In this fast paced, consumer oriented world of ours, anyone looking for a quick easy fix of our myriad problems is going to be faced with an almost overwhelming array of solutions to choose from.
Weight loss and smoking – the two issues I deal with most of the time, are also the two most difficult issues to deal with as we want solutions which fit in with our lifestyles, do not require too much effort, and give fast results.
The smoker wants to be cigarette free without all the irritability and craving apparently associated with nicotine ‘withdrawal’.
The overweight person wants to lose as much weight as quickly as possible, while still enjoying as much of his/her ‘comfort food as is possible without breaking the ‘diet’.
In response to these demands the market place (and our inboxes) are flooded with products and pills promising, “INSTANT DRAMATIC WEIGHT LOSS!”, “LOSE 7lbs IN 7 DAYS!”, TAKE THIS PILL AND STOP SMOKING NOW!”, “STICK THIS PATCH ON AND BREAK THE FAG HABIT OF A LIFETIME,”……
The trouble with these types of products is, when you read the small print, they more often than not say something along the lines of “will only promote weight loss if used as part of a calorie controlled diet.” So that £50 pot of miracle pills will make you slim, but only if you reduce your food intake and increase your exercise output – which in its simplest terms is all you need to do to lose weight.
And for anyone thinking about using Zyban to give up smoking, Zyban is actually the antidepressant Wellbrutin repackaged and remarketed as a smoking cessation drug. The following paragraph comes from GlaxoSmithKline’s own prescribing information which is freely available on the internet:
“Although Zyban is not indicated for treatment of depression, it contains the same active ingredient as the antidepressant medications Wellbrutin.”
And the document itself starts off with a pretty stark warning:
“Serious neuropsychiatric events, including but not limited to depression, suicidal ideation, suicide attempt and completed suicide have been reported in patients taking Zyban for smoking cessation.”
On the NHS Choices website, the side effects state that more than 1 in 100 people who take Zyban may have ‘depression, thoughts of committing suicide or attempted suicide.’
Wow! That’s pretty low odds. So the choice here is pretty stark – continue smoking and risk lung cancer, or take Zyban and risk suicide!
On another website advertising the drug, it states somewhere near the bottom that bupropion (the active ingredient in Zyban/Wellbrutin) ‘does not ‘make’ you stop smoking. You still need determination to succeed, and to break the smoking habit.’
And therein the head of the nail is well and truly bashed… to break any habit, whether smoking, chocolate, nail biting, picking your nose, you need to put in the effort, you need determination, you need self discipline. The minute you label any compulsive habit as an addiction and start looking for a quick fix pill, you are greatly reducing your belief in yourself to break what is really just a silly habit that for various reasons unknown to you (but in most cases known to me!) you are clinging to.
Even hypnotherapy will not work in the long term if you do not believe yourself that you can do it. Which is why, when I am working with people, I am spending more and more time concentrating on the reasons why they cannot break their habits, and giving them the psychological skills and strengths to break the habits themselves.
In other words, you develop resilience, tolerance, empowerment, you break negative thinking patterns and limiting belief systems – all skills which will help you to not only achieve your immediate goal of losing weight/stopping smoking, but more widely will also help you to truly thrive in your life.