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- Breakthrough GLP-1 medications like Ozempic (semaglutide) and Wegovy (semaglutide) are helping people achieve their weight loss goals by reducing appetite and helping people feel fuller, faster.
- Social media and outspoken celebrities have popularized the stigmatizing belief that using a GLP-1 like Ozempic for weight loss is taking the "easy way out." At the same time, people report keeping their GLP-1 use from loved ones in fear of body shaming and judgment.
- "Ozempic shaming" is a form of body shaming that delegitimizes weight loss achieved using Ozempic (semaglutide) or other GLP-1 medication by accusing someone of being weak or void of self-control for taking a prescription weight loss medication.
According to Google Trends, the keyword phrase "Ozempic for weight loss" has grown by 150% in the last six months. It's logical to link the burgeoning search interest for Ozempic (semaglutide) and other GLP-1 agonists (GLP-1s) to robust and consistent media coverage.
From STAT to the Wall Street Journal to CNN to People and TikTok—everyone seems to be talking about GLP-1s. But headlines and online chatter have taken a dangerous turn from focusing on health outcomes, accessibility, and potential semaglutide side effects to individuals—namely female celebrities—and their shrinking waistlines and speculated or proven use of Ozempic for weight loss.
As the number of prescriptions for popular GLP-1 brands grows (up more than 250% between 2021 and 2022), healthcare experts warn against the adverse mental health effects of “Ozempic shaming,” while personal anecdotes confirm the stigma surrounding the use of these medications has real and immediate consequences.
What is Ozempic Shaming?
GLP-1s are helping many people, including moms, lose considerable weight more effectively than diet and exercise alone. But "Ozempic shaming" has left both celebrities and everyday women feeling judged for their medical decisions.
Ozempic shaming is a form of body shaming that delegitimizes weight loss achieved using Ozempic (semaglutide) and other GLP-1 medication by calling someone weak or void of self-control for taking a prescription weight loss medication.
Ozempic shaming hinges on the stigmatizing belief that people should lose weight “the hard way,” characterizing GLP-1-supported weight loss an inherently inferior “quick fix.”
Dangers of Ozempic Shaming
If you or someone you love is considering taking a GLP-1 for weight loss, it’s crucial to understand the dangers associated with Ozempic shaming and how it can adversely affect your mental and physical well-being.
Hindering Open Communication and Support
When Ozempic shaming is prevalent, it creates a culture of silence around health-related topics and deters people who can benefit from GLP-1-supported weight loss from seeking medical intervention.
You may hesitate to seek advice from healthcare professionals or share struggles with friends and family, fearing judgment that you're "not overweight enough" or taking GLP-1 supply from other "more deserving people." This lack of open communication can lead to misinformation (like weight loss is solely a matter of willpower, not biology), missed opportunities for support, and a sense of isolation.
Undermining Confidence and Self-Esteem
Stigmatizing beliefs about GLP-1 use perpetuates the idea that seeking medical assistance, such as using Ozempic for weight loss, is something to be ashamed of. Ozempic shaming can discourage individuals from seeking help and erode their confidence and self-esteem.
Anyone who may already be struggling with body image issues can find themselves trapped in a cycle of self-doubt and negative self-talk, hindering their ability to embrace their journey toward wellness. Negative self-perception stemming from Ozempic shaming can heighten mental health issues like anxiety or depression and cement unhealthy relationships with food, exercise, or self-care practices.
Overcoming Shame Around GLP-1 Use
By understanding how GLP-1 agonists work and embracing self-compassion, you can liberate yourself from Ozempic shaming and focus on what really matters: your health and well-being.
Understanding GLP-1 Agonists and Their Role in Wellness
Rather than succumbing to shame, let's reframe the narrative around GLP-1 use. Instead of comparing them to a "quick fix," think of GLP-1 agonists like Ozempic as a valuable tool in your toolkit, designed to kickstart and enhance your journey to better health. Also in your toolkit: a balanced diet, regular exercise, and other lifestyle changes—all of which remain important to supporting your weight loss goals and improving your quality of life.
Education is key to dispelling misconceptions and reducing shame. Consult your doctor and trusted online resources like Healthline to gain a deeper understanding of GLP-1 agonists, their benefits, and potential side effects. Armed with accurate information, you can approach your health decisions with confidence and dispel any lingering doubts that contribute to shame.
Challenging Societal Stigma
Stigma often arises from misconceptions or lack of awareness; negative perceptions surrounding GLP-1s are often born out of ignorance. If you feel safe doing so, try sharing accurate information with friends, family, and acquaintances about using a GLP-1 like Ozempic for weight loss. Seek out communities and spaces where you can share your journey and expect empathy and support in return.
Motherhood is a whirlwind of responsibilities. Amidst the chaos, prioritizing yourself may feel selfish. But remember moms, taking care of yourself is not a luxury—it can help you be an even better parent.
Acceptance and self-love can pave the way for empowerment. So instead of shelving personal goals like weight loss, try conceptualizing them as stepping stones on your path to a healthier and happier you. Be gentle with yourself, recognizing that seeking help through GLP-1 agonists demonstrates your commitment to your own well-being.
A need for external validation can fuel feelings of shame and inadequacy. Remember that your journey is about you and your health, not about meeting the expectations of others. And what you choose to do with your body is your decision and yours alone.
This article has been clinically reviewed by Hanna Rifkin, RD, CDCES, clinical health coach at One Drop.