Can the New Magic Pills for Weight Loss Solve Food Addiction Treatment
For the first time, drugs are being introduced that control and limit weight in a new way, without stimulants. The most notable of these are Wegovy and Ozempic, brand names for semaglutide.
At the Life Process Program (LPP), we can’t and don’t diagnose or prescribe drugs. Members of our program often discuss these issues with their coaches, but we have no medical or other opinion on whether or not a particular medication will be helpful for an individual and encourage you to talk to your doctor about specific options if you determine that’s a good path for you. We support you in your choices!
In general, we encourage people seeking food addiction treatment to take a look at their lives, broadly, to start to see what priorities you want to set, based on what’s important to you. Food is a part of life, and we ultimately want to try to come to comfortable terms with it. But we want to make room for all of life!
We encourage developing new, healthier habits, ways of thinking, and coping skills to support a positive lifestyle (for you), regardless of whether or not you are taking medication.
Wegovy and Ozempic for Weight Loss
Originally for treatment of those with Diabetes Type 2, this is what the FDA says: “for chronic weight management in adults with obesity or overweight with at least one weight-related condition (such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol), for use in addition to a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity.” FDA press release 6/4/2021 (emphasis added).
All drugs have possible side and long term effects, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. This UC Health article describes under what conditions Wegovy and Ozempic may be taken and their potential serious side effects. We will learn more, as they’re used more.
So you must consider carefully how severe your problems are and the health risks.
Note that its approved use is for obese people for whom weight is causing serious health problems. But many people are clamoring to use them, and the rich and famous are flocking to their doctors.
Some Considerations on Drugs like Wegovy or Ozempic in Food Addiction Treatment
You may need to continue taking these drugs for life to keep weight off. That is a heavy burden.
The drugs enable you to lose weight by affecting your feelings of hunger. But they don’t in themselves affect how and what you eat. You still need to make good dietary choices.
For example, you might still be able to binge eat while on some drugs. This is, of course, addictive behavior to be addressed.
They don’t affect your physical exertion and exercise. That’s still on you.
There are issues with excess skin caused by rapid weight loss like this, often requiring surgery.
They don’t in themselves affect your self-image and feelings of agency.
They don’t affect your overall life balance, including your involvement in positive activities and relationships.
Some Pros for Weight Loss Drugs
So our view is if you feel they (and other drugs to come) cause you to lose weight that you have never been able to, that can be very appealing. It may also be healthy — even life-saving — for you.
By losing weight, your weight-related problems will get better. Your heart, your knees, your lungs … will all thank you. You will be able to pursue physical activity. It may make you feel more confident dealing with other people. It may make you feel better about yourself.
… in Conjunction with Lifestyle Choices
This includes watching your diet and making sure to eat healthily. Even as what and how you eat may be influenced by the drugs.
And nothing can replace your being physically active and exercising. Indeed, weight loss may make these even more important — for example, otherwise your skin and body tone may become flaccid and unhealthy.
LPP’s Ultimate “Prescription” for Food Addiction Treatment
Most importantly, we at LPP always recommend that you be the principal driver of your life. This agency, regardless of which tools you use, will determine the success of your weight loss and possible food addiction issues. The goal is always to maintain your sense of agency — that you are in the driver’s seat.
The most essential thing is for you to know that, even with the help of drugs, it is still you who is losing weight and being — and living the life of — not only the thinner person that you have become, but the whole of you, as a person for whom food is only one element of a happy, healthy, rewarding life.