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The Rise Of Weight Loss Drugs - Aimed Right At You

dietculture diets weight loss weightmanagement Mar 30, 2024
weight loss, menopause

I struggled with the decision to address this topic because it is so polarizing, but I feel that this topic is here to stay, so let’s talk about it. But before I dive in, I want to make it very clear that I am not here to say yes or no to these drugs or judge anyone who wants to take them. The decision is all yours. My aim with this article is to provide information to help you navigate this topic. 

In the past year, there has been a surge in the demand for weight loss drugs such as Ozempic and Monjuro. Promoted as a solution for shedding pounds quickly, these medications have garnered significant attention in the weight loss industry. However, it's crucial to understand that while they may offer results, the long-term implications can be very concerning. 

It is evident that these drugs are game changers and can be a true miracle for many people, so I don’t want to take away from the efficacy of these drugs. Still, it’s worth noting that they were developed for “ the treatment of type 2 diabetes, as well as for patients who meet certain criteria, including a body mass index (BMI) of >30 kg/m2, or a BMI of 27 to 29.9 kg/m2 with weight-related comorbidities, who have not met weight-loss goals with comprehensive lifestyle intervention alone.” ACE Fitness. Unfortunately, because they are so effective at helping people lose weight, these drugs are now being advertised as weight loss solutions for everyone, and the ads specifically targeting menopausal women are on the rise and troubling. They know that women in menopause struggle with weight gain, especially belly fat, so we become an easy target to sell to. 90% of women who reach out to me are dissatisfied with their bodies, so I’m not surprised that these drugs are reaching their target. Headlines like “A New Match for Menopausal Weight Gain: Ozempic” make it very tempting, and I get it. It sounds like the magic pill you’ve been looking for, the simple solution for that one problem that you can’t solve on your own. But is it?

Weight Loss Does Not Equal Fat Loss


Let’s make it very clear: Weight loss does not equal fat loss. Most people fantasize about how much fat they will lose when they lose weight, and I’m sure there is an assumption that most of the weight is from fat loss but that is not true. Most importantly, you can’t choose where that weight loss comes from, and even with the fat you’re losing, it doesn’t mean that you’ll lose it where you want. So, if belly fat is the crux of your existence, don’t expect the weight loss to happen just there. Spot reducing does not exist. 

The most crucial part in the weight loss equation is, however, that no matter how you lose weight, you are losing muscle simultaneously, and if (when) you gain it back, it is almost always not muscle (unless you work hard at growing it).  How much muscle you lose can drastically influence long-term outcomes, sustainability of weight loss, and overall health. We all lose muscle as we age and during our menopausal transition, and in postmenopause, that muscle loss is sped up, which is why retaining and building muscle is the most significant contributor to quality of life and longevity. In my opinion, building muscle has to be at the top of your priority list if you want to live a healthy and functional life. 

The Positive Side

In a nutshell, medications such as Ozempic and Monjuro reduce appetite and promote feelings of fullness, leading to weight loss. In other words, these medications may help reduce some of that “food noise” that some people hear constantly. The positive side of this is that for people who are constantly thinking about food, this can be a game changer. When your mind is not clogged up with constant thoughts of food, that can quite possibly “free up time” in someone’s brain to focus on other things that could lead to better health outcomes. The weight loss associated with these drugs can also be a catalyst for feeling more comfortable or being able to move and exercise. When weight loss is no longer the primary goal of exercise (as it has long been for many people), the myriad benefits of movement become more apparent and accessible, which, in turn, may lead to a more well-rounded approach to health. 

The Dark Side 

The most crucial factor to remember is that these medications are not a cure. They work while you use them. If you stop using them, the benefits stop. To continue seeing the benefits, you have to take them forever. This is critical to know. If you think you can kickstart your weight loss journey with this and stop when you lose the pounds you wanted, you are in for a surprise. It will be the exact same thing as the last diet you went on that “worked.” When you stopped it, you gained the weight back plus some. Ironically, if weight loss is your ultimate goal, dieting can be your worst enemy. Multiple studies have shown that “more than half of the lost weight was regained within two years, and by five years, more than 80% of lost weight was regained.” Even one intentional weight loss episode is associated with a doubled risk of becoming overweight. Research has found that after one year of stopping medications such as Ozempic and Monjouro, people gained ā…” of the weight back. 

Beyond the temporary nature of weight loss drugs, there are also significant risks and side effects to consider. These medications can adversely affect metabolism, leading to muscle loss and metabolic damage. Additionally, the financial cost of relying on these drugs can be substantial, with ongoing prescriptions required to maintain any weight loss achieved. If you’re tempted, take a good look at your budget and see if you can budget $1,000/month for this. Unfortunately, because these drugs are so expensive, we will see a rise in counterfeit drugs that will be sold, and the dangers with that are well known. It’s happened with every other medication before.

I’m Not Your Mother

I’m not here to tell you not to do something because we know it doesn’t work. We all know that the more we are told not to do something, the more enticing it becomes. So, instead, I’m going to give you tips on how to be the healthiest should you choose to hop on this medication-fueled weight loss train.

  1. Prioritize resistance training: this is an absolute must! You have to combat the muscle loss that you will experience. Losing muscle will have much more serious and long-lasting health effects than anything else. Even if you’re not going to take these drugs, resistance training and muscle building are things that will help you be the healthiest you can be! If you’re only going to do one thing on this list, this is the one!!!
  2. Get regular body scans: know what your body is doing. Knowing that you’re losing weight might be enough for you, but it can be deceiving because you don’t know how much of that weight is muscle. Don’t stick your head in the sand and pretend it isn’t happening. Know what’s going on. These scans can also tell you your bone density, which is a good thing to know, too. 
  3. Learn from the reduction in “food noise.” These drugs suppress appetite, which can help you learn better portion control for when or if you decide to stop taking them. The reason why people gain weight is because hunger comes back, so paying attention to your portions and your relationship with food can help you in the long term. 

Weight loss drugs are not a new thing and will not be a thing. The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, and there is way too much money to be made. They will continue to tempt you, and all we can do is have solid information to base our decisions on. I hope this article gave you some information you can use to make a decision for yourself that is not based on fear or clever marketing promises. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. You can email me at [email protected]