Let’s talk about the new weight loss injectables Wegovy, Ozempic and Mounjaro. We cannot ignore the timing of this medication’s popularity, while everyone continues to reckon with the impact of COVID on their lives, communities and overall health (including mental).
The pull towards another plan or program to help you become smaller is particularly strong at this time of year. And with these new diabetes medications (Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro and the like) being approved for weight loss, it may feel like there’s something new to try here in the New Year. But let’s be clear: there’s nothing new about this. Diet culture is a sneaky shapeshifter, and we continue to be concerned about how medicine has outsourced itself to the diet industry. We have companies like WW buying startups to offer programs and tracks that can prescribe these medications.
Be Skeptical. The rhetoric is extremely familiar to other weight loss meds that have come and gone from the market, AND ultimately caused harm to fat people.
One topic that is largely missing in the media is the acknowledgement of eating disorders. There is no mention of assessment or screening. No acknowledgement of the prevalence of eating disorders in larger bodied people. No mention of the role deprivation and restriction plays in a person’s relationship with food and the development of eating disorders.
In Oprah’s Big Pharma infomercial Dana spoke and wrote about last year, people who have been taking the medication shared their experiences, and how it has quieted the “food noise” – persistent thinking about food, planning our next meal, etc. Eating disorder treatment providers know that food noise is to be expected and especially amplified when we are not consistently and predictably getting enough to eat. Our bodies talk to us in all kinds of ways, and sometimes this noise is our body telling us it’s time to eat.
Weight loss “experts” (researchers, physicians, psychologists, dietitians, etc) are co-opting language from Health at Every Size®, Body Trust®, and other weight inclusive models of care to promote their latest framing of “Obesity as a brain disease” to manipulate people into taking medications that have no long term data to support them. What we do know is that when people stop taking the medication, they regain the weight. What we don’t know is how these medications will impact people’s health and well-being in the long run. There have been reports of gastroparesis (stomach paralysis) that may not be reversible), nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and increased suicidal ideation. And they are doing clinical trials in children as young as six, which makes us want to scream. 😱
It is hard to remember that fat people have always existed and will continue to exist. That anti-fat bias is rooted in white supremacy and industry profits. That making thinness aspirational is a money-making scheme that does not promote health. And, health worry can really sell some products. So it is no surprise these meds are being talked about like they are a miracle.
Weight-inclusive providers are trying to make sense of what is true or false in the rhetoric. We have spent a lot of time in individual and group consultation as well with our Certification community talking about ways to navigate these conversations to give people the time and information to make an informed decision.
On Friday, January 12th, we are hosting Sirius Bonner, Ragen Chastain, Lisa DuBreuil, and Marianne McCormick for a panel discussion on the uses, risks (including mental health impacts), costs, etc. and share ideas for how to take care of ourselves and each other in this new landscape.
WEBINAR PANEL DISCUSSION
Let’s Talk About Weight Loss Injectables
Friday, January 12th from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. PST
Recording will be available for 30 days.
SIGN UP HERE > Sliding scale: $35-75
We hope to see you there.