Ozempic and Disordered Eating

Disordered eating
Photo by prostock-studio

Brenda Sue and I are often contacted for advice on healthy eating and weight loss. And of course we welcome all who come to us – we are serious about helping others in their weight loss journey. The problem however, it seems that once some of these people hear our recommendations, they believe that our advice will lead them to disordered eating.

Isn’t it funny that one who suffers disordered eating would be concerned that healthy eating will also lead them to the same?

If you felt like taking the time to look up disordered eating, you will find some so-called nutritionists claiming that healthy eating can be a disorder in itself. Excuse my rudeness here, but these types of weight loss information have to be some of the dumbest stuff I have ever heard of.

How is disordered defined?

Well, here you go – if you turn to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, you will find that something is disordered when not functioning in a normal, orderly, and healthy way.

Below, you will read a couple of scenarios that have become normalized, but they’re all behaviors that a growing number of healthcare professionals consider signs of disordered eating.

  • Weighing and measuring your foods.
  • Someone sitting at the dinner table logs their meal in a weight loss app before getting up.
  • Choosing to only eat foods that are actually good for the body.
  • Engaging in compensatory behaviors, such as exercising to “make up for” food you’ve consumed.

I can’t think of any other way to bluntly explain this, if you are overweight or obese, you already have disordered eating and you know this already!

Eating healthy foods while abstaining from unhealthy foods is not disordered!

If you believe that weighing and measuring your foods leads to disordered eating, that kind of ignorant thinking is what will keep you in the statistic of the 95% of dieters who fail. If you consume more calories than you burn, the result every time is obesity.

Doing the simple things which will actually help you to lose weight is not disordered! The largest problem for dieters is that most do not want to actually be accountable for what they are putting into their stomachs. Until you become accountable to yourself for what, and how much you eat, you will remain obese. This point isn’t even arguable my friends.

Healthy nutrition habits may not be your “norm” – but healthy nutrition habits are an orderly process. Your problem is disorder, not order! Additionally, being as most people seem to never let their smart phones get out of their hands – even at dinner – could there be a more convenient time to log your intake while you can more easily remember what you have just eaten?

We tell people all the time to use apps such as My Fitness Pal to log their food intake. If you have time at the table to scroll through Facebook, Tik Tok, Instagram and other social media sites, then it should be no problem to log onto My Fitness Pal and take about one or two minutes to log your food. It is actually a very simple process.

It is well known that eating disorders have diagnostic similarities to alcohol and drug addiction, they are compulsive behaviors which are difficult to stop. Furthermore, because people with eating disorders typically have unhealthy body image and co-occurring disorders such as depression and anxiety – many of these people often turn to substance abuse to cope. They will also jump onto the newest fad diets and gimmicks, as well as over the counter and prescription drugs to lose weight. The current trend is people who are suffering from obesity are turning to Ozempic, a diabetic drug that stimulates insulin release, to lose weight.

Ozempic for weight loss…

I had seen a few articles and ads telling about Ozempic being used for weight loss. I thought this to be stupid, but didn’t give it much thought until my eighty two year old mother called me because there now seems to be a shortage of Ozempic since doctors began prescribing it for weight loss.

Screenshot from NextMed website

No restrictive diet nor exercise to lose weight is a tad bit of pie in the sky thinking. You will be expected to cut your caloric intake, and you will also be encouraged to exercise. And truth being told, any reduction in caloric intake is going to be viewed as restrictive dieting by most who are already obese.

Ozempic has become popular in the last couple of years because it can make people lose weight fast. However, it is controversial because of the way it works – by triggering a chemical repugnance to food itself. After being injected with Ozempic, a user could try to imagine a mouth watering slab of BBQ ribs slathered with a coating of sweet sauce, candied from the heat in the smoker, or maybe a calorically-dense bacon cheeseburger, only to have their body physically revolt with spasms of nausea and waves of feeling sick.

Ozempic is not actually a weight loss drug, it’s a medication for diabetes. It has gained traction in the medical community because of its ability to lower blood sugar, or rein in levels of glycated hemoglobin, otherwise known as A1C.

One of Ozempic’s effects is that it diminishes a dieters appetite to therefore eat less.  This drug works because Semaglutide simulates a hormone called GLP-1 that regulates blood sugar levels. If blood sugar rises, the hormone tells the body to produce more insulin, which lowers blood sugar levels in turn. This method of action has made GLP-1 a game changer in the management of type 2 diabetes, but the same hormone has also been shown to slow down the passage of food from the stomach to the small intestine, which can increase a feeling of satiety by making dieters feel fuller faster.

Ozempic is not a miracle drug, it can cause you to experience awful side effects.  People taking Ozempic for this particular off-label use may experience nausea and dehydration. They might also feel fatigue and malaise. Their bowel movements might change, with some patients having diarrhea and others becoming severely constipated. This in itself is where a good bit of weight loss is going to come from – your daily calorie intake is going to be lowered with these side effects.

Calorie reduction below your daily metabolic needs is what it takes to lose weight! To keep it off permanently, you have to make permanent changes to your lifestyle. Ozempic can help you to lose weight, but it is not going to fix the multitude of reasons that you have become obese. Healthy weight loss requires also fixing the reasons that drive you to over eating in the first place. If you have not worked on fixing the problems that have driven your appetite, once you quit  Ozempic, you will put back all, or more, of the lost weight right back onto your body.

Reasons for Weight Gain 

You eat heavily processed foods which are often little more than refined ingredients mixed with additives. These garbage products are designed to be cheap, last long on the shelf and are so highly palatable that they are hard to resist. By making foods as tasty as possible, food manufacturers are trying to increase sales. But they also promote overeating.

Most processed foods today don’t resemble whole foods at all. These are highly engineered products, designed to get people hooked.

You eat too many sugar-sweetened, high-fat junk foods that stimulate the reward centers in your brain. These sugar sweetened foods are often compared to commonly abused drugs like alcohol, cocaine, nicotine and cannabis. Junk foods can cause addiction in susceptible individuals. These people lose control over their eating behaviors, similar to people struggling with alcohol addiction losing control over their drinking behavior.

Addiction is a complex issue that can be very difficult to overcome. When you become addicted to something, you lose your freedom of choice and the biochemistry in your brain starts calling the shots for you.

You eat too many foods that spike your insulin. High insulin levels and insulin resistance are linked to the development of obesity. To lower insulin levels, quit eating foods with added sugars and refined carbs. It is also quite helpful eat more fiber.

You eat too much junk food that is often thought to be easier on the pocket book than healthy, whole foods. In America, we can very easily find junk food everywhere now. Convenience and grocery stores display tempting foods in places where they are most likely to gain your attention. The cost savings found with cheap junk foods is entirely wiped out when you need to eat more often than you do when eating healthy. Additionally, high calorie, low nutrition foods are highly likely to cause you to suffer metabolic ailments at some point in your future. The cost of your unnecessary medical bills will far out-weigh your savings with cheap food products.

You refuse to quit eating sugar which is possibly the single worst aspect of the Standard American Diet (SAD). Sugar changes the hormones and biochemistry of your body when consumed in excess. This, in turn, contributes to weight gain.

Added sugar is half glucose, half fructose. People get glucose from a variety of foods, including starches, but the majority of fructose comes from added sugar. Excess fructose intake is known to result in insulin resistance and elevated insulin levels. Refined sugar does not promote satiety!

The bottom line is the most common causes of weight gain are related to poor diet and exercise habits. If you do not fix this, your weight loss with Ozempic is still doomed for failure once you come off of it. Cry if you want to, but to lose weight and also keep it off, you have to really also fix everything about yourself, and also you have to create a new lifestyle that is always focused on good health.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. David, my son has been prescribed Ozempic for diabetes and he has lost weight, together with appetite, which in itself has led to losing weight. He has also developed aversion to some foods (healthy foods at my table!) that he used to like. It does take care of his diabetes, though.

    1. David Yochim says:

      Hi Dolly, Ozempic is a fine diabetic drug, my mother has been really happy with it. I only have an issue with it being used as a weight loss drug by some people who are not diabetic. Like other drugs, diets, and gimmicks, permanent weight loss requires a change of lifestyle or the lost weight will return. 95% of dieters fail simply because they will not give up poor food choices.

  2. Kristy says:

    I’ve never had an unhealthy relationship with food. I gained 100 pounds while living in a group home; meals were controlled. I never ate the breakfast, because I don’t like cereal. Half the time I didn’t eat lunch, because I don’t like lunch meat. Doctor said it was caused by menapause & thyroid; been on levothyroxine little over year. Been out of group home 6 months. Tried 2 small meals a day, lean cuisine or healthy choice for 3 months, didn’t lose a pound. Since then eating only one average size meal a day, or I gain weight. I exercise 4-5 times a week and always have. Any suggestions on how to lose this weight would be greatly appreciated as it really bothers and concerns me. I’m 46 and was never overweight before and it’s hard to deal with.

    1. David Yochim says:

      Hi Kristy, thank you for reading and we welcome your question, it is a good one. To best answer this question, we need more information, however I will still answer the best I can on the information that you have given.

      I am glad that you have seen a doctor, that is one of the first things that we always recommend. Since you have seen a doctor, I have to be careful how I answer you as I do not want to in any way, manner, or form to contradict your doctor. But here goes, there is some possibility that some of your weight gain is a result of menopause and your thyroid. That being said, weight gain from either condition is more minimal than most people think, and weight can still be managed even with menopause and/or thyroid problems. My lovely co-author and partner, Brenda Sue has written on this. You can locate her articles on this subject by entering keywords such as thyroid or menopause into our search function and everything that we have ever written on those topics will come up.

      As we advise people, if you are consuming processed foods and/or foods with added sugars, you need to stop. Processed foods often contain hidden sugars and simple carbohydrates along with other unhealthy ingredients.

      Sugar causes inflammation in the body and is responsible for diseases and conditions that fall under metabolic syndrome; obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and some cancers to name a few. And, when we consume sugar, it causes our blood sugar to rise which in turn causes our pancreas to secret insulin in order to remove the sugar from the blood to be absorbed into our cells. Insulin is the most powerful hormone in our body, and it also has an affect on most every other hormones which our bodies produce. In other words, if your blood sugar is always high, which causes your pancreas to keep pumping insulin, your other hormones will always be out of balance. This results in food cravings, weight gain, and other issues which can affect the way in which we feel.

      You have told us that you have tried to eat s small meals per day, Lean Cuisine, and Healthy Choice and didn’t lose a pound. Those are processed foods and are not really all that healthy for anyone. Additionally, if you ate one or the other twice a day, you placed your body into starvation mode which means your body essentially wanted to hold onto the body fat. When we consume too few calories, we will lose weight but not in manner which is healthy. If you cut your calories too much, you will lose lean muscle tissue along with body fat. When this occurs, you can become lighter, but you are highly likely to still have too high of a body fat percentage which only serves to slow down your metabolism. And then, if you put all of your lost weight back on, your body fat percentage will be higher than it was before you lost the weight to begin with.

      Please do not take this wrong, but saying that you exercise 4 to 5 times per week is pretty much a vague statement. When you exercise, you need to be sure that you raise your heart rate into the aerobic zone for best fat burning. You will know that you are in this zone when your breathing has become a bit labored, but you are still able to carry on a conversation. If your heart rate has not increased, you are not burning fat. If your heart rate increases to a point where conversation is very labored, your body will not burn fat efficiently because the cells in your body are not receiving enough oxygen from your blood supply. Ideally, you should get 150 minutes per week of aerobic activity. Now, what you have to know is that it is almost impossible for the vast majority of people to out exercise a bad diet.

      Lastly, losing body fat is all about calories consumed verses calories burned each day. Do not let anyone tell you differently, they would be wrong. Any diet where one loses weight, the loss is from a reduction of calories. What ever your base line of caloric needs are in order to maintain your current weight will require you to reduce your caloric intake by 500 calories per day in order to lose one pound of fat per week. We tell everyone to only eat whole, healthy foods that will provide you with the carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats which our bodies require. If you do this, you will find that it is actually hard to eat enough to not lose weight. No sugars or processed foods should be in your diet.

      Next, at David’s Way, we do not believe in going on diets. What it takes in order to lose weight and to keep it off is an entire change of lifestyle for the rest of your life. I know that you will see some corporate diet companies which will tell you differently, but you have to keep in mind that their goal is member retention for a cash flow. They care about that, and they really do not care about you as a person. These companies will also tell you that you can still eat anything that you want as long as your track it. However, the truth is, if you are one who has little control over comfort foods, junk foods, and sweet treats and drinks, you can not reasonably expect to have any control over those things in the future. Sugar addiction is no different than alcoholism.

      Lastly, just stop with eating only one meal a day. When we do this, it often sets us up to binge at some point. You can go to our website menu and tap the drop down menu item Calorie Counter Pro. Then you can enter all of your information, which will always be confidential, and find how many calories per day you require to meet your goals. Then, we advise people to use an app such as My Fitness Pal to track everything they eat each day. Remember that all tastes, licks, and sips count towards your daily calories. Once you know what your caloric needs are to lose weight, then eat what it is that you require. Once you plateau with weight loss as everyone will do, then it is time to further reduce your calories for each day. If you were to find that you need to go under 1200 calories per day, please only do so under the supervision of your doctor.

      Again, thank you for reading and your question. We are always here to help. My partner Brenda Sue is also likely to chime in here too.

      Note: We have both been obese in our lives and know what you are going through, we have been there, and done that.

    2. Brenda Sue says:

      Hello Kristy! Thank you for reading and commenting! David has given you great information here. I will add that it’s critical that you consult your medical doctor in all points discussed here, especially exercise. Make sure that he approves of whatever exercise you do, as well as intensity and frequency. It sounds like you have some significant health problems and we do not give medical advice. We encourage a healthy diet as David described for healthy people. If you need a medical diet, you must ask your physician for that information. I also suggest using My Fitness Pal to log your calories so that you have a realistic idea of your caloric intake. That is second only to seeing your doctor first. Once you know exactly how much you are eating, it will be easier to lose weight. Thanks again for your interest in David’s Way to Health and Fitness!

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