Health and Beauty

Today was my hair trial at Grasshopper Salon. I love my new hairdresser, Robbie. She’s very exacting, and she has a great personality. I’m so hair-retarded. She knows what looks right, and I trust her.

Don’t worry. My hair won’t be this messy and uneven at the wedding. We were experimenting, but by the end, we figured out the general shape and how much hair we want up. I like the volume and balance between traditional up-do and loose ringlets. Plus, there’s something about the way the hair is built up into those mounds that reminds me of Amy Winehouse’s beehive, and I secretly like it. (The hairdresser calls the hair mounds ‘pads’, but there’s no padding inside; it’s all my hair.)


I give up. I can’t take Alli anymore. Not because of the diet restriction or the rumored explosive diarrhea… I give up because of the wicked constipation it caused.
Yes, I have the gastrointestinal system from the Bizarro World.
I realized that I needed to stop taking this drug when I was becoming envious of those who have been racing to bathrooms to prevent crapping their pants.
The indigestion was really annoying, especially at night when I was trying to fall asleep, but I could tolerate it. This system backup is another story. I put a fair amount of food into my body, I expect more of it to go out.

Alli makes Bizarro sad.
(Image borrowed from Rick Cortes)

Friday morning, I went over to my local CVS pharmacy to pick up Alli. Earlier in the week, I received a register tape coupon for $10 off a diet product of $40 or more. The 90 pill starter pack is regularly $59.99. Even with the coupon, fifty bucks is a lot of money for a pill known for its explosive diarrhea side effects. Nevertheless, I figured I would give it a shot.

In the Alli starter kit, you receive a bottle of pills, a blue plastic “shuttle” case (in which to carry your daily supply of pills), and a handful of little guidebooks and inserts.
The first insert is “Read Me First: Keys to successful weight loss.” To sum it up, it says, “Use the pills like your supposed to, don’t expect miracles, and take personal responsibility for your fat-ass-ness.” Obviously, the insert is worded more sensitively.

The second insert is the Alli Welcome Guide. This guide explains all of the other guides and inserts, plus has your code number in the front cover for your free membership in the MyAlliPlan at
Whatever. For some people, the MyAlliPlan is great. They want and need motivational emails, meal plans, and recipes. I’m just experimenting with Alli, not signing on for life. If Alli works for me, great, I’ll continue to use it. If it doesn’t, I won’t buy more. One good thing about this drug is it helps you stick to a new eating lifestyle. However, if you stop taking the drug, you are extremely likely to put some weight back on.

The third insert is the Alli Quick Facts cards. The cards are little pill shuttle case shaped cut outs connected at one end with a brad to create a quick reference guide (or recruiting tool) to stash away in your purse. It’s a little motivational reminder of the things you must do to reduce your fat-ass-ness (and prevent explosive diarrhea).

Enough with the inserts, on with the Guides!

The blue Companion Guide. This guide addresses the who, what, where, when, and why of Alli. The contents are broken into the following sections: “Getting to Know the Alli Program”, “Eating with the Alli Program”, “Getting Started”, “Getting Active”, and “Bumps in the Road”. My favorite sentence from this guide is: “Women may want to consider using a panty liner in case you experience treatment effects.” Treatment effects being “gas with oily spotting”, “loose stools”, and “more frequent stools that may be hard to control”. Panty liner?!? That’s a gentle way of saying, “You’re going to shit your pants, but just a little.”
There is no way I’m wearing a panty liner to deal with intermittent incontinence. I’ll just prevent the incontinence, thank you very much. There is no way I would eat a high fat meal and take an Alli pill while at work. I *may* eat a high fat meal (e.g. fried chicken with macaroni and cheese) as an experiment to see how much havoc Alli could wreak. But, there is no way I’d do it at work. I would perform this experiment on a Friday night at home, so I was in a safe distance of a bathroom, and I had time to recoup from the experiment. (For the record, I haven’t experienced the violent, stealth poop attack about which all the literature has been warning me. However, I have experienced a bit of uncomfortable indigestion.)

The remaining two guides are not as exciting, but definitely useful.
The red Calorie & Fat Counter guide is exactly that: a guide of calorie and fat content for common foods and food at 25 fast-food restaurants.
The green Health Eating Guide has sample menus, guidence with planning your own menus, and advice for eating out.

As much as I’ve mocked Alli and the process, I’m actually impressed with GlaxoSmithKline. Instead of throwing this drug out into the market and leaving the consumer to figure out how to use this drug effectively, GSK has provided a lot of helpful material, forums, and assistance which enables the consumer to succeed. Ultimately, as always, it comes down to the decisions the you make that determine how successful you are. If you decide to use Alli as a crutch instead of a tool, and you continue to eat poorly, you are going to suffer. Not just in the lack of weight loss, but gastrointestinally.

Since D. and I have been seriously considering the surprise wedding concept, I’ve been thinking about how moving the wedding date will affect the “wedding schedule.” DUN-DUN-DUNNNNNN! The big thing moving the date will affect is ordering the dress. I haven’t tried any dresses on yet because I was hoping I would lose weight before the wedding. Ideally, I’d like to lose 30 lbs for the wedding… not just to look good, but to feel healthier as well. I don’t think it’s realistic that I will lose 30 lbs before I need to order the dress for the surprise wedding. It was a realistic goal with the original date. So now, I have my target goal set at 20 lbs, and I’m considering using Alli to assist in the weight loss. For those of you who haven’t heard about Alli, the FDA approved a lower dosage version of Xenical for over the counter use. It also goes by the name Orlistat. According to Wikipedia, the drug’s “primary function is preventing the absorption of fats from the human diet, thereby reducing caloric intake.” So, with a reduced-calorie diet, it can at least jump start weight loss. Sometimes all you need is to see the needle on the scale move down to keep you motivated to continue to diet and exercise.
There’s a major side effect though. If you continue to eat a high fat diet, you will have urgent, loose, and oily poops. And increased flatulence. What does that mean? Don’t eat crap food, or you very well may crap yourself in a business meeting or while stuck in traffic. Crap in, crap out. Also, the drug affects the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients. “A multivitamin tablet containing vitamins A, D, E, K, and beta-carotene should be taken once a day, at least 2 hours before or after taking the drug.”
I’m going to give it a go, and I’ll keep you all apprised.

Before I left for my business trip to San Francisco, I hit up my local Target for some travel size products. (In my opinion, Target consistently has the best selection of travel size health and beauty products.) While I was looking for some shampoo, I ran across Suave’s 24-Hour Protection Invisible Solid. It was only $.99, so I thought, “What the hey, I’m going to be on a long plane ride plus I’ll be running through airports trying to catch my flights, should be a good test.” I picked up the Fresh scent. My Target didn’t have the Powder scent. The 24-Hour Protection Invisible Solid has Aluminum Chlorohydrate (20%) as the active ingredient.
After 5 days of testing, what do I think? I didn’t smell like B.O. after a full day of traveling and hauling luggage around, but I didn’t really trust that I smelled fresh either. It was the absence of scent that concerned me. The “Fresh” scent didn’t seem to last long, and it definitely didn’t renew itself like Degree.
As for the sweat factor, it performed better than average, but Secret’s Clinical Strength is still leading the pack overall.

In March, I posted about the new Secret Clinical Strength deodorant, and two weeks ago, my sample came in.

You apply the deodorant the night before, let the deo work its magic, and the next day you can reapply it after your shower if you don’t trust it to work. I applied it the night before and then worked out the next day. The antiperspirant does not prevent you from sweating altogether. I broke a sweat on the exercise bike, but every time my pits felt moist, the deodorant would reactivate, and I would smell the gentle scent of Secret. Not once did I smell like B.O., sweat, or natural ManicBride scent. I was pretty impressed by that. However, the only drawback I could think of is that you may be overscented if you plan on wearing perfume on your wedding day as well. My solution: wear a light, complementary scent on your wedding day. You don’t need tons of perfume anyway.
Yes, my pits were moist. I don’t consider that to be a failure of the antiperspirant though. It’s not natural to be truly sweat-free. This antiperspirant is designed to prevent sweat stains from excessive sweating. Applying more product on your armpits the day of is not going to eliminate sweat. You’re only going to have deodorant/antiperspirant build up in the creases of your armpit, and every one will figure out that you were paranoid about your B.O. when you’re dancing to YMCA. Also, if you plan on preserving your wedding dress, do your dress and the cleaner a favor by not reapplying. The caked on deodorant/antiperspirant is difficult to totally remove and can discolor and even damage some materials.

So, is Secret Clinical Strength worth it? I think so.