsPharmacy are offering the SkinnyJab as a £260 per month programme ONLY for those with a BMI over 30, meaning that they are in the obese category.

But it seems like people are finding other ways to access the drug…

For instance, I read about one woman from Dublin who got hold of it from a stranger on Facebook!

So can you really inject yourself thinner?

…And SHOULD you?

Now, there is some evidence that this drug works.

But then again, so did amphetamine-based diet drugs that were all the rage in the mid-20th century.

Those worked too.

Didn’t mean they were good for you.

They were addictive, with side effects like tremors, nausea, sweating, chest pains, anxiety attacks, palpitations, heart damage and higher risk of stroke.

Even if the side effects of the SkinnyJab are relatively mild, what’s depressing is that this is another health fad promising a quick fix solution…

It doesn’t tackle the deep psychological reasons behind why people eat…

It doesn’t tackle the underlying lifestyle problems that cause people to gain weight…

It doesn’t tackle the problems endemic in the food industry…

Instead, we have celebrities telling young people that they can solve their problems with an injection.

One that comes with considerable side effects too.

Sure, the injection will make you feel full for a few months…

And some pounds will drop off.

But what comes after that?

What happens when the injections stop?

The boring but effective truth about weight loss

The idea of magic pills and injections to suddenly rid you of your weight problems is very exciting.

So are all those diets with fancy names…

The Paleo Diet, the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, the 5:2 diet…

But how successful they are depends on your metabolism.

Not only that, different bodies are more or less tolerant of different foods (gluten or dairy for instance) which also affects the results.

In 2015 Israeli researchers led by Eran Segal and Eran Elinav of the Weizmann Institute of Science, ran tests on the different diets.

They found that different subjects showed different responses to the same food. The researchers suggested that the future of weight control would be for individuals to discover their own eating plans, based on their own bodies and experiences.

So the only sustainable way to lose weight is, I’m afraid, the boring way…

It’s about making small-yet-permanent changes to your life, finding what works best for YOU – your personality, your genetic makeup, your body’s tolerance.

This includes not only the food you eat but addressing your mental wellbeing, sleep levels, balanced lifestyle, exercise and mobility.

To give you some examples:

· Eat off smaller plates to help control your portion sizes

· Eat at regular times of the day

· Do lots of moving around and walking

· Find some ways to relieve stress

· Get into a good sleeping routine

· Ask for help and support from loved ones and friends

· Find new hobbies and pastimes to take your mind off food

· Go on a sustainable eating plan that includes lots of green veg, fruit and pulses

· Reduce the amount of refined carbohydrates in your diet

· Lower the amount of sugar you eat

· Use the foods you enjoy (chocolate and cheese for instance) as a reward system to keep you motivated

The main thing is that the diet you choose is one that you enjoy enough to continue into the distant future.

As Christopher Gardner, professor of nutritional science at Stanford University School of Medicine says: “If you have a new way of eating and think, I’m going to eat like this forever, that’s the way to lose weight.”

Sometimes the root of the problem can also be about the image you have of yourself…

And I think this might apply to many of Gemma Collins’ impressionable young followers, who might think they are more overweight than they really are and end up seeking this drug for no good reason.

For more on this, check out my blog post [Why body image needs to be revisited]