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Not A Long-Term Solution To Keeping That Weight Off! 

Elizabeth M. Madison, MA, RD, CDN, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Wellness Consultant, and 
Weight Loss Coach

By Dara Mormile

You may want to call it the jab 
that eliminates the flab! 
It’s Ozempic! 

   One of the hottest celebrity-endorsed weight-loss trends, it's a simple self-injection that helps dieters quickly shed pounds. Ozempic joins the ranks of popular re-purposed drugs - prescribed to tame one disease and subsequently found resources to 'solve' other health issues.   
   Approved by the USDA in 2017 to treat diabetes, Ozempic has recently been re-purposed to help dieters achieve 'The Big Slim Down.'  
   Despite celebrity endorsements from Oprah Winfrey and Sharon Osbourne - who boasted sensational results - the once-a-week stab can wreak havoc on the gastrointestinal system and possibly put patients at risk for serious health complications. In recent media reports, overdoses of Ozempic (aka semaglutide) and the similar drug Wegovy more than doubled between 2022 and 2023, according to America's Poison Centers in Virginia. 
   Regulating your appetite and making you feel 'full' is just part of Ozempic's 'magical powers'. While researchers in 2024 are still toiling away at how the drug works, studies suggest its complex molecules slow the passage of food through the digestive system. Government officials haven't ironed out many extensive effects and risks, but tackling each patient's story behind weight gain may help cut down the need for the needle. 
  "Ozempic is not a long-term solution. You see results so quickly, but most people aren't getting to the root of their obesity problems. We see famous people giving all of these testimonials, but there's so much more to this drug that we have to understand," said Elizabeth M. Madison, MA, RD, CDN, Registered Dietitian Nutrition, wellness consultant, and weight loss coach. 

Madison shared her unique insight with Preferred Health Magazine about tackling tumultuous weight-loss journeys and being true to yourself in a society trying to "embrace full-figured women."   
"Looking thin and small ultimately drowns out that ideology of accepting our bodies as they are… And people are willing to undergo those harsh side-effects - even deadly consequences- to achieve their weight-loss goals," Madison said.  
  Nausea, vomiting, dangerous dehydration, and severe abdominal pain aren't enough to deter many from trying Ozempic for longer than its intentional dose. 
  "A lot of patients who turn to Ozempic just want to lose that weight fast. But we need to look deeper than the desperation for instant gratification and results… Sadly, even though as a society we're trying to value natural body image and stop fat-shaming 'full-figured,' women, drug companies will tap into that vulnerable population who will potentially risk their lives and health," said the nutritionist, who battled her demons with obesity and emotional eating for nearly 25 years.  
  Despite the fact that Ozempic is administered under medical supervision, underlying over-eating and delicious indulgences can pack the pounds right back on if patients aren't weaned off the powerful drug properly. Madison encourages patients to get to the source of their emotional eating. 


"A lot of my clients have experienced childhood trauma, psychological stress, and other emotional issues from the past - issues they haven't resolved that can sabotage their present weight-loss goals. Sometimes their families influence or deter their weight-loss decisions," Madison said. "We also have to understand that so many people use food consumption as a form of comfort. These are the clients we have to really try and understand why they want a quick fix." 
The nutritionist took a closer look into the emotional aspects of comfort eating. "Let's say you have a rough day, and you have a bowl of ice cream every night before bed…Of course, the calories will add up, but you just feel better - like you rewarded yourself," she said - understanding that many people cope with problems by "drowning" them out with food.  


"Even though drugs like Ozempic can help you lose up to 50 pounds in one week, which is crazy fast, they're not really designed for longevity - even for more than a couple of years based on current guidelines. The dangerous and worrisome aspect for me as a nutritionist is that there aren't enough studies to expose the long-term use of Ozempic. In some ways, it's frightening for both patients and doctors." 
  Madison highlighted other components that could influence your weight-loss journey, whether you're consuming/cooking unhealthy meals daily for your family or neglecting basic calorie-burning lifestyles that include moderate exercise.  
  "From my experience - and with my clients - the hardest part of losing weight is maintenance!" she passionately admitted. "It's all about keeping the pounds off healthily and coming to terms with what your weaknesses are - not just turning to a quick fix and hoping it'll stabilize your metabolism, because it really won't… I think the best way to achieve those slim-down goals - if you're going to try something like Ozempic - is to consult with dietitian or nutritionist who can look beneath the surface, help you emotionally explore your health goals, delve into your history, and give you that guidance based on the dietary challenges you're facing." 
  That's a lot to digest!  
One thing is certain: consumers will always be anxious and ready for the next hot and hip weight-loss trend, diet, fad, or sensation - no matter how dangerous, risky, or mysterious the consequences. So before you look for that quick fix, do your homework because this poke is no joke! 

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