Jillian Michaels' Big Ozempic Warning: It Makes You a "Prisoner for Life"
The celebrity fitness expert is speaking out against the weight-loss medication.
From Elon Musk to Oprah to Sharon Osbourne, dozens of prominent celebrities have opened up about their use of Ozempic over the last year. The diabetes drug prescribed off-label for weight loss—along with other medications in the same class—has been credited with helping major stars quickly shed pounds. But one notable name is now speaking out against these weight-loss drugs, explaining why she isn't getting behind the ongoing craze. In a new interview with The Messenger, Jillian Michaels shared her concerns about Ozempic, warning users about the lifelong dangers of the medication.
According to Michaels, it's clear that Ozempic is effective, helping many patients significantly shrink in size. But the fitness expert believes the biggest problem is that those using the medication aren't thinking of the long-term effects, because they haven't witnessed what it means for weight loss over time.
"This is gonna hit a fever pitch over the next 18 months," she told The Messenger. "I think we won't see the fallout from this or what this really looks like for at least another 18 months to two years."
Michaels said she has "zero judgment" for anyone who uses weight-loss drugs. But she worries that people don't realize there is "no permanent cure" that comes with these medications.
"You're a prisoner for life on this drug," Michaels warned. "If you can't afford it, it becomes inaccessible to you at some point because insurance companies aren't covering this forever. Then what are you going to do?"
Ozempic is a semaglutide injection that has been officially approved by the U.S. Food Drug and Administration (FDA) to treat type 2 diabetes, according to UC Davis Health. But doctors have been prescribing the medication off-label for weight loss because it works to mimic a naturally occurring hormone that can make people feel fuller faster—which in turn helps them eat less and shed weight. (A different dosage of the same drug is sold as Wegovy and approved by the FDA for weight management.)
Michaels told The Messenger that over time, people's bodies will adapt to the "chemicals that they're putting in their system," and they will no longer experience the weight-loss effects.
"This is yo-yo dieting but on steroids," she cautioned.
And if you stop taking Ozempic, Michaels believes you are likely to return to the same old bad habits, and are at risk of piling on more pounds than before.
"All the meta-analysis is showing us that when you get off the drug, all your weight comes back plus," she shared. "The reason there's a plus is because we know that the drugs cause muscle loss. When you're losing muscle mass, you're slowing metabolic function. And in addition, when you dramatically reduce calories in the way that these drugs do, you're gonna lower your metabolic setpoint."
The potential rebound effect is not the former Biggest Loser mentor's only concern with popular weight-loss drugs like Ozempic, however.
"We do know that the side effects of these things are significant: pancreatitis, gallbladder issues, kidney problems, vision loss," she added. "This is not something to [expletive] sneeze at."
On the other hand, Michaels did acknowledge one "great thing" to come from the recent Ozempic craze.
"It has proven my point all along that weight loss is calories in, calories out," she told The Messenger. "The only reason you're losing weight on these drugs is how they're inhibiting your appetite. You're eating less. They're affecting the appetite center of your brain and they're slowing your digestion so you feel full."
Michaels said she has pushed the same message for decades when it comes to weight loss: "Eat less food, move more often."
But instead of relying on medications like Ozempic to do this, she recommends that people "try to find other ways" to start moving more and eating less, through hard work and healthy habits.
"If the conversation is, 'I can't do it. I can't stop eating,' then you need a therapist. Period," Michaels told The Messenger. "This is not going to solve that problem. It just isn't. Not permanently and not safely."
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