New drug battles food cravings

Fitness Q & A

April 01, 2005|By Gailor Large | Gailor Large,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

What can you tell me about Acomplia? Is it safe?

Acomplia is the brand name for rimonabant, a new weight-loss drug designed to block the brain receptors that trigger cravings. The pill targets the metabolic system involved in regulating food intake.

While its success in early studies is encouraging, rimonabant has a handful of side effects, among them nausea, mood swings and possibly depression.

Along with tightening up the waistline, the pill may also help combat other addictions like smoking, alcoholism and even drug use. It looks like Acomplia will be submitted for FDA approval this year, and will be marketed as both a weight-loss and anti-smoking treatment.

What is the correct way to do a push-up? I've been told my body sags too much.

Your body should be as straight as a board when doing a push-up. Keep yourself perfectly flat by tightening the abs, and don't allow your head to drop down or arch up. This will help protect your back and neck.

A common push-up problem is the "backside in the air" phenomenon. Keep that backside down and even with the rest of your body.

When doing the push-up, try lowering yourself until your upper arms are parallel to the ground, then straighten fully (without locking your elbows). If your arms start wobbling and you can't complete more than a few in a row, consider doing them on your knees and work up to a full push-up.

How many calories do I have to burn to lose a pound?

To start, there are 3,500 calories in a pound. But instead of thinking just in terms of "burning" calories, use this number as a guide for making minor changes. After all, it would take hours at the gym to burn off a pound all at once - and that wouldn't be healthy.

By trimming 500 calories a day (try 250 from food and 250 from exercise), you will lose a pound a week. How much of a lifestyle change is this? Skip that scoop of vanilla ice cream after dinner and walk for 30 to 45 minutes instead. Start today and by next Friday you'll be a pound lighter.

Do you have a fitness question? You can submit questions via e-mail to, or online at, or in writing to The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278.

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