Laxatives and Weight Loss
It is a popular practice that has spanned over generations of people to stay in shape by using drugs and substances that have laxative properties. Laxatives are pills that are used for constipation, which aid peristalsis and assist in the passage and softening of stool. Laxatives and weight loss have long been associated together, a common perception by people from different walks of lives, who are seeking quick and drastic solutions to combat unwanted weight gains. However, there are many negative side effects to using laxatives for weight loss. Read on for more information.
Public Pressure on Women to Lose Weight
In modern times, ladies seem to be burdened with the challenge of conforming to a certain set of standards in the society. These unwritten laws are important guides for the expected look, shape and size. Therefore, when attending important occasions or making public appearances in galas, awards, special dinners, it becomes a necessity not just look their best, but to be able to fit into the specially made exotic dresses designed for slim figures as that is what is trending and that signifies sexiness and allure in the modern society, hence the search for a solution.
It has become a normal thing that a woman has to represent or become a subject of beauty and awe in their outlook. They will do almost anything that would make them look attractive, causing heads to spin when they walk into places. Ultimately, every lady wants to be a show stopper. This pressure has led many of them to turn to methods and things that will aid in either maintaining or portraying such athletic and slim body type even when they don’t yet possess the target physique.
Some turn to regular exercise and strict diet management while the majority just looks for the easily available fixes. From wearing uncomfortable waist trainers to inducing vomits and in some extreme cases, ladies have been found to even go as far as starving themselves.
While these practices still continue till now, some people seem to have found an informed and educated approach to all of these through the use of laxative drugs in order to lose the additional pounds pretty quickly. You will be surprised at how many around you swallow these pills just to fit in their wedding dresses, prom clothes, and dinner gowns or even work uniforms as they tirelessly strive to attain this facade.
This doesn’t mean the only gender that uses laxatives are females but they have been found to use it more for the purpose of looking prim and proper when you consider the popular trends.
Just like muscle dysmorphia in men, which is a disorder found in males who are worried about their muscular bulkiness, so most men tend to be more interested in adding more weight whether muscularly to gain Thor-like physique or just fat as a result of drinking bouts with their friends in bars, clubs or pubs.
Celebrities fold under the Pressure to Lose Weight
In addition, the fashion industry keeps recycling clothes that cover the body of men while they constantly come up with new innovations to produce revealing dresses for the women. Men clad themselves in dresses almost every time and everywhere, whereas the ladies tend to wear less and fewer coverings to exhibit their femininity and exude sexual appeal.
Such a difference can be clearly seen in the movie industry, where you’ll find the female wardrobe producing skimpy and body revealing costumes contrary to their male counterparts who are seldom paraded shirtless for long periods of time, as they quickly slip into Suits, Shirts with ties which symbolizes the same allure the girls only get by revealing their cleavages or better still a show of ample body parts.
The best example can be seen in the recent superhero movie, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. In this movie, the character of Wonder Woman also known as Diana Prince portrayed by the one-time Miss Israel, the amazing Gal Gadot, had a very short costume to wear compared to the well-covered capes of Superman and Batman played by Henry Cavill alongside Ben Affleck respectively. In one of her interviews, she brought up the fact that she was surprised at having to move around with larger parts of her body exposed to the cold weather, especially with the movie being shot in winter.
People with eating disorders have been often connected with laxative use and its subsequent abuse. Demi Lovato is one of the few celebrities that have come out to the public relieving her horror episodes with bulimia nervosa which led to laxative abuse and self-harm.
Misuse of Laxatives for Weight Loss
“Pretty Hurts”, a song by the famous American songwriter and musician, Beyoncé Knowles, the multiple Grammy award winner, depicted how eating disorders and outrageous cosmetic procedures are the consequences suffered in the beauty industry. The music video portrayed how beauty queens had to lose weights in a short period of time through ridiculous means just to fit the stereotypical frame of pageantry so as to win the competition. So laxatives have become a readily available go to solution for weight loss. But, this begs the question of its authenticity and overall safety.
Although the medicinal purpose of laxatives is meant for patients suffering from constipation, its effect on the body’s weight has been exploited and abused even though it is only temporary. A function carried out, by siphoning water from other regions of the body into the bowels causing the stool to be softened and excessive excretion of water. The body’s weight is 70% water and these pills reduce that individual’s water content which reflects in the resultant drop in weight through this unique way.
Problems with Laxative Abuse
The temptation is that we all enjoy easy fixes deep down and in this case, this leads to the dependence and abuse of the drugs. A lot of things can go wrong from overuse of laxatives. One can become overly dehydrated leading to fatigue, dizziness and dry skin among other issues.
There are many important minerals that allow for proper functioning of the body, while getting rid of the water in the system all in the name of losing weight we are eliminating some of this important element, throwing the body off balance and exposing the individual to dangerous risks like seizures or worse coma.
Other challenging dangers of laxative misuse are increased exposure to loss of muscular tissue and damage to important biological organs such as the Liver, the Pancreas, and Kidneys.
A Healthier Approach to Weight Loss
In conclusion, even though laxatives may work in ways that reduce weight, it is not intended for lasting changes in weight. Therefore, if you’re in search for permanent ways to drop those extra pounds then other healthier and permanent ways should be sought. A healthy diet rich in fruits and roughages could be a good place to start coupled with routine exercises. Our perception of body image and aesthetics should also be improved and not focused on the financial benefit.
I will end with a line in Beyonce’s Pretty Hurts, “It’s the soul that needs the surgery”.
Nimh.nih.gov. (2018). NIMH » Eating Disorders. [online] Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/eating-disorders/index.shtml [Accessed 12 Jan. 2018].
YouTube. (2016). Gal Gadot Asks Jimmy Kimmel About Her Breasts. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QA8pQMJrcNY&t=44s [Accessed 12 Jan. 2018].
Healthline. (2018). Laxatives for Weight Loss: Do They Work and Are They Safe?. [online] Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/laxatives-for-weight-loss#section2 [Accessed 12 Jan. 2018].
Pchtreatment.com. (2018). Demi Lovato Admits to Depression & Self Harm. [online] Available at: http://www.pchtreatment.com/demi-lovato-admits-to-depression-self-harm-in-new-interview/ [Accessed 12 Jan. 2018].