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Why Ozempic is cheating Weight loss isn't supposed to be easy

Should you have to suffer to be thin? (mihailomilovanovic via Getty Images)

Should you have to suffer to be thin? (mihailomilovanovic via Getty Images)


February 21, 2024   6 mins

Ten years ago, I was moved to tears by a fruit salad. I was on a stationary bicycle at the gym, half-heartedly scrolling Tumblr while my feet pushed the pedals, and suddenly, there it was: a tapestry of blueberries, blackberries, and mandarin orange wedges in a glass jar. I remember this photo the way some people describe the moments before a car crash, every glistening detail captured in adrenaline-spiked slow motion. The blackberries like dark and precious jewels, the mandarins glowed as though shot through with sunshine. The longing I felt as I looked at them — and as I started to cry — was something beyond hunger.

I was training for a bodybuilding competition, and it had been weeks since I had eaten fruit, because fruit contained sugar, and sugar was off-limits. The only time I was allowed it was immediately after workouts, in the form of half a Gatorade mixed with a scoop of protein powder, gulped down to prevent my starving body from consuming its own lean mass.

There are few pictures of me from this time in my life, except the ones I took weekly to track my progress. I posed in a sports bra and underwear with my muscles tensed, and sent the results to my trainer. Your midsection is showing more separation every week!, he wrote, as my abdomen morphed from a smooth, flat expanse to a rippling six-pack. (The sports bra was a mere formality by then; breasts consist mainly of fat, and mine had shrunk down to nothing.) Ten years later, the thing I remember most is not how great I looked but how much work it was. If I wasn’t eating or exercising, I was thinking about these things: planning, prepping, setting timers so that I’d remember to swallow whatever was on the menu within however many minutes of a workout. By the time I abandoned my training regimen — around the time I found myself weeping over fruit on the internet — my body had become a vehicle whose maintenance was my full-time job.

All of which is to say, when I read about Ozempic patients who are losing weight not just without trying, but without having to think about trying — the ones who, to quote one user, “just don’t think about food anymore” — I want to squawk with indignation. What do you mean, you don’t think about it?! That’s not fair; it’s cheating. But even among people who don’t share my peculiar history (okay, obsession) with manipulating the size and shape of their bodies, that instinctive reaction is commonplace. Whatever one’s reasons for losing weight, the common wisdom is that it’s not supposed to be easy, physically or mentally.

Indeed, any experience to the contrary tends to inspire suspicion, even among those who believe wholeheartedly that being able to effectively cure obesity, and its litany of associated health conditions, would be an extremely good thing. The impulse to view Ozempic and other medicines of its ilk with mistrust, even derision — the equivalent of buying indulgences instead of performing atonement — has been compared with the taboo against Suboxone among former addicts, who “were skeptical of a fix so expedient, so simple, so biological”.

It’s not a bad analogy; Suboxone and Ozempic both work in their own way to suppress a person’s appetite, curbing an undesirable behaviour by eliminating the basic urge to engage in it. Another comparison might be the contemptuous moralising aimed at people who quit smoking by substituting tasty-flavoured vapes for combustible tobacco. It’s not that vaping doesn’t work; it’s that it’s too easy, too enjoyable. If smoking is a sin, quitting should be a crucible — or at the very least, it should not taste like cake. And in a world where an overweight body is seen as a sign of moral failure, thinness is seen as the just reward for those who atone through deprivation.

“Thinness is seen as the just reward for those who atone through deprivation”

This ascetic immiseration is a chief characteristic of what social critics refer to as diet culture, which is adjacent to but separate from losing weight. Consider how many people are either perpetually on a diet — or at least, say they are — or just off one with little to show for it: it’s almost as if the point is not successful weight loss, but the show of compliance. You are depriving yourself of food not because it will make you thin — often, it does not do this — but because you are performing, for yourself and for the world, the role of a person who wants to be thin and is willing to hurt for it. Ordering the salad instead of the steak is a form of virtue signalling: “I am trying to be good.”

This entanglement of the moral with the biological has a long history, in which even doctors have been unable to entirely separate the two. The Victorian era, a time of ground-breaking advancement in the medical sciences, was also a time of great permeability between the social zeitgeist and the scientific community, in which cultural notions of beauty and femininity often reappeared in a doctor’s office disguised as medical advice. Among these dictums was the notion that appetite, particularly for women, was a signpost of both poor health and poor character. Then, as now, a slender figure was valued — and then, as now, achieving one was supposed to be accomplished through exquisite self-control. The ideal woman in the eyes of society and science alike not only ate very little, but made a show of it, demonstrating sovereignty over her appetites one dainty nibble at a time.

Those who took pleasure in eating, meanwhile, were viewed as courting disaster, an idea widely reflected in the medical wisdom of the era. John Harvey Kellogg, who in the late 1800s was considered America’s foremost pioneer in the field of gastroenterology, was convinced that robust appetites were inextricably linked with sexual depravity. “Candies, spices, cinnamon, cloves, peppermint, and all strong essences, powerfully excite the genital organs,” he warned in the 1880s. His guidelines for good gastrointestinal health, which included not just a bland vegetarian diet but a regular regimen of yoghurt enemas, were designed with the goal of curbing the desire for food and sex alike.

This sense — that a healthy body is a thin body under control — recurs throughout history. At the turn of the 20th century, Kellogg pumps his patients full of bran flakes at one end and yoghurt at the other; at the dawn of the 21st, a fitness influencer dutifully crams exactly four ounces of chicken breast down her throat before heading to the gym. At the same time, to lose weight in other, easier ways — via liposuction or diet pills or, today, Ozempic — has long been viewed as not just unearned, not just cheating, but perhaps even a sort of devil’s bargain for which a harsh price will soon be paid. The history of scandals in the world of medically-assisted weight loss — the withdrawal of fen-phen from the market in the Nineties after research revealed that it could cause heart valve damage in up to a third of patients, or the rare but ghastly side effects of treatments like Coolsculpting — only serves to validate the moral superiority of the nay-sayers. We told you it couldn’t be that easy.

Of course, maybe this time it is that easy. Sure, there’s the occasional (albeit rare) horror story of Ozempic patients suffering stomach paralysis as a result of the drug — or the less ghastly, more quotidian concern that its appetite-suppressing effects cause the loss of not just fat but precious lean mass. But even if these apprehensions prove unfounded, the capacity of Ozempic to make weight loss not just effective but thoughtless is why it will almost certainly continue to occupy an important place in the medical consciousness, but a fraught place in our moral one.

Imagine: instead of sweating through gruelling workouts at the gym, the only effort you have to make is a weekly jab with a slender needle. Instead of battling your appetite at every meal, it retreats to a quiet corner on its own, until you’ve forgotten it ever existed. This doesn’t just flout the conventional wisdom, the studied science, of what it takes to lose weight; it flies in the face of every narrative in which weight loss is synonymous with redemption, in which every pound lost is a demon conquered.

Time and research may reveal that Ozempic really is the future of weight loss, but I suspect that the stories we tell about it — and the perverse pride of having a body moulded by diet and exercise, yes, but also by focus and discipline and pain and tears — will be far harder to shed. It is almost certainly not a coincidence that my own brief foray into amateur bodybuilding was preceded by about 15 years of a more traditional eating disorder: the common thread in these experiences was not just a longing to be thin, but the satisfaction of putting in work here and seeing results there, of wrestling my body and its appetites alike into submission. Would I have felt so satisfied, so in control, if I had been able to simply neuter myself of those appetites with a weekly shot? Is self-deprivation still a triumph if there’s no desire to triumph over?

Here, it becomes important to note that in at least one way, Ozempic does suffer the same pitfalls as any other weight loss method that relies on eating less: people who stop using it tend to regain the weight. But unlike a diet, the idea of being on Ozempic permanently doesn’t inspire existential dread, evoking the dire image of spending the rest of your life tormented by raging and insatiable hunger. Indeed, one of the things that makes the drug so intriguing is that it curbs all manner of appetites. For food, yes, but also for alcohol, nicotine, gambling, sex — in short, for the pleasures that straddle the line between needing and craving. Ozempic patients will not burst into tears over a picture of a fruit salad. Instead, a lifetime on the drug will be characterised not by desire, but the absence of it. And this is perhaps its own sort of tragedy.


Kat Rosenfield is an UnHerd columnist and co-host of the Feminine Chaos podcast. Her latest novel is You Must Remember This.

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Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
3 months ago

It’s like, why should I learn long division when I can just buy a calculator? Why should I learn to sing when I can just use Autotune? Why should I learn to speak Russian when I have Google Translate? I’m sure these technologies will always be with us, and will always be readily available, so actually learning things, particularly discipline, is a mug’s game. After all, on Instagram nobody can tell whether I lost all the weight through careful self-control and restraint or thanks to a wonder drug, and if they do ask, I’ll just lie. It’s not like it matters. Only the appearance of things matters.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago

You’ve just proven Kat’s point!

Tom R
Tom R
3 months ago

This is a ridiculous analogy. As someone who lost 200 lbs, then gained back 100, lost that, gained back 80, lost it again, let me tell you my issues are not with “learning” or lack of discipline, and in fact I doubt my discipline could ever be questioned if you knew the lengths I’ve gone in my struggle against my own body, my issues are that childhood trauma led me to overeat as a coping mechanism and caused dysfunctional signalling pathways in my body that cause me to never feel full, always hungry, constantly fighting urges. Naturally thin people just eat and then they feel full and stop.
Furthermore, even AFTER losing weight, there’s a long lag where your body is ACTIVELY FIGHTING YOU to regain the weight lost. A person who is naturally 200 lbs can eat more calories per day than a person who went from 300 to 200 because the weight loss person’s body slows their metabolism to try and regain it. 
Imagine if you were doing long division and your brain rewrote the numbers on the page, such that you have to work extra hard to recognize them. Would you tell someone with dyslexia that they are cheating by using special fonts to help them read better? Or if there were a medication they could take to fix their dyslexia permanently, that that’s lacking discipline?
Obesity is caused by a disorder. I doubt we’d have nearly the handwringing over medications given to people suffering from anorexia to help them feel hunger and fix their eating disorder. And why? Because people find fat people gross and aesthetically distasteful, and they want to paint them as failures of their own lives and bodies.
Here’s a thought: people’s personal medical struggles and solutions therein are THEIR OWN GODDAMN BUSINESS and people need to pull their noses out of other people’s asses.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  Tom R

It’s like abortion is no one else’s business if it isn’t their body.

Tom R
Tom R
3 months ago

This is a ridiculous analogy. As someone who lost 200 lbs, then gained back 100, lost that, gained back 80, lost it again, let me tell you my issues are not with “learning” or lack of discipline, and in fact I doubt my discipline could ever be questioned if you knew the lengths I’ve gone in my struggle against my own body, my issues are that childhood trauma led me to overeat as a coping mechanism and caused dysfunctional signalling pathways in my body that cause me to never feel full, always hungry, constantly fighting urges. Naturally thin people just eat and then they feel full and stop.
Furthermore, even AFTER losing weight, there’s a long lag where your body is ACTIVELY FIGHTING YOU to regain the weight lost. A person who is naturally 200 lbs can eat more calories per day than a person who went from 300 to 200 because the weight loss person’s body slows their metabolism to try and regain it. 
Imagine if you were doing long division and your brain rewrote the numbers on the page, such that you have to work extra hard to recognize them. Would you tell someone with dyslexia that they are cheating by using special fonts to help them read better? Or if there were a medication they could take to fix their dyslexia permanently, that that’s lacking discipline?
Obesity is caused by a disorder. I doubt we’d have nearly the handwringing over medications given to people suffering from anorexia to help them feel hunger and fix their eating disorder. And why? Because people find fat people gross and aesthetically distasteful, and they want to paint them as failures of their own lives and bodies.
Here’s a thought: people’s personal medical struggles and solutions therein are THEIR OWN BUSINESS and people need to pull their noses out of other people’s butts.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 months ago

Isn’t this new interface crap. Well there is no other word for it. Makes you wonder why you continue to subscribe.
Maybe we should stat a new site “Uncompromised”

J Bryant
J Bryant
3 months ago

I don’t dislike it but I’ve concluded it’s merely different from the old layout. I don’t see any advantage to the new layout.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

But don’t you like the up/down comments? That’s such a relief. I see nothing wrong with any other changes.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 months ago

Precisely! Ten days in and it’s as bad as ever!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago

I don’t understand what bothers you.

nadnadnerb
nadnadnerb
3 months ago

“Unfound” or “Unseen” when looking for one’s own comments.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 months ago
Reply to  nadnadnerb

Indeed

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
2 months ago
Reply to  nadnadnerb

I’d like to be able to see responses to my comments but have not worked out if that option is still available.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
3 months ago

The only non-format change I can detect is that when there are traded replies with other subscribers you now have to scroll down from the top of an article to find the place. (Or to find out what your upvote/downvote “score” is–not that I worry about that).
How is that an upgrade? If they’re trying to stop me and many others from sometimes over-posting, it isn’t working.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I would like a line from a comment to a response rather than just “reply to” because when there are lots of replies to one comment it gets confusing as to what each person is replying to, if you know what I mean!

J Bryant
J Bryant
3 months ago

“For food, yes, but also for alcohol, nicotine, gambling, sex — in short, for the pleasures that straddle the line between needing and craving.
No doubt I’m being cynical but I do wonder if Ozempic is an ideal drug for our age. I’m constantly reading about young people who’ve simply given up on life. They don’t want kids, or a relationship, or to travel, or do much of anything beyond the minimum to keep body and soul together. Perhaps a lifetime on Ozempic can help grant their wish.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
3 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

The drug sounds like a puritans dream. No more vice or fun for anybody, we could all live incredibly dull pious lives without ever giving in to temptation!

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
3 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

A bit pedantic I known, but isn’t the struggle with temptation the puritan’s pleasure?

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
3 months ago
Reply to  Martin Smith

No – it’s the puritan who likes vice the most – that’s why he’s a puritan.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

Another good one!

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
3 months ago
Reply to  Martin Smith

The puritan’s pleasure is yelling at people who aren’t puritan.

andy young
andy young
3 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Wagner

All this reminds me of the old joke about the masochist who likes a cold shower every morning … so he has a hot one …

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  andy young

Funny!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Wagner

Good one.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  Martin Smith

Good one. Martin!

philip kern
philip kern
3 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Puritans thought sex was for reproduction and that you couldn’t get pregnant apart from orgasm. They might have enjoyed sex more than your statement implies, and more than a lot of people do today.
The Puritans were re-investigated already in the 1930s by Perry Miller and similar scholars.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  philip kern

If they thought women could only get pregnant apart from orgasm there would only have been a few pregnancies. Since males always orgasm during intercourse their reasoning wasn’t logical, if it was true.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
3 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

or maybe once they’re relieved of the burden of their parents’ and grandparents’ excesses they’ll be free to enjoy life.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
3 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Hate to be your parent.

0 0
0 0
3 months ago

I know what you’re getting at I do agree with you to a certain extent, but the thing is many people just don’t have the time or the energy to work out due work-life balances and other commitments in their life. Nor can they afford to eat healthy or gym memberships. I prefer staying in shape the old fashioned way, but for some people it just doesn’t work out that way, and it’s not due to lazyness.

Helen Nevitt
Helen Nevitt
3 months ago
Reply to  0 0

I agree with everything apart from it being expensive to eat healthily. All right good meat is pricey but a little goes a long way. I bought a lively chicken with good strong legs for nearly 20 quid at the weekend which is a lot of dosh but I’ve had two good meals for three out of it and a really tasty stock and there’s stacks left over. Enough for a good meal and a round of bulging sandwiches each. And veg is still cheap.

Caty Gonzales
Caty Gonzales
3 months ago
Reply to  Helen Nevitt

You do have a good point, but I think it IS harder and often more expensive for most people to eat healthily. I think this is for two reasons: one is if you are switching from a poor diet to a healthy diet, it can be very expensive for the first few shopping trips to load up on spices and other items which go into food prep. The start up cost is relatively high and off putting.
The second, which I think is probably more of an issue, is time. Now, if you are retired, or walk past a grocery store on your way to or from work, or are family with a live in grandparent or a stay at home mother, this frees up time for eating healthily. If not, then you often find that you go out and purchase a load of fresh stuff and you aren’t home often enough to actually use it and it goes bad. So, it makes economic sense when you are on a budget to load up the freezer with things that you might use this week, but if not, never mind, it will keep for months and you aren’t too out of pocket.

Helen Nevitt
Helen Nevitt
3 months ago
Reply to  Caty Gonzales

That is a fair point and a lot of it is experience. And confidence. Oddly enough I get my meat from the farmer and once they know you they do deals. I’ve got half a lamb on order and it works out at below supermarket prices and when I’m broke I’ve always got something in the freezer.

But it takes confidence of being older to get to that stage.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  Helen Nevitt

A “lively” chicken? Surely it was dead?

Agnes Barley
Agnes Barley
3 months ago
Reply to  Helen Nevitt

20 Quid! Whole chicken is AU $7.42 at our local Supermarket – Poultry farmers getting a fair deal at last!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  0 0

Exactly and particularly if they have some kind of physical handicap.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
3 months ago

Without hunger or cravings I’ve managed to become plump. I wonder how many taking a diet drug will find out it doesn’t work on them.

iambic mouth
iambic mouth
3 months ago

Díaita, an ancient Greek noun, from which “diet” stems from, means “a way of living.” That’s the whole point of diet: you’re not “on diet” from time time to time, you’re on it at every moment of your life. If it’s a sound or unhealthy diet – that’s another question. And it is for this very reason that our civilization has been obsessed with healthy body. Contrary to what’s told everywhere now, it’s not at all modern obsession. Just take a look at ancient Greek comedy: comic actors who played evil and manipulative politicians wore special pads that made their bellies protracted. In this tradition, Unhealthy physique equalled gluttony and living at the cost of others. And Athenian comic tradition is just a case in point.

Returning to Ozempic, it’s well known and evidence-based (refer to Peter Attia, for instance) that it dramatically reduces muscle mass, so all patients who take it must exercise, as this kind of muscle loss is life threatening – which automatically nullifies the entire argument in this article. Even if it didnt, I’m not certain if keeping people on drugs and sustaining their unhealthy diet is a miracle treatment or dysutopian hell.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
3 months ago
Reply to  iambic mouth

Excellent comment – and highly pedagogical.
I would add: this article suffers from post-modernist failings all too common among Kat’s peer group; namely highlighting the subjective and social over the objective and physical.
In evolutionary biology, we know that fat is a safety mechanism, a way of storing calories in case there is an interruption in the food supply, or even just to get through the lean growing season from late winter to mid spring. Losing this fat is supposed to be physically taxing, because hunger is an important signal that you should be growing some more food or hunting it. When you are hungry you become more alert, more focused. A sparrow flies onto a nearby branch? It is hunger that will make your stone’s flight true.
It strikes me as unlikely that any chemical interruption to this natural process will be entirely free of unintended physical consequences. Not because I am socialised to equate weight loss with suffering, but because I intuitively understand something about the nature of human biology.
By the way, this ‘suffering’ is a small price to pay in order to avoid the real suffering our ancestors endured when the cupboards went bare in mid January, and the first crops wouldn’t come until May.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

To me, this sounds like an argument against modern “non natural” medicine ‘tout court’. We live in very different environments than our Palaeolithic ancestors – we eat loads of dairy for a start. Will power is one thing, car dominated cities discouraging long walks to work for example as in many US cities another.

Also there are often balances of risks. Ozempic should be assessed on the evidence as to whether it is medically effective overall, not whether it has no side effects whatsoever.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Ah the ‘medical evidence’! We sure got a belly full of that during Covid, didn’t we? Turns out the only evidence that was deemed acceptable, when it came to repurposing off-label drugs to combat Covid, were double blinded RCTs that only Big Pharma could afford to run. How convenient.
And when the RCTs were done for the vaxx, they destroyed the control groups after a paltry six months. Vaxx effectiveness was ‘proven’ using simple comparisons between hospitalisations by vaxx status, yet now when we see higher excess deaths among vaxxed than unvaxxed, we are reminded with wagging fingers that ‘correlation is not causation’.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

You’re off- topic but happy to take the opportunity to get the Covid lament in again.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
3 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

In fairness, it was kind of tangential. The link was that the we know a lot about the cr@ppy drug pushers in Big Pharma who are also trying to get us to buy this new wonderdrug. I’m sort of suggesting their playbook hasn’t changed since the heady days of “take the vaxx and you won’t get or spread covid”.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

I don’t think Big Pharma is pushing Ozempic. It was discovered by people themselves that it works for weight loss and the demand began.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  iambic mouth

People with diabetes are on it for life and don’t seem to have a problem with losing muscle mass.

iambic mouth
iambic mouth
3 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Your comment runs counter to data collected during the clinical trials. In short: Ozempic and GLP-1 receptor agonists reduce lean mass, which is especially dangerous in patients with sarcopenic obesity. You can read the synopsis here: https://peterattiamd.com/the-downside-of-glp-1-receptor-agonists/. Secondly: define “for life”, that is: for how long have they been taking it, do they exercise, what’s the bodily composition of these patients. You can say what you like on paper, but I’m interested in data.

Tera Pruitt
Tera Pruitt
3 months ago
Reply to  iambic mouth

Your cited article says the opposite to your original comment, where you dramatically claim lean muscle mass lost by obese patients was ‘life threatening.’ Quote from the article: “It’s important to note that both of these trials were conducted in adults with overweight or obesity, and higher lean mass loss among such individuals can still be an acceptable cost for dramatic weight reduction as long as overall body composition is improving. Indeed, despite the high lean mass losses, the proportion of lean mass to total body mass still increased in STEP 1 patients by an average of roughly 3% and in SUSTAIN 8 patients by an average of just over 1%.”

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  iambic mouth

I, unfortunately, live in a state that is Germanic and every other person has diabetes because it’s genetic. They’re either on Ozempic, or Jardiance or the other one and they seem OK.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
3 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Are you sure it’s not the food over there? My memory of the States is that everything seems to be loaded with sugar, even the bread was sickly sweet. I’d argue that’s a bigger cause of the diabetes over there

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Perhaps both. The food is awful that’s for sure. I don’t know why English food had such a bad name because it’s fabulous, particulary bakery and candy. The candy in the US is a joke.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
3 months ago

Isn’t it similar to plastic surgery. It’s not my thing, but for some reason people keep doing things I don’t approve of. Live and let live.

Hilary Easton
Hilary Easton
3 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

That’s a very unfashionable attitude nowadays, but one I wholeheartedly agree with. I have great difficulty explaining, mostly to young people, that there are many things I disagree with that I don’t want banned or made illegal.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Exactly.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Exactly, and abortion. Whatever people do to their bodies is their business.

Jim D
Jim D
3 months ago

I used to go to The Palm restaurant in Los Angeles and devour an entire 28 ounce dry aged porterhouse steak. My dinner for many years was a giant piece of beef, pork or lamb and most of a bottle of wine. No salad, no veggies, no bread, no dessert, just meat and wine. While I had no health problems, I got to 270 pounds and was unhappy with my appearance and the difficulty in finding clothes that didn’t look like tents. A year ago I started taking Ozempic because my A1C was approaching pre-diabetes. I have lost 55 pounds, look and feel better than I have in decades, and am wearing jeans and tees for the first time in 40 years. People who haven’t seen me for a long time first say “Are you okay?” thinking I may have cancer, then “You look great.” after I explain the Ozempic thing. There is no way I could have achieved this by diet and exercise, so for me it is like a miracle. I still enjoy the taste of good food and wine, I just don’t want to eat or drink much of it. My A1C has dropped dramatically and I feel good. Ozempic works, with minimal side effects for most people.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
3 months ago
Reply to  Jim D

You probably gained more weight eating the potatoe along with the porterhouse, than the actual steak itself.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
3 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

He said he ate no veggies, just meat & wine.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

He didn’t eat potatoes.

Ryan Scarrow
Ryan Scarrow
3 months ago
Reply to  Jim D

My brother in Christ, you drank a bottle of wine for dinner every night for years, and yet you think diet and exercise would’ve been ineffective in helping you lose some of your 270 pounds?

Francisco Javier Bernal
Francisco Javier Bernal
3 months ago
Reply to  Jim D

You can. It’s just not that easy. 15 months ago, I was overweight/borderline obese, HbA1C in prediabetic territory, high blood pressure and high LDL and triglycerides. I took on running, sometimes as a chore, others as enjoyment, at least 4-5 days a week. But I am a changed man since. Not only all the parameters are back to normal, but I ran my first marathon on Sunday finishing in a respectable 4h 30m for a 47 years old.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
3 months ago
Reply to  Jim D

Actually eating just meat is a well known diet for loosing weight. I think your drinking was the problem…

Jim D
Jim D
3 months ago

Stephanie, I think you are right. I did try the diet of only meat and no alcohol but lost only 8 pounds in two months. Intermittent fasting didn’t work either. I was initially reluctant to take Ozempic as I generally avoid medications if possible. But the potential for developing type II diabetes and the positive stories and studies I read convinced me to try. Current stories and studies confirm that if you stop taking it, you gain all the weight back, maybe more…like most diets. So this is a lifetime medication.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  Jim D

I’m happy for you and I’m planning on doing the same thing with the go-ahead from my PC. I just hope any side effects don’t prove to be a problem. I see so many well-known people who have lost weight all of a sudden and have,obviously, taken Ozempic. It proves that the “fat is beautiful” thing was a farce.

Matt M
Matt M
3 months ago

I started on it in Jan. I have lost 14lbs against my target of 28lbs loss to bring me to 12st 0lb (and normal BMI). My hope is that this will reduce my BP to normal levels (despite taking two daily pills it is still outrageously high but has dropped since my weight started coming down).

Wegovy costs me £50 per week from Superdrug.

It is a strange thing to rarely feel hungry and to be unable to finish a plate of food in a restaurant. I’ve had few side effects (heartburn mainly, controlled by a Rennie).

I can also confirm that while a couple of pints is still exciting, you lose your taste for the third and fourth.

Very interesting drug (assuming it doesn’t give me cancer!)

Pamela Watson-Bateman
Pamela Watson-Bateman
3 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Meanwhile the diabetes patients who it is designed for can’t get access to what they need. My husband has been unable to get it for 6 months. You pay more than the NHS does.

Matt M
Matt M
3 months ago

I’m sorry to hear that Pamela. I suspect I could get it on the NHS as I have severe hypertension which has proved resistant to the usual medications. Though I would probably have to wait like your husband.

William Shaw
William Shaw
3 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

I thought there was a shortage and only essential patients were getting it?

Matt M
Matt M
3 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

According to the guidelines it can be prescribed to anyone with a BMI over 30 or hypertension. How it works in practice, I don’t know as I haven’t tried but from Pamela’s experience it sounds like it is severely rationed at the moment.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Not in the US.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Ozempic isn’t the only brand on the market, Jardiance is another.

FacRecte NilTime
FacRecte NilTime
3 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

I did the same, worked well for me too. My only tip if you’re not already doing it is to lift some weights to avoid losing muscle along with the fat (as the article also notes.) Wish I’d begun that earlier in the process. Apart from all the other good reasons, more muscle means higher resting metabolism

Matt M
Matt M
3 months ago

Great advice! I’m going to get going on that.

Jim D
Jim D
3 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Congrats Matt. I’m still trying to lose more too and my BMI is still over 130 in spite of a 55 pound weight loss. I do need to do exercise to restore the lost muscle mass.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

If you get cancer you won’t know the cause.

Douglas Redmayne
Douglas Redmayne
3 months ago

Ozempic does highlight how some people are still.imnued with t*rdistic old fashioned morality if they hate the idea that somebody can gain something without putting on tbe effort ( and furthermore its a gain at nobody else’s expense).

Hilary Easton
Hilary Easton
3 months ago

Yes, but when you gain something through effort you often gain a lot of other, even more valuable things alongside it, for instance, a powerful sense of achievement, self-respect, self-discipline, muscular and mental strength, skills that are highly transferable to other areas of life.
However, when it comes to weight loss the odds are stacked so high against one achieving lasting results, I say, in hard cases, bring on the Ozempic.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
3 months ago

This is the same reasoning that keeps so many of us pointlessly labouring day in day out when humanity can produce sufficient resources to sustain the whole with the labour of a productive and capable minority.
We indulge the moral delusions of the productive that they are somehow better than the majority (probably an overhang from a time where the labour of one was barely enough to sustain that one) and that only hard work and sufferance should entitle us to share in the resources.
Not everyone has an eating disorder, not everyone has a psychopathic desire to excel in business. Most people just want to get along.
We can’t really discuss Ozempic as “cheating” without mentioning the myriad ways that food producers and processors “cheat” our appetites with ultra-addictive foods and advertising. No ideally we wouldn’t be taking diet suppressing drugs but also in an ideal world we wouldn’t be eating the way we do.

Jules Anjim
Jules Anjim
3 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

We indulge the moral delusions of the productive that they are somehow better than the majority
Said the grasshopper to the ants.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
3 months ago
Reply to  Jules Anjim

The hare and the lions is an appropriate fable too: The Hares argued all should be equal. The Lions replied: “Your words are good; but they lack both claws and teeth such as we have.”
The fables don’t really defeat my point about the moral delusions though. We have inherited this idea from antiquity and medieval times that all must work to earn but it’s just not true any more.

Jules Anjim
Jules Anjim
3 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

And between those two fables I think we have uncovered the essence of this issue, which will continue to roll from medieval times to today to Musk Towers on Mars.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

When all stop working to earn, those who do work eventually stop, too.

tug ordie
tug ordie
3 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

you are implying that you, or anyone, has the right to the fruits of the labor of others. This is false, and it will become painfully obvious in the future

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
3 months ago
Reply to  tug ordie

Yes, this is the purest display of the politics of envy.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
3 months ago
Reply to  tug ordie

Why is it false? Or do we have to wait until the future for your reasoning too?
What right does anyone have to the fruits of their labour? What right do they have to deprive others?

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
3 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I’ve worked hard and smart to save up for retirement, but I know that when it is time for me to finally benefit from it, people like you will complain of my ‘privilege’ and ask politicians to find some way to transfer it over to them.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
3 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

These are the moral delusions I’m talking about. You too probably pointlessly laboured for all the best years of your life.

Arthur G
Arthur G
3 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Why should society care to keep people alive who choose not to work and produce nothing? That’s the antithesis of the laws of nature.

Pat Davers
Pat Davers
3 months ago

“Indeed, one of the things that makes the drug so intriguing is that it curbs all manner of appetites. For food, yes, but also for alcohol, nicotine, gambling, sex ”
This all a bit “Clockwork Orange” isn’t it?
The whole concept of “free will” is predicated on the notion that we can choose between good and bad. Remove the ability to choose the “bad” and we become little more than automatons.

Jules Anjim
Jules Anjim
3 months ago

Sometimes a salad is just a salad, it doesn’t have to be a symbol of virtue signalling. A systematic problem requires a systematic answer – there’s no amount of willpower and discipline that can resist the blaring siren’s song of self-medicating with fat and sugar. The people I know who’ve been using this drug have been transformed in a way that would have literally been impossible for them otherwise. Kudos to them, I say – what matters the risk of future health issues if you look like a complete stunner today.

Hilary Easton
Hilary Easton
3 months ago
Reply to  Jules Anjim

I was with you until your final statement.

Jules Anjim
Jules Anjim
3 months ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

Which was somewhat sardonic

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

Exactly! Me too.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
3 months ago

Is there no longer any middle ground between 5% body fat and obesity? Between over indulgence and starvation? Once we were nearly all slim on 3 meals a day… many of us (but fewer all the time) still are: can’t we navigate back to that?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  Martin Smith

Apparently not. A lot of fat production comes from the stress hormone cortisol.

Amos Farrell
Amos Farrell
3 months ago

I find it amusing that most of the comments, while trying to contradict the authors argument, instead support it.

John Murray
John Murray
3 months ago

I’ve been doing intermittent fasting recently (16 hours fast, 8 hours within which to eat sensibly) and my spare tire evaporated very quickly. I think I’m now on the bit where the weight losses are smaller, but I’d definitely say give it a go if nothing else has worked.
I had a co-worker in the trial for Ozempic before it was publicly available who lost an enormous amount of weight. I can’t say I really begrudge anybody who wants to use it.

Max Price
Max Price
3 months ago

I car more about Ami schumer’s career than the fatties taking a drug to make them thin. Good on them.

Paul T
Paul T
3 months ago

For it to be cheating there must be a winner and a loser. Who is being cheated?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Well said.

Joan Lewis
Joan Lewis
3 months ago

What a pathetic article. How do people get so obsessed? Doesn’t anyone do exercise for the fun of it? Good grief! I have exercised all my life starting with running and hockey, moving on to dance and a bit of tennis. Then when the knees were not up to running I took up cycling yoga and tai chi. All of these activities are sociable and fun and keep me fit and healthy and are also good for my mental health. I have never “dieted”. Honestly, people need to get out more.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  Joan Lewis

Well, self-righteous old you.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 months ago

Looks like we have two competing interests: 1) got a problem? take a pill. 2) obesity is just another lifestyle choice. The second hits at something else that the article brought up – the perpetual dieting, which is practically a culture of its own. You don’t need a special diet; you need to adopt a different lifestyle, one that incorporates activity and nutrition. Those two things work hand in hand. You don’t have to completely give up stuff you like forever; you just can’t eat it five times a day in super-size portions. Then again, you never could do that, not without some negative consequences.
As a gym lifer, I can appreciate the dedication – if not deprivation – of someone not just exercising, but preparing for a contest. Ironically, those bodies on stage may look good, but from a health perspective, they are not. It’s why no one can maintain that sort of condition all the time. Also, I was struck by this from the opening paragraph: “I was on a stationary bicycle at the gym, half-heartedly scrolling Tumblr while my feet pushed the pedals”
Stop scrolling through Tumblr or anything else. Leave the smartphone in your car or in your locker. If your digital life cannot spare you for however long a proper training session takes you, then take the phone and yourself, go home, and stay out of everyone else’s way. There are few things more irritating that someone homesteading on a piece of equipment for the purpose of scrolling through whatever they’re scrolling through.

Robert Paul
Robert Paul
3 months ago

Another interesting aspect of the Ozempic revolution: marriages or partnerships in which one loses considerable weight often implode, whether the one who lost weight is suddenly getting attention from others or the other becomes aware of their own shortcomings, ie. ‘Yea, I’m a loser and all I deserve is an overweight partner.’

tug ordie
tug ordie
3 months ago

Everything (everything.) in life that is good requires effort. Even if, as you say, the inevitable side effects associated with our incomplete knowledge of our anatomy and its interaction with this pharmacology did somehow not exist, this outcome will still be a pale facsimile. Unearned, and unappreciated.

Brenda Becker
Brenda Becker
3 months ago

When will Unherd wean itself from clickbait headlines that are downright inaccurate or misleading?

Sheryl Rhodes
Sheryl Rhodes
3 months ago

Or…you could just be a Type 2 diabetic who has had immediate and substantial improvement in blood glucose levels on this med. Who has lost some but not a ton of weight and who is paying for it with stomach upset unless I’m very careful with what and when I eat.
I honestly don’t know if I have done the right thing by being on this med for the past eight months. For one thing, my best outcomes before OZ came about when I would stick to a low-carb diet. Ironically, now that I’m taking OZ, it’s very difficult to eat in that low-carb way because the thought of meat and veg is unappealing and often sickening.

Pamela Watson-Bateman
Pamela Watson-Bateman
3 months ago

This medication was designed for Type II Diabetics. Used once weekly as an injection it not only helped control their diabetes but reduced their appetite. My husband lost 20 kg and was very well. Then a whole lot of very stupid women decided to pay a very large amout of money to “get thin quickly” and deprive the people it was designed for from access. The NHS simply can’t compete.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
3 months ago

We are all descended from people who survived famines and our bodies don’t like to waste those calories. My problem – like many people’s – is that weight loss programs only work for me once. I lost 25 pounds on keto and gained 40 pounds back. Keto doesn’t work for me as a weight loss program anymore. I went up 2 pounds during dry January this year. I have gone from unfit to very fit over 8 months with my weight remaining the same. To lose weight I have to go on keto and fast and up my exercise – which is not sustainable over long periods. I would absolutely take these drugs if was able – unfortunately I have a medical condition that precludes me from doing so.

Peter F. Lee
Peter F. Lee
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

When one first loses weight, it is because the fat cells shrink. It takes up to 7years for the fat cells to disappear completely. It takes very little time and effort for those cells to fill up with fat again and eureka, you are back to your old weight and probably a little more.

Mechan Barclay
Mechan Barclay
3 months ago

The missing ingredient with Ozempic and many other cure all drugs is satisfaction. Satisfaction with your own willpower to overcome, in this situation, overindulgence, is the key way to keep yourself healthy. The new ability to overcome your weight by someone else’s miracle drug loses all satisfaction in the accomplishment. Kinda of like the difference between competing and winning vs. getting a participation award. One will boost your confidence and provide you a lifetime guide and the other is fleeting and uninspiring.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
3 months ago
Reply to  Mechan Barclay

Rubbish.

Peter F. Lee
Peter F. Lee
2 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

You might not agree Clare, but its hardly rubbish. Many people seek a toned body and they get a great deal of satisfaction from it, as is obvious from the way they flaunt their muscles.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
3 months ago

I suppose it depends on what you mean by obese. The bmi indicator has been questioned quite a lot.
Morbid obesity makes itself known in an instant, as does malnutrition.
However a lot of weight discussion centres round attaining an ideal form, which by its very nature assumes that the perfect body shape will run without ever needing medical services and that everyone must manage their lives to achieve it.
This means that health in the context of weight is as much a social construction as a medical one, which is why it provokes such a visceral response.
Morbid obesity and self starvation are equally problematic long term for medical services and also have social consequences.
However, someone who is a stone or two either side of the ideal body should not be made to feel paranoid and guilty about it.
As for drugs, well, people don’t realise the impact of mucking about with their individual body chemistry and how if you take more than two regularly , they can fight each other as well as what ever else they are doing to you.
My old aunt only ever took one aspirin occasionally and said that she wasn’t going to put anything in her body that she hadn’t cooked herself unless she was given a very good reason. She had a point even if it was a bit severe.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 months ago

The last couple lines of this reminded me of a sci fi short story by Ted Chiang. It’s in the book Stories of your Life and Others, the last story in the book called Liking What you See. It’s about a college student who has spent her life in an isolated community where everyone has a brain implant that prevents them from perceiving whether someone else is beautiful. The story is good and the author here is correct, a shot that deadens your ability to desire anything seems like a horrible tragedy. To so alter your personality just to lose 30 pounds, and in a way that requires you to keep taking it in all probability… no thanks.

Peter F. Lee
Peter F. Lee
3 months ago

I’m a little confused here; are we saying that a body treated with a drug is the same as a body that results from a training and fitness program. As far as I’m aware the drug may help one to control one’s eating but will not do anything to help create a muscle-toned physique. My experience is that people want the latter and are proud to put in the effort into achieving one.

brian warden
brian warden
2 months ago

I feel like environmentalists engage in a similar type of logic, at least some of them. If someone developed a gasoline replacement that had all the valuable properties of gasoline, but zero side effects, and we could thus just go on with our current lifestyles and only change what we pit in our vehicles fuel tanks, this would not satisfy many environmentalists. Because there’s no repentance, no changing of lifestyle, no sacrifice. It would seem like cheating; we “cheated” ourselves out of environmental doom, a doom we had coming.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago

Chill out. As effective as bariatric surgery. Stop the morality lessons.
High blood pressure? Pills are treatment

paul soto
paul soto
13 days ago

Ironic that Western civilization created the ruthless cravings for sugar and processed food and now a drug to counteract it. Pick your poison folks

Colorado UnHerd
Colorado UnHerd
13 days ago

Ozempic is another expression of alienation from our bodies. A healthy, embodied animal experiences appetite as a catalyst to eat, to be nourished, to stay alive and well. Such a creature eats when hungry, and doesn’t when not. The resulting body won’t be obese and may not be thin. What it will be is healthy, if healthy food is ingested to satiety.
Those of us who have experienced compulsive overeating run roughshod over appetite in an effort to soothe or numb emotions. Using appetite suppressants strikes me as the same impulse at the opposite extreme. Both express disrespect for and alienation from the body, and perhaps a similar refusal to address the deeper issues that cause us to be deranged from healthy appetite and eating.