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10 Pounds Lighter

For hundreds of years, women have been convinced that their inner worth is predetermined by their outer appearance. Specifically their weight. According to societal standards, you MUST be skinny to be considered beautiful. If you dreadfully fall into the muscular or fat category, you can kiss your self-worth goodbye. Who created these implausible rules and regulations surrounding women’s worth? Who said women must be skinny to be deemed as beautiful? Who drew the line between fat and skinny, where even is the line?? This all is to remain unknown. What we do know, is that as women, we will do whatever it takes to remain as slim as possible. Welcome in, diet culture.

Diet culture is a societal system that emphasizes dieting, thinness, and body weight as indicators of beauty, health, and self-worth. It promotes the idea that achieving a certain body size or shape is necessary for happiness, success, and social acceptance, often through restrictive eating habits, calorie counting, and obsessive focus on appearance. We are all victims of diet culture, whether you wish to accept it or not. You may not feel directly influenced by diet culture, but I’m sure multiple individuals around you are. Diet culture became increasingly prominent and unavoidable around the 1970s. Since then, it has been glorified for women to consume a minuscule amount of calories per day. Day in and day out countless women eat only to survive, not to thrive. What if we could end diet culture? What if we had a pill or injection that would do all the dieting for us? Welcome in, Ozempic.

Ozempic is a brand name for a medication called Semaglutide. It is a prescription injectable medication used to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes. Ozempic helps regulate blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin release, slowing down digestion, and reducing appetite. Almost anyone can get their hands on Ozempic, it’s often covered by insurance if you have type 2 diabetes and is around $800 a month without insurance. No more excessive salad consumption, calorie counting, or guilty binges. Simply pay $800 a month and get the body of your dreams in months! Ever since Ozempic was released to the public, numerous celebrities and public figures jumped on the Ozempic train which has only made the drug more popular. This has not only worsened diet culture but also convinced young girls that their natural bodies aren’t good enough. Ozempic has been idealized as the drug that makes you skinny, however, what people aren’t discussing is the horrific emotional impact Ozempic causes on the user, and everyone around them.

Recently, a close friend of mine has gone on Ozempic (we’ll call her Sally). Sally does not have type 2 diabetes and is not heavily overweight, however, like many women, Sally has struggled with food and body image issues her whole life. She directly correlates her self-worth to the number on the scale and only considers herself beautiful if someone else tells her. When Sally first told me she was going on Ozempic, I was supportive yet uneducated. I didn’t know much about the drug, or what it did to the body. However, I did know that Sally was deeply insecure and as a close friend, I wanted to be supportive of her in any way possible. What I failed to consider is how much I would be affected by her Ozempic use. Like any drug, when one person takes it, everyone around them is affected in some way.

It all began one night at dinner. I was out with Sally at a Mexican restaurant, eager to get my hands on some shrimp tacos. Sally and I discussed our hunger while waiting and were thrilled to see our food coming. After it was placed in front of us, we dug in. I was about halfway through the first of three shrimp tacos when I looked over and saw Sally had stopped eating. She took about three bites from her burrito and said she was stuffed and couldn’t eat anymore. At that moment, my heart sank, my face got warm, and I felt embarrassed. I was still starving. I barely ate enough to feel the food in my stomach and was urged to take another bite. But I couldn’t. I too am a victim of diet culture.

I went through the era of over-stressing about how much food I put into my body and being embarrassed to eat in front of others, especially when they weren’t eating. No matter what mindset I put myself in, I couldn’t continue eating if Sally was full off 3 bites. Why am I not full off three bites?? We were both so hungry, and we ate the same amount, yet she was full and I was still desperate for more. I know I shouldn’t be comparing my appetite to Sallys, but how could I not? Going out to eat with someone who stops after three bites is not enjoyable or healthy, for anybody. If Sally was full that soon, how is she getting the proper nutrients and amount of calories necessary for survival? I put the second half of my taco down, feeling ashamed for my allegedly large appetite. That night after dinner I was highly in distress, for truly unexplainable reasons. Sally’s appetite should not have affected me as much as it did. However, as a 20-year-old girl who unconsciously compares herself to everyone and everything, it’s hard to act like I didn’t care. After dinner, we were hanging out and the topic of Ozempic came up. At that moment I realized, I was being completely unfair to myself. Sally wasn’t full off three bites; Ozempic was simply causing the illusion of digestive satisfaction.

As a female who struggles with the same body image issues as the next girl, I completely understand why Ozempic is a popular drug. However, I still cannot state whether I’m for or against it. I have watched Sally go from being self-conscious and constantly dieting to being increasingly confident and full off three bites. Is Sally now more accepting of herself ? Yes, but at what cost? Sally may be 10 pounds lighter, but she’s also malnourished, not receiving the proper nutrients she needs to be sustained the whole day. I’ve noticed her energy levels are lower and she’s constantly exhausted and cranky, which often rubs off on those around her. Sally raves about the drug and praises its name while being completely careless about how it’s affecting her health and everyone around her. As someone close to Sally, I feel as though this drug affects me more than it does her. I’m often in a state of guilt when we go out to eat and her irritable mood often makes me irritable as well.

Sally is not addicted to Cocaine, she’s not an alcoholic, she’s not doing anything illegal or morally wrong. Yet, I feel like I’m losing someone I love, when she’s right in front of me. While Sally walks on clouds from being 5 pounds lighter than she was last week, I struggle to admit that her obsession is my detriment. I can no longer go out to eat with her and refuse to listen to her rave about the weight she’s lost. As an outside observer of Ozempic, I can conclude there are numerous positive and negative effects of the drug. Yet, the positive effects are evident, while the negative are obscure. Diet culture has been engraved in girls’ minds from a young age, and it’s hard to stay away from a drug that is believed to make you ‘objectively beautiful’. Whether or not you are on Ozempic, against Ozempic, or could care less about Ozempic, one thing must be said. Ozempic users: Proceed with caution, you may just ruin someone else’s life by trying to make yours 10 pounds lighter.

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