This is not a hoax. This is real. It is also sick, twisted and wrong on just about every level. When I first saw the announcement, I thought it was a bulimia parody. I thought someone was playing an absurd joke. I’m not laughing anymore, I am mortified, and just plain angry!

The FDA has approved a device for inducing bulimia as a means to lose weight. Yes. Subjects lost, on average, 12.5% of their body weight in 12 months and that’s enough to gain approval. If you can lose weight, it’s good enough for the obese public (approved for Body Mass Indexes over 35).

How it works: The AspireAssist induces emptying of the contents of the stomach 20-30 minutes following a meal, through a tube inserted into the stomach and controlled by a port on the abdomen. Sounds lovely. No more making yourself vomit after a meal… now the device will help you do it.

I am not making this up.

From my reading of the study, no long-term followup took place to see if there was weight regain. Of course not, because in 95% of all cases of weight loss, the weight returns and sometimes even more. There would be no need to study weight maintenance because the results are always the same.

Oh yes. There are some unpleasant side-effects, which I’m sure you can just imagine. Nausea, abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, etc. If you want to read more about it, click here.

It appears that our obsession with weight loss has reached an all-time low. How can anyone with even half a brain support this nonsense? And we have the FDA, our food and drug watchdogs and overlords giving this device their approval. And some physician who is convinced that weight loss, regardless of how it is accomplished, is the means to a healthy end, is going to recommend this procedure. And some obese patient, desperate for answers to a problem that won’t go away, is going to agree to this cruel and unusual punishment for the crime of being overweight. And insurance will pay for it.

I cannot say it enough. When something just doesn’t make common sense… follow the money. Somebody’s enjoying a whopping good payday on this one. Who really is watching out for the best interest and health of the consumer? And just in case you think this is only an American problem, the AspireAssist has been available in Europe before gaining FDA approval in the United States. Apparently, some very good money has been thrown at this.

And yes, I am angry. Not pretty angry, ugly angry. And you should be too. So – what are we going to do about it? Let’s begin close in and close up. Let’s examine our own thoughts around being overweight and what we are personally willing to endure in order to come closer to the “ideal”?

We’ve all been there at some point. We’re all guilty as charged. We’ve all judged ourselves as unworthy when the scale tips at a certain point. We’ve all berated ourselves for eating more than we “should” or for not exercising enough.

What can we do? Begin with awareness. What you think impacts how you feel. Your health and well-being are determined by how you feel about your body. What is the conversation you have with yourself about your body and your weight? That’s where the difference can be made.

Your self-worth can never be determined by a number on a scale, nor will it ever be the measure of your health. Stop and think. You hold the answers – not the FDA – not your doctor –not anyone else but you.

Think of the absurdity of the Aspire-Assist. And then think of the sobering fact that it exists for a reason. You have a choice. You may believe that weight loss is the answer, and continue to search outside yourself for the solution.

However – there are no external fixes for an internal struggle. You hold the answer.

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