Obalon balloon weight loss pill. Really?

by Amy Renee

When will we learn that behavior change is the only way to get healthy? I can’t even believe someone would consider doing this. According to the makers of Obalon, “The Obalon balloon assists with weight loss by helping you feel full sooner and eat less. This, along with diet and exercise, jump-starts your efforts, proving that when it comes to losing weight, less is truly more.”

Have you heard of the new weight loss pill? The one that turns into a balloon inside your stomach? Umm…yeah, that’s what I want, is a balloon in my stomach. For all of you that hate feeling bloated, can you imagine walking around with an inflated balloon inside of you? It has been reported that some patients have three balloons at a time inflated in their stomach all for the sake of losing a little weight. And it’s not like they are losing a ton of weight either. The average weight loss is at most 20 pounds. Really? Is it really that much better than learning to live a healthier lifestyle? Doesn’t anyone care about their actual health these days? Or is it all about what you look like???

Here is a link to Sky News describing the Obalon balloon.

The way the Obalon pill works is you swallow the pill (or up to three) with a small tube attached and once the pill reaches the stomach (determined by x-ray) the doctor inflates the balloon. The purpose is to make people feel full and not want to eat. The problem I see with this is that most people who are overweight or obese do not listen to satiety cues – that’s one of the problems that got them to where they are in the first place. So they could potentially just keep eating and stretch the stomach even more! And if they do lose weight (the makers say up to 20 pounds in 3 months) chances are the patient will gain it right back after the pill, er, deflated balloon is removed because NO BEHAVIOR CHANGE WAS MADE!!! And the cost? Umm, yeah. On average this procedure costs upwards of $4000 per pill plus travel because you’ll have to go to either Europe or Mexico to get it since it is not FDA approved in the U.S.

Click here to watch a clip about Americans traveling to Mexico to get this pill.

The biggest problem I have with this pill is that it doesn’t take any consideration for lifestyle changes. Setting small goals like adding more fruits and vegetables to the diet while reducing the amount of animal and processed foods consumed and adding more physical activity can lead to additional changes toward a healthier lifestyle that will not only lead to weight loss, but will dramatically reduce the risk for chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and more. Someone could end up paying thousands of dollars in a desperate attempt to lose weight and while he or she may initially lose a significant amount of weight, without any newly learned healthy lifestyle habits set in place it could (and probably will) easily come back, and likely faster than it came off – and with some bonus weight to boot! NOT COOL!

Seriously? Is this what it has come to? Are we really getting this lazy? All this is doing is wasting money, delaying the health benefits of behavior change and putting people at risk for serious problems. The makers of the pill say the only concern is early deflation of the balloons with the possibility of them getting lodged in the intestines. Oh, geez is that all? Sounds like a good enough reason to me NOT TO DO THIS! Ridiculous.

Click here to see what the doctors of the popular show by the same name have to say about it.

I’d rather go eat my delicious, SEXY veggies and NOT feel bloated and NOT have something jammed into my intestines and at the same time reduce my risk for several, yes, SEVERAL chronic diseases. Besides, time flies by! Everyone knows that. So for all of you who want to desperately lose weight quickly, just start living healthier now and you won’t believe how fast your clothes start to fit looser. I swear to you it WILL happen naturally. Please don’t fall for gimmicks or put yourself at risk with crazy fad diets or balloons in your stomach! Go read my post, “Behavior change is hard but YOU CAN DO IT” right now!!!

Just my opinion. Because I am passionate about your health. And I care. About you. About me. About the health of our nation and our future generations. We need a change – a POSITIVE change toward healthier lifestyles.

References:

  1. Obalon. http://www.obalon.com/. Accessed on July 20, 2014.
  2. Norton S. Sky News: obalon balloon launched in UK. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21rqMF6-OFc. Published on January 26, 2014. Accessed on July 20, 2014.
  3. Van Zeller M. Americans head to Mexico for weight-loss ‘balloon pill’. Good Morning America ABC News. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6pMnBjdCM4. Published on May 15, 2014. Accessed on July 20, 2014.
  4. Kaila S. Intragastric stomach balloon weight loss NONsurgical procedure. The Doctors Show. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymGMe5opinw. Uploaded on Septemeber 20, 2010. Accessed on July 20, 2014.

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