...and we have liftoff...

Well, kids. It's the day we've all been waiting for. Alli (pronounced al-EYE), the new over-the-counter diet pill has now been launched.

Are you ready for oily, orange discharge from your rectum?

Mmmm- boy!

See, the marketing of this product is so ingenuous, I almost have to stand back and admire it. The little section in the newest supermarket ad says: This weight loss plan can't change your life. But you can."

Damn, that's slick. If you succeed at losing weight, Alli gets the credit. Thanks, Alli, I couldn't have done it without you. However, if you are unable to lose weight (and then keep it off), it's your problem. You didn't take control, you didn't have the willpower. For GlaxoSmithKline, it's a win-win situation. If you gain weight after going off the pills? Go back on them. And remember never to stop.

I trolled the Alli Support Message Boards to see of any "discharge incidents" that had occurred thus far. They were, as I expected, rather easy to find. The experience that best captured the "Alli-ooops!" was the following:

I am really excited to have this product over the counter. I was in the clinical trials years ago and lost X lbs in 2 months. I kept it off for years until I got off my food plan and quit walking.

I can tell you that my first experience in trying to cheat on this pill was very embarrassing! I went out to eat Japanese stir fry and had my first "accident" - (shall we call it "Alli-opps" now?) before I could get home. I had uncontrollable
oily seepage...It looks just like spagetti grease for those of you
who are curious.

You cannot get it out of your clothes so I would encourge you to use a panty liner until you find out how you react to the medication. If you are sitting down, whatever you are sitting on will be stained. . so be careful.

On the other hand, if you stay on tract w/your food plan (low fat) you will not have any problems...or at least I didn't. Occassional gas but I learned when I could pass it (on the toilet)!

Another tip - get a bottle of Grease Release and keep it next to the toilet so that you can spray the bowl after each bowel movement... gets rid of the grease line.

Bottom line. it is kind of like Antibuse for the alcoholic... if you don't eat too much fat you will be ok but if you do, you will pay w/ unpleasant side effects.


The subsequent posts thanked this woman for her tips and bespoke similar excitement over taking Alli. One woman said, "I can't wait to start losing it!"

Rewind here. You get spaghetti stains on your ass, you have to degrease your toilet bowl each time you poop, and this is a great product. Oh, and it's your fault you gained the weight back because you stopped with "The Plan." Capital T, Capital P.

Those snake oil salesmen don't have a thing on GSK. On the message boards, they even have a section called "Are you Ready?" This is one of this most insidious aspects of their marketing scheme. If you don't lose weight the first time, or you can't stick with it, you just...weren't ready. Presumably, if you take the pills again, you will be ready. If they work, that is. If you continue to be unable to lose weight, or to gain back the weight you lost, you still just weren't ready. The pills are there waiting for you. Whenever you're ready.

(This almost sounds like an ad for Cialis...so you can do it when you feel like it)

My first reaction to the hubbub was at the gullibility of women in general to purchase a product such as Alli. I mean, geez.

Not to call myself one of the enlightened few or anything, but most people don't know that any dangers of obesity are totally overstated. Or bald-faced lies. Women (and men) are judged on their appearance. Perhaps not only their appearances, but that is a factor. We are being brainwashed to be afraid of fat, fat people, fat in our diets, fat on our own bodies. Fat is the lining of our cells. Fat is our energy reserve. Fat tastes good, dammit!

Fat is on our bodies.

Fat should not be discharged from our anuses (anii?) in an orange goo.

Insurance companies will likely reward people for using Alli, or other weight loss products, by penalizing those who don't. Or so read a newspaper headline I read this morning in the major city newspaper I get. Apparently, if you don't shape up and slim down, your health insurance copays will be increased.

My first thought was: is this The Onion? After the dismay upon realizing it wasn't: the whole world's gone completely insane!

I have issues with the way health insurance is handled in this country in general, but this really got to me.

Blue Cross still refuses to pay a DIME of my seven month residential stay. STILL. After almost a year after discharge (not that kind of discharge!). I was dying of an eating disorder. It could be diagnosed.

Obesity, as Harriet Brown pointed out in a recent blog post, has yet to be confirmed as a real health problem. Yet Blue Cross is going to subsidize weight loss regimens of little proven benefit and penalize those who regain lost weight. As most people do.

Those thindustry people. I can't help but think how much good they could do the world if they used their powers for good, instead of evil.

I have the sinking feeling we'll never find out. Perhaps because they, too, will be scrubbing foul-smelling oily residue out of their toilets.

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Thomas said...

I'm waiting for the fashion industry to buy in to this. Just wait, this fall "Sphagetti Grease" Orange will be the new black.

Ew, Ew, Ew. I'm dreading having to use public restrooms now, since you know they aren't going to employ full-time cleaning staff to scrub the nasty grease-stains away after each person finishes their business.

Sarah said...

ack, thomas, I hadn't thought of that.

this is pretty scary stuff.

disordered girl said...

Wow, that message from the message board was...something else!

Laura Collins said...

The aesthetic bigotry movement (sorry!) is endorsed by Blue Cross. How nice. So I guess now I will be penalized for not getting a nose job and dyeing the (beautiful) grey out of my hair?

Willow said...

I recently picked up a brochure for this at a GNC, sensing it would have bloggability potential. In it you need to check off 6 statements to determine if you may be ready for Alli.

My personal favorite is this:

"I understant that if I take alli with a meal containing too much fat, I may get treatment effects, such as loose or more frequesnt stools, an urgent need to go to the bathroom, or gas with an oily discharge."


Frankly, this stuff sounds about as fun as some of the more severly disordered behaviors, such as laxative abuse.

mary said...

One suggestion by a Dr. who is publicly AGAINST the use of alli was that one carry a second set of clothes with them.
I'm too young for adult diapers for the purpose of weight loss. Sadly it would take a devoted bunch to accept the terms offered by this product.
Sometimes I wonder if they are doing statistical tests to see how many people are so desperate to lose they will buy into anything. Remember those chips? I'll call them WOWIE's, the forerunners to this new product. What ARE they thinking?
I know. $$$$$$$$$$$
I wonder if what they earn will be worth the lives it may put at risk? We're talking a bigger risk here than orange underwear,IMO.

As for long term affects I think we'll know all to soon as the real testing has begun.

carrie said...


Okay, you totally succeeded in grossing me out. I'm shuddering.


The scariness is not only the side effects, but the willingness of people to *accept* the side effects.


Wasn't it? I had to re-read it a couple of times because it was perplexing.


How about the anti-Alli movement? Smaller, but fresher! ;) All of us with grey hair should be proud! I'm quite a bit grey myself, given my age.

carrie said...

Comments, Part II.


Oh yes. I love how they call it "treatment effects." And how willing so many people are to accept them. It's truly scary.


One of my current gripes with the medical industry is the current emphasis on "industry" and almost complete disregard for the "medical" part. The FDA and the pharmaceutical business have some sort of bizarre relationship so that money-making medicines (such as Alli) are approved faster and with less regard to side effects than other drugs.

Carrie /*

ms. em said...


well-written investigative journalism piece. i admire your courage to venture to the club house of the all-I-crapped all over myself cult (e.g. the online i-lost-my-shit message board).

i'm confused. what is the difference between this and abusing laxatives? why not just re-market ex-lax???

stay strong sista!
resist the alli, the alli is BAD!

carrie said...


Okay. Here's the difference. If you're easily grossed out, go no further.

A laxative typically stimulates the muscles in the large intestine to release their contents. All the calories have been absorbed, so it does not help in weight loss (however much some of us ::ahem:: have tried to delude ourselves to the contrary).

Alli, from what I've gathered, prevents the absorption of fat in the small intestine, where calories are absorbed. Fat, however, is like WD-40 for the colon. Hence the "treatment effects".

Oh, and I only looked at postings with the words "poop" or "accident" in their titles. I found the one posted on my first try. It's somewhere between sad and scary.

Faith said...

I'll admit it - I had a moment of totally disordered thinking when I first heard this went on the market. I'm over it.


Katy said...

What I want to know is how on EARTH anyone could look at those side effects and decide to take the drug. I mean, I have a freaking EATING DISORDER, and let me tell you, it reared its ugly head when I heard about Alli. And then I read about the side effects. And even my eating disorder went, EW!!!!

Who ARE these people who are willing to INVOLUNTARILY SHIT ORANGE OIL in the name of a few pounds?!? I mean, I've done some crazy stuff, but that's just gross. I mean really, really gross.

Anonymous said...

What will it take for people to realize that there is no magic weight-loss pill? Oily anal discharge seems to be loading people onto the bandwagon, so what's next?!

æ said...

13 comments later and I'm the first to say how freaking hilarious this post was? nice work :)


mary said...

Yes! Carrie come back. Don't hang around in poop city too long.
I actually felt motivated to update my blog.....lazy about that.
I hope you all know how wonderful you are! Never let anyone or anything allow you to feel less than you deserve to be. No measuring. Just be.

carrie said...

Oh, I've been around. Had a writing gig to finish up, so haven't been able to post much.

Thanks for being here!

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

Blech. Totally gross.

A few weeks ago, I was in the car with my daughter and two of her friends, and they were all starving, so I stopped at McDonalds for lunch. I overheard this from one 11 year old, who probably ways 70lbs dripping wet.

"These Chicken Nuggets taste good, but I can FEEL the fat dripping, and it's going straight to my thighs." UGH.

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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