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Episode 234: Kat Finally Weighs in on Ozempic

A client of mine recently had lunch with a friend who complimented her on her now-leaner physique. 

In the past, the most common follow up question in this kind of exchange would have been, "What diet are you on?" 

But instead, her first instinct was to ask, "Are you on Ozempic?"

This is beyond concerning and tells me one thing: we are clearly not learning from our past. 

It's like we're the girl who keeps getting drawn into relationships with toxic guys, each time thinking, "This time it'll be different."

Right now we're deep in the infatuation stage, so excited by all the potential, the promises of a happy ever after. We're getting the dopamine hit of early wins and getting a taste of the life (or body) we want. 

But we've all read this story (or at least I thought we had)... it's going to end in heartbreak. And when it all is said and done, it's going to leave you and your body worse for ware. 

What is Ozempic and how does it work?

Semaglutide (street name: Ozempic) is a weekly injection that mimics the hormone GLP-1 which is naturally released by the GI tract after eating to reduce blood sugar and communicate with your brain that you're full. It also slows down digestion making you feel fuller, longer. 

So to be clear right off the bat, this is not some magical fat-burning drug. People lose weight on Ozempic because it causes them to eat less.  

The dangers and downsides of Ozempic:

Of course when we're in the early stages of dating our new toxic bf, we only want to focus on the dazzling chemistry, the fun dates, and the great sex, while ignoring the texts he ignores, the feelings he invalidates, and the future plans he refuses to make. 

But it's time to acknowledge the red flags...

  • Your body can get used to semaglutide and establish a new normal that will cause a weight loss plateau. So you're back to the same place you started: actually needing to work on your habits and relationship with food. 
  • Once you stop the injections, your body's hunger signals and digestion return to normal, bringing you right back to your old habits and your old weight.
  • You can expect GI symptoms like nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, and acid reflux.
  • According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, people who take Ozempic have a nine times higher risk of pancreatitis (your pancreas is responsible for releasing insulin, the very hormone you need to maintain balanced blood sugar), more than four times higher risk of a bowel obstruction, and a more than three and a half times higher risk of stomach paralysis.You're also at an increased risk for developing thyroid cancer, kidney damage, gallstones, and blurred vision which can worsen even after you stop taking Ozempic. 
  • You run the risk of malnutrition and a significant drop in metabolism due to lack of appetite and under eating, making it likely that you'll gain the weight back and then some when you stop taking the medication.
  • Ozempic can drop your blood sugar too low leading to hypoglycemia which can cause anxiety, dizziness, irritability, fatigue, headaches, weakness, shakiness, hunger, confusion, nightmares, restless sleep.
  • 'Ozempic face' can occur where the skin on the face sags and wrinkles due to rapid weight loss.
  • Finally, I think we've barely scratched the surface of the long term affects on our gut microbiome.
    • Ozempic slows down our stomach emptying by disrupting the gut-brain axis.
    • When food sits in our digestive tract too long it feeds pathogenic bacteria that can wreak havoc on our health, weight, and longevity.
    • Under-eating means we're also underfeeding the good bacteria in our gut that play a crucial role in reducing inflammation, improving immune health, balancing hormones, stabilizing our mood, sleep quality, and more. 

Even removing all of these physical side effects, we're stuck with the same problem every other quick fix has given us: we aren't learning the skillset of healthy living.

We aren't learning how to change our thoughts, our beliefs, or our relationship with food. We aren't learning how to change our habits long term. We aren't learning important coping skills. We're just hitting the easy button and kicking the can of doing 'the work' down the road. 

Natural alternatives:

There are a ton of simple habits you can adopt that will naturally increase your body's production of GLP-1 without all the risks that come with taking a drug like Ozempic. 

  • Healthy fats, protein, and high fiber foods like whole grains and veggies all trigger the release of GLP-1. (Unsaturated fats like olive oil, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, olives, and avocado are more effective at stimulating GLP-1 than saturated fats like butter, milk, cheese, and red meats.) But of course the fact that eating a whole food diet increases GLP-1 isn't going to make headlines. 
  • If you follow me on instagram you've heard me talk about the importance of eating fiber (preferably in the form of non-starchy veggies) at the beginning of every meal to help stabilize blood sugar. Well, "One study from 2022, found that consuming vegetables before carbohydrates significantly affected glucose and GLP-1 levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes." -Healthline 
  • Speaking of fiber, soluble fiber helps slow down digestion making you feel fuller longer (without the dangers of sending you into stomach paralysis). You can find soluble fiber in beans, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, broccoli, turnips, carrots, avocado, pears, nectarines, apples, flax, sunflower seeds, and oats. And when you feed fiber to your beneficial gut bacteria, they produce short chain fatty acids which are beneficial compounds that stimulate GLP-1 release while also reducing inflammation, inhibiting the overgrowth of gut pathogens, improving metabolic health, reducing the risk of cancer, and more.  
  • Any habit that improves insulin sensitivity supports the release of GLP-1. This is why I stress the importance of exercise, getting good quality sleep, reducing stress, eating enough fiber, losing weight, and avoiding sugar-laden/processed foods.

Now I know I've come down pretty hard on Ozempic in this post. That doesn't mean I don't think anyone should take it. I am all for people using it who truly need it to manage their diabetes (preferably along side diet and lifestyle change so they can come off of it safely at some point). 

But so many people using it so flippantly while ignoring all the long term health risks is a huge problem. People still being duped into the trendiest quick fix is a huge problem. Our unwillingness as a society to get to the root cause of our issues and reaching for surface level solutions is a huge problem. And the worst part is, the person who's going to have to deal with the repercussions of all this is our future selves. 

If you don't want that for yourself and instead you want to heal your relationship with food so you can take a natural, safe, and sustainable approach to weight loss, my programs were made for you. Click here to book a free consultation and we'll chat through your goals, habits, dieting history, and more to figure out the best route for you. 

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