Today I wanted to address a popular topic that has resurfaced recently. It is the topic of weight loss drugs. I want to just BRIEFLY touch on their mechanism of action, but most importantly, I want to educate you on why you can STILL benefit from seeing a dietitian EVEN IF you’re on a weight loss drug.
The three main drugs on the market now that might come to your mind in regards to weight loss are Mounjaro, Wegovy, and Ozempic. You might be on one yourself, or you likely know someone who is on one. They are pretty popular right now and I have both friends and patients that are currently on them.
Prefer to listen? Check out the video here.
A BRIEF OVERVIEW
Ozempic and Wegovy are both semaglutides. This means that they activate your GLP-1 receptor to signal your brain that you are full. This then causes you to feel fuller from eating less food, theoretically decreasing your weight.
Mounjaro is a Tirzepatide. This means that it is a GLP-1 agonist (like Wegovy and Mounjaro), but it also has a second layer of action called, glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP). This is a very scientific term which means it helps your body to release extra insulin, thereby decreasing blood sugar levels while still giving your body that "full feeling" from eating less food.
Ozempic and Mounjaro are approved for blood sugar control in the setting of Type 2 Diabetes and Wegovy is FDA-approved for weight loss.
Studies have confirmed that the drugs do cause weight loss while you are on them. But that’s just the thing. They only work while you’re ON them. Studies show that 1 year after being off the medication people gained ⅔ of their weight back. I haven’t seen any studies on what happens after this first year, but I would be interested to see if participants regained the remaining third of weight they had previously lost. In the first year follow up evaluation, the study also found participant A1c (a test that shows the average blood glucose level over the past 3 months) trending back to where it was prior to taking the drug.
So what’s the point?
The point is the same as always. If you are on a weight loss drug and you don’t change your thinking around food or you never increase your knowledge of how to help fuel yourself and eat in a way that supports your weight loss, then you will either have to stay on the drug indefinitely to keep your weight off, or you will get off the drug (due to cost, loss of insurance, gastrointestinal symptoms, etc) and end up in the same spot you were prior to taking the drug.
The danger in using any of these drugs as a bandaid to your health journey is just that- it’s a bandaid. Meaning, one day it’s going to get nasty and smelly (well maybe not quite that) but it’s going to have to come off. If you haven’t healed your relationship with food, then you’re back at square 1. If you get off the medication but you are no different in the way you relate to food from before you got on it, nothing is going to permanently change.
So. PLEASE don’t hear this as a shameful message if you’re currently on any of these medications. But rather receive it as an encouragement and a reminder to be wise as you proceed. Whether you are already on the drug or you're considering one of these drugs, I challenge you to commit to doing the tough work. Be wise with your usage. Use the medication as a springboard, or a shot in the arm (see what I did there?) to better your relationship with food and understanding of how your body works. Don’t let the things about your relationship with food and your body that you know need to be addressed fall by the wayside. You deserve more than that. You deserve healing. Not just a bandaid.
Here are some specific ways a dietitian can help you WHILE using any of these drugs.
A Dietitian can…
Help you unpack your unhealthy thoughts around food and help you create new neural pathways towards better thinking
Educate you on how to help control blood sugar with different types of food
Give you a foundational knowledge on how your body uses food throughout the day
Give you skills on how to hit a comfortable level of fullness every time you eat
Reprogram your brain to better your self image so you can stop self sabotaging
If you have any questions on this topic, I’m HAPPY to assist and answer any questions. I want the best for you and for you to live your life to the fullest.
If you want to start doing the REAL WORK, grab my free guide on how to start healing your relationship with food today by clicking here
Until next time,
Mikyah, RDN, LDN, CD