to think I shouldn't have to lose weight to get a prescription of weight loss pills?

(50 Posts)
ThereWasOnceAGirl Sat 23-Nov-13 12:26:48

I've battled with weight my entire life. 20+ years of dieting.

Recently I put on just over a stone in a very short space of time. So I thought enough was enough, what I'm doing is clearly not working and I want to try weight loss pills under a gps supervision.

GP rang me and said she would be happy to sit down an discuss it with me, but I would need to lose 5lbs before she would prescribe them (I currently weigh 13.6stone)

Aibu to think this defeats the object? If I could lose that much then I wouldn't be asking for pills.

CaptainSweatPants Sat 23-Nov-13 12:28:29

I think that's right
You need to show her you're committed to weightloss
The pills just help the process along , you still have to change what you eat

Pascha Sat 23-Nov-13 12:31:29

but the pills themselves aren't the answer. Its only helpful to take them if you are eating right and exercising anyway. Your GP is not going to want to prescribe pills unless you are showing a determined lifestyle change as well, the evidence of this would be to lose a few pounds first.

Diets don't work. You need to change what you eat but not as a 'diet', as small SUSTAINABLE changes. You have to do that with weight loss pills or you will make yourself ill. Your GP needs to know you can do this safely before prescibing. I've lost 9lb over the last 3 months. The ONLY change I've made is giving up my morning chocolate and coke at work plus I've been swimming lengths most weeks.
Pack up the diets and look at what your daily food routine is. What could you change without making yourself miserable or creating fresh challenges?

TEEARDIS Sat 23-Nov-13 12:34:09

If you can't lose that much, the pills won't work.

ProfPlumSpeaking Sat 23-Nov-13 12:34:13

On the plus side, you might find you can lose 5lb quite easily if you have only recently put on a stone. Go Monday and Thursday without eating and you will have done it within a week I bet. Good luck.

BlueGoddess Sat 23-Nov-13 12:34:39

I don't think 5lb is that much to loose . I've lost just over 3 stone through Slimming World and there are a lot of people doing that and more in just one week!

If you are serious about loosing weight then just make some some changes like cutting out as much fat as you can out of your food and increasing your fruit and veg intake to fill you up. You'll soon loose that.

Iamsparklyknickers Sat 23-Nov-13 12:36:11

Sorry but I think YABU, unless you have reason to think the weight gain is down to something else (I suspect not if you're going down the route of pills) then GP's want to see a commitment to a lifestyle change.

They don't just want to endlessly prescribe pills if all you're going to do is pile the weight back on and need more. 5lb is showing that despite your recent weight gain you're serious about making changes and need the help to keep up your motivation and see some quicker results.

I believe that before considering bariatric surgery you often need to show commitment to the diet needed afterwards and lose a certain amount of weight before.

Medication/surgery is a really good aid, not a cure so it stands to reason it's reserved for people who show a commitment.

WorraLiberty Sat 23-Nov-13 12:41:27

What did the Doctor say when you asked why?

5lbs is certainly not an unreachable goal and if you're determined enough, you'll do it.

There is no such thing as a magic pill, so you'll still have to muster up willpower and determination even if they are prescribed for you.

JinglingRexManningDay Sat 23-Nov-13 12:45:14

5lb is really doable. Look at not just what you et,but how much of it you eat.

DontmindifIdo Sat 23-Nov-13 12:46:57

How short a space of time did you gain the stone and have you been eating normally and doing some exercise? if you can't see a reason why you have suddenly gained weight, then you should go in to talk to the GP about it, not just get diet pills, but find out why you have suddenly gained weight. however, if you can look at your diet and exercise and point to why you gained the weight, then sorry, diet pills won't work for you, because you need to stop overeating/under exercising and the pills won't give you will power.

Rather than "go on a diet", look at what you do eat, work out if there's any small changes you can make or clearly see bad choices. As others have said, small changes are often a good point. Too many people who have a lot of weight to lose want a quick fix and see a large amount of weight loss quickly, unfortunately those diets are too much of a change from "normal" eating for that person to be sustainable. Make small "forever" changes, lose a small amount of weight. Then once that's your new 'normal' eating, make another change.

A gradual change from the diet of someone who overeats to one of someone who eats what's healthy for their height/age/lifestyle is easier to do than a fast fix that's not teaching you what of your old diet was wrong. However, you will have to wait to see a difference on the scales.

McPie Sat 23-Nov-13 12:47:54

Do they have a practice nurse they can reffer you to for advice? Mine did and she put me on the counterweight programme ( weight wise is based on it ), I was 15.7 july last year and am now 11.7.
I was eating so much in the first 2 weels that I was ready to give up if I had not lost anything, I did lose weight and continue to do so.
I had been under eating for years so my body had been holding onto everything it could and when I started to eat properly the weight fell off.
The plan is all about healthy eating and I was amazed at how much energy I had and started going to classes at my local leisure centre to help out.

ilovesooty Sat 23-Nov-13 12:51:04

I think the GP ' s request is perfectly reasonable.

YoureAllABunchOfBastards Sat 23-Nov-13 12:55:59

I was offered diet pills. I read up on the side effects and decided it was not for me. Instead I found a plan that suited me and stuck to it. I was over 14st in April and am now nearly down to 11st, eating normal food
and not shitting myself which is what the pills make you do

Beastofburden Sat 23-Nov-13 13:07:06

if I could lose that much then I wouldn't be asking for pills

Yes you would. You are. That is what your GP is trying to tell you.

Looking on the bright side, what other people do does work, and it will work for you too.

BumPotato Sat 23-Nov-13 13:09:05

Don't bother with the pills. I got them from docs and they gave me dandruff and joint pain, not to mention the squits.

Shonajoy Sat 23-Nov-13 13:18:45

I think it's good she's asked you to lose weight first.

Takingbackmonday Sat 23-Nov-13 13:22:04

You can buy alli pills from boots online...

Talkinpeace Sat 23-Nov-13 13:22:26

losing a few pounds is easy
Stop snacking : eat only at mealtimes and never ever in between
no fizzy drinks before 7pm (treat fizzy like alcohol)

if you are not willing to make the effort up front, why should the doctor give you drugs that cost a lot more than a prescription charge?

Daddypigsgusset Sat 23-Nov-13 13:56:43

My friend used to shit her pants all the time on the pills from the doctor. I'd rather be fat tbh

ladypete Sat 23-Nov-13 14:13:44

I would say your Dr sounds reasonable. As others have said, losing 5lb is a good way to ensure you are in the right frame of mind and are living a lifestyle that allows weight loss before you begin the pills to encourage your progress.

Also, don't some weight loss pills have side effects such as increased blood pressure etc. We don't know your height but she may be trying to lower the risk for you .

Astarael Sat 23-Nov-13 14:17:51

Has someone seriously suggested the op eat nothing on Monday or Thursday??!! I hope there is some sarcasm/joke there that I'm not understanding.

Op please listen to those suggesting healthy and sustainable methods of losing weight instead.

Talkinpeace Sat 23-Nov-13 15:13:12

Tens of thousands of people in the UK are now routinely not eating on Mondays and Thursdays : its easy and sustainable and means we get to enjoy our weekend meals.

Before you have a biscuit out of the tin at work, think whether everybody else washes their hands thoroughly wink

WooWooOwl Sat 23-Nov-13 15:20:28


You still need to eat properly and do exercise while using these pills, they are not a magic cure.

Your GP needs to know that you are able to do that before prescribing you medication that will only work if you do these things.

senua Sat 23-Nov-13 15:28:10

What commitment do doctors ask for before giving quit smoking help?

Talkinpeace Sat 23-Nov-13 15:33:49

Nicotine is a drug so addictive and smoking so life limiting that it would be illegal and class A if it were introduced to the UK now.

Overeating is not in the same category.

senua Sat 23-Nov-13 15:44:08

Overeating is not in the same category.

Maybe not for you, but it is for some. When people trill "it's so easy for me. Eat less, more more" does it never occur to them that there is more to it than that? OP said "I've battled with weight my entire life. 20+ years of dieting." She has been doing it wrongly, apparently, for 20 years. Isn't about time she got some help instead of a ticking off.

Talkinpeace Sat 23-Nov-13 15:47:11

I am more than happy to help those who want to help themselves.
Diet pills are NOT a sustainable way to help oneself.
The doctor is quite correct in wanting the OP to take the first step of the journey unaided.

senua Sat 23-Nov-13 15:50:07

You are not listening. She has been doing the journey unaided for 20 years and it's not working. I'm not saying that the pills are the answer but saying "go away and do it on your own" isn't the answer either.

ProfPlumSpeaking Sat 23-Nov-13 15:54:44

Astarael there is some scientific evidence that intermittent fasting is healthy - it lowers various risk markers in your blood. Possibly more importantly for a failed dieter, it is also very easy to stick to as it is very binary (eat some days, don;t on others) and the OP can still eat whatever she normally does on the other days. She will be (pretty much) guaranteed to lose the 5lbs in one week which to her, at the moment, seems impossible. It's only for the one week if all she wants is the pills although doing it more often according to the 5:2 plan would be a viable alternative to the pills.

The NHS website says:

In one study carried out in 2010 the researchers found that women placed on a 5:2 diet achieved similar levels of weight loss as women placed on a calorie controlled diet.
They also experienced reductions in a number of biological indicators (biomarkers) that suggest a reduction in the risk of developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
A further study in 2012 suggested that the 5:2 model may help lower the risk of certain obesity-related cancers, such as breast cancer.
The increasing popularity of the 5:2 diet should lead to further research of this kind.

No sarcasm or joking.

optimusic Sat 23-Nov-13 16:08:02

The pills are not just about popping a pill or two a day and the weight drops off. They are an aide. With the pills you still have to eat within the right amount of calories a day, you have to avoid certain foods, which you shouldn't be eating all the time anyway, you have to limit the amount of sugary foods. You have to portion control. You have to avoid as much fat in your diet as possible, which you should be doing anyway...Realistically, do this with some gentle exercise and you should loose some weight unless there is an underlining health condition.

Have you ever spoke to a nutritionist about meal planning and portion control. I am not saying this is what is happening with you, but I do know people who constantly battle with weight, who eat healthily, never really loose weight, but have massive meals that would feed a family of 3.

NigellaLaw5on Sat 23-Nov-13 16:28:11

Maybe if she routed her journey via the gym her weight wouldnt be a problem.

RaRa1988 Sat 23-Nov-13 16:33:21

I think YABVU to expect pills to just be dished out. As others have said, you need to make a sustained effort yourself - and not just a short-term fix. You need to show that you are committed to living a healthier life. Maybe ask to be referred to a dietician to help you improve your eating habits, and see a gym instructor about a feasible exercise routine. Losing 5lb should be easy at your weight, assuming you don't have a medical condition that prohibits weight loss.

Latara Sat 23-Nov-13 16:36:13

ThereWasOnceAGirl Ask your GP for a dietician referral. I did and have lost 2 stone (from your current weight down to 11st7lb).
I'm now aiming to get to down to a healthy BMI of 23 - 24 and stay there.
(I put on over a stone very fast due to psychiatric medications (I changed meds luckily). I looked at all my meds and asked to change to versions that don't make me pile on weight.)

How i'm doing it (with dietician guidance):

1500 cals a day - you have to be really strict. All food items to contain less than 3g saturated fat per 100g. And a only a very low amount of sugar per 100g.

3 meals a day with 2 - 3 snacks. Each meal should contain starchy carbs (for energy), low fat protein and plenty of veg / fruit.

I've cut out all calorific drinks - no fruit juices, alcohol, full sugar sodas - drink lots of water, or diet drinks, or tea / coffee with skimmed milk only.

Also cut out are cakes, chocolate, sweets, crisps, takeaways, deep fried food inc. chips, oil, butter, extra sugar inc. honey, cream, ice cream, and fatty cuts of meat inc. sausage & burgers; pizza, full fat cheese.

I allow myself 2 small treats a week eg 1 scoop of ice cream with my coffee in Thorntons café; 1 small glass of wine at the pub one evening.

It sounds difficult and it is. But you get to love the taste of healthy food.
Learning about food labels and ingredients really helps.

Exercise helps too - I go to the gym for 50 minutes at least 3 times a week and walk everywhere. Lifting weights is good because your body continues to burn fat for 24 hrs after.

Learn what your body fat and visceral body fat % are. THis is very motivating.

If I can do it (I had the worst sweet tooth) then so can you.

MiaowTheCat Sat 23-Nov-13 16:48:20

Put bluntly - unless you can show you can stick to a low fat diet... you will have a very very unpleasant life on the pills. I lost 3st with them coupled with diet - but by heck are they unforgiving if you slip up (basically you'll get greasy shits - and worse - follow through farts with that oily stuff you kind of get on the top of spag bol and the like).

Tabby1963 Sat 23-Nov-13 16:49:26

OP, I've tried diet pills a failed dieter for 37 years and counting lol, they are not the answer.

As other posters have stated they cause unpleasant side effects (and I had an alarming allergic reaction too). Additionally, they don't teach you to make free choices about improving your lifestyle and food intake.

You state that you have put on a stone in a short space of time. That is something for you to look carefully at. What changes have taken place in your routine and lifestyle recently? Be honest with yourself.

I have started making small changes (as other posters have already mentioned too) and focused on making food choices that are kind to myself and body.

You want a quick fix but, take it from me (an expert in quick fixes), it ain't a quick fix, you won't sustain it long term.

Look at making long lasting changes in your lifestyle and food intake rather than "I want to lose a stone or two by Christmas".

Good luck.

You could try the national slimming centre they have weight loss pills and they don't ask you to loose weight before you start

JennyOnAPlate Sat 23-Nov-13 19:05:38

You are being unreasonable I'm afraid. The doctor wants you to show that you're committed to weight loss and able to follow a healthy diet. You cant eat whatever you like and then just pop a doesn't work like that. You will have to follow a very low fat diet whilst taking them, or risk the very unpleasant side effects!

I am sympathetic to your plight btw. I weigh almost 17st and have battled with food and weight issues since I was a young child. It's very tough and you deserve support to deal with it.

I've lost 10kg on the 5:2 diet after years of struggling. I wouldn't dream of using diet pills.

AnyaKnowIt Sat 23-Nov-13 19:13:02

What commitment do doctors ask for before giving quit smoking help?

When I asked for champix to quit smoking I had to do a breath test thingy to prove I was quitting otherwise I wouldn't get the script.

Hatescolds Sat 23-Nov-13 19:51:34

Gp not being unfair- is simply sticking to NICE

supposed to evaluate effect of diet/ exercise etc before starting orlistat/ BNF recommends weight loss first - so I suppose if this is the first time you have consulted her she is simply trying to ensure she has followed guidelines.
Accept that if you have been frequently and have had all advice documented then perhaps you could try.
Side effects orlistat horrible though

Laurel1979 Sat 23-Nov-13 19:56:19

YABU. It's best practice to ask patients to demonstrate commitment to losing weight beforehand, and your GP has given you correct advice. I recently did an audit on Orlistat prescribing in our practice (I'm a GP) and we found that on average, patients actually tended to gain weight on treatment, particularly in those who had not made the effort to lose weight beforehand. If you are not happy to follow your doctor's advice, remember these pills can be purchased over the counter in some pharmacies.

SkinnybitchWannabe Sat 23-Nov-13 20:00:07

Ive had pills from the doctor before. They did absolutely nothing for me.
I lost a little bit but nothing amazing.
In January I started Slimming World and have now lost 4 stone. The plan is brilliant, fits into my family life easily and I dont feel I'm on a 'diet' at all.
im not even halfway through my journey but I know with a proper eating plan that has no nasty side effects I will achieve my goal.
I didn't feel that way whrn I was given pills.
Maybe they will work for you, there's probably hundreds of people out there who lost weight with them.
Good luck .

Cheesyslice Sat 23-Nov-13 20:32:29


Pills solve fuck all. As others have proffered, you are better off actually dealing with the underlying issues which have plagued you for all of these years. Easier said than done, yes, but there clearly is no easy answer.

RedLondonBus Sat 23-Nov-13 20:37:15

And what exercise will you be doing?

What exercise do you presently do?

Shonajoy Sat 23-Nov-13 21:01:54

Gp's just give you ONE course of nicotine patches/ cessation aids. So someone who is morbidly obese would only get one chance. That's not fair is it?

Shonajoy Sat 23-Nov-13 21:03:00

I actually can't believe this question has even been asked- I mean you want to lose weight, right? What's wrong with asking for you to show willing?

LeaveTheBastid Sat 23-Nov-13 21:39:40

The pills are absolutely pointless anyway. They work by blocking your absorption of fat. But on them, you have to eat an extremely low fat diet or else face uncontrollably shitting orange oil down the back of your legs whilst wearing white linen pants as a friend did years ago. In public.

You need to address your issues with food before you embark on any sort of weight loss plan. These little blue pills are not the answer you're looking for.

Talkinpeace Sat 23-Nov-13 21:50:47


I assume you are lurking but choosing not to re enter the fray
I accept and understand that
AIBU is the least sympathetic board on mumsnet

you do not need sympathy, but you need support
and you will find it here

please, do not give up.
You are unhappy with what the GP said, but the NHS does not have the resources to give you the support you need, day in , day out
MN does

look forward to seeing you there

specialsubject Sat 23-Nov-13 22:54:45

the only weight loss pills that work are the ones that make you leak fat out of your backside. Nice.

your GP would do better giving you help to overcome disordered eating (which is what dieting is, and is really shown if you've banged on a stone in a 'short time') and helping you learn about a healthy lifestyle.

good luck.

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