We seem to be trying to have our cake, eat it, and then inject it off – again.
The growing frenzy over new diabetes/obesity drugs Ozempic and Wegovy is renewing some discussions about obesity, our health, and how we perceive our bodies.
Here are some important realities to keep in mind:
Movement Required – Without regular movement (to say nothing of exercise, just regular general physical activity), we cannot optimize health. Our bodies and brains thrive (and require) movement. Look at an anatomy chart. Just beneath your skin you are literally covered in muscle.
Change More Than Weight – These new weight loss drugs can be great if they move people toward healthier lifestyle choices. Otherwise, there will certainly be some unintended downstream negative health consequences we can’t predict. There are irreplaceable mental and physical health benefits from physical activity and healthy eating. When you alter hormones without supporting physiology through other actions, biology will always punish you.
Obesity Cannot Be Genetic – From 1999-2020, obesity increased from 30% to 42% of adults in the U.S. Severe obesity, defined as a BMI of 40 or higher went from 4.7% to 9.2% in that time. Childhood obesity increased from 19% to 22% of children and teens in one year, from 2019-2020. (https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html) Massive changes in obesity rates in a such a short period of time make it obvious it is not genetic. We know that genes don’t work that way. Genes do not change that much in humans that quickly.
What Does It All Mean?
A core belief of mine and a core mission of Funtensity is to both (1) create enjoyable yet challenging exercise experiences and (2) help people discover how to figure out what types of non-exercise physical activity they enjoy.
It is not to allow people to continually move and exercise because they should, but because they are actively seeking it.
Just like there are people with lung cancer who continue to smoke, there will be people with obesity who continue to eat poorly and eschew physical activity – and some will take Wegovy and Ozempic.
In the context of a shift in attitudes and actions about physical activity, healthy eating, and other positive lifestyle choices like proper sleep and meaningful social connection, these drugs may be helpful to someone who truly is “trying everything” (and not just saying that).
Otherwise, we’re trying to have it both ways – continuing unhealthy behaviors while forcing our physiology to change with drugs – and that will never, ever end well. Nature will push back harder than we can push on it.
And that is genetic.