The diabetes medication Ozempic has been repurposed as a weight loss drug. This is a dream come true for pharmaceutical companies and fat people alike. We have what we have always wished for: a magic pill that will fulfill our dreams of being thin. A wish that many people have to shed excess pounds and now be acceptable in society. Pharmaceutical companies love that they have a medication you must take for the rest of your life to maintain the weight loss. There could be nothing better for them; they will make billions of dollars a year. There is nothing better in their eyes, no matter the cost to the individual.
Honestly, when I first heard of Ozempic and the other drugs being marketed in this way, I was concerned. Fat people are so desperate, we will do anything to be rid of fat, and all that comes with it. We are viewed as lazy, disgusting, gluttonous, weak-willed, unhealthy, shameful, a burden on society, and not worthy of fortune or love. We are denied access to relationships, jobs, extracurricular activities, medical care, and comfort. With all this, who would want to be fat?
So, we do everything we can to not be fat. No matter how extreme or drastic, we will try it. Our doctors will even prescribe harmful tactics to lose weight, no matter the cost to our mental or physical health.
I dieted for most of my 50 years to no avail. I was told once I had lost the right amount of weight, I would have access to fortune, love, and everything thin white people have access to. I just needed to have enough willpower to lose the excess weight and keep it off. However, no one told me that it is nearly impossible to lose weight and keep it off. The research says that 97 percent of dieters regain everything they lost and then some within three years. Obesity research fails to reflect this truth because it rarely follows people for more than 18 months. I was fighting an uphill battle and the weight cycling was ruining my body and metabolism. My body changed temporarily, but I could never keep it off and would feel shame and guilt that I could not do this one “simple” thing: make my body small. I also knew that everyone could see my failure and would judge me.
I am super fat now. I had recently lost a tremendous amount of weight. Then I stopped dieting on purpose and I gained most of it back. Very typical for me. I now know the reason I gain the weight back; all the tactics I use to lose the weight in the first place involve starving myself. All the diets are based on deprivation. After I stop starving myself, my metabolism is shot and my body is rightfully hungry and starts the process of refeeding.
I am now glad that I have stopped dieting. It is hard because I may have changed my thinking, but the rest of society has not. Everyone is still trapped in diet culture thinking. I can change myself, but not them. This external pressure is real and that is why fat people are turning to this new drug to relieve themselves of all the negatives of being fat. I cannot say I haven’t thought about taking it, and I am just waiting for my doctor to offer it even though she knows how I feel about dieting.
At first, I was judging fat people for taking Ozempic and the other new diet drugs. I was thinking that they were being used by the pharmaceutical companies that are playing into all of their insecurities. I thought, why you would put your body through all of this in order to make a temporary change? You may have to take the medication for the rest of your life, as the company has already admitted that you will regain the weight you lost if you discontinue use. Also, the side effects are very dramatic and include gastrointestinal problems, nausea, feeling full all the time, and therefore you do not want to eat. This all sounds like a recipe for disordered eating. Your body will desire and need food and you will not be nourishing it. How does that sound healthy? All doctors say is that they want their fat patients to be healthy. This seems counterintuitive.
Recently, I spoke to a dietician who opened my mind to what was really going on with fat people wanting Ozempic and why we should not negatively judge them for it. She was recalling that her dietician colleagues were complaining that fat people were seeking out the drug, and listed many of the things I did about why it could cause long-term harm. She then asked, why wouldn’t fat people want this drug? Why should we shame them for choosing this route? Many of them have been denied jobs, surgeries, gender-affirming care, loving relationships, and more because of their weight. If a drug promises access to basic human rights that you’ve long been denied due to fatphobia, why wouldn’t you seek it?
I know weight loss drugs are not for me, but who am I to judge someone for seeking all the benefits of thinness when it could be a life-or-death situation or seemingly better for their mental health? I have been denied care because of my weight. I have had doctors take one look at me and recommend bariatric surgery without any examination. What if my knee was bone on bone and I could not walk — what would I do? What should I do? What if I would no longer be disabled?
I live with chronic back pain. I have tried everything the doctors have prescribed including weight loss. Now what? They are still saying “lose weight” with no hard medical evidence that weight loss will work in my case. They lack the will or education to be creative with fat patients. That is what is wrong with our system of medical care. They cannot do knee surgery on a fat person, but they can cut out their stomach. Bariatric surgery seems more invasive than knee surgery to me.
So I will refrain from judgment. Who am I to say what is best for another individual? Who am I to say just put up with the denigration and lack of medical care? That is very ableist of me. I have decided that in my activism about fat liberation, I will choose not to diet or take any actions to make my body smaller. I am learning to love my body as it is. I have spent enough time and emotional energy trying to make my body something that was impossible. I am now just going to enjoy it and the world is just going to have to get over my appearance and what that supposedly says about me.
I am Black, lesbian, disabled, mentally ill, fat, a birth mom, mom and grandmom (grand ma Coco to be exact) and Funny. I am a woman who is constantly fighting for my and your liberation.
I have a history of working for those living at the margins mostly in activist and nonprofit spaces. I currently work in the mental health field serving those who have been convicted of felonies and are in mental heath court. I am also a writer. I write about disabilities, chronic illness, mental health, racial trauma, sexual violence and disordered eating. I am also a public community speaker on the same topics. Hit me up if you need my writing or speaking skills.
Please use she or her pronouns when referring to or about me.