The term “skinny shot” can refer to various products or treatments marketed to aid in weight loss. One such treatment gaining attention is a medication called Ozempic (generic name: semaglutide), which is a weekly injection that helps lower blood sugar by helping the pancreas make more insulin. As of January 2022, Ozempic received FDA approval for weight management in adults with obesity or those who are overweight and have at least one weight-related issue, regardless of whether they have type 2 diabetes.
We will be looking at why these skinny shot products such as Ozempic are bursting into the weight loss industry, what the limits and potential side effects are, and other considerations to be made when you actually want to sustain your weight loss goals.
The Limits of Ozempic in Addressing Behavioral Patterns
A skinny shot's mechanism of action involves altering a person’s psychological experience with food, such as simulating the feeling of fullness without consuming the typical portion of food that a person is used to. There are also narratives around skinny shots claiming to boost metabolism, aid fat breakdown, or provide energy support, but there is limited scientific data supporting these assertions.
How skinny shots miss the mark is that they focus on the psychological changes rather than the behavioral modification needed to sustain weight loss. Psychological states change fairly often, but intentionally changing one’s behavior to produce a compounded outcome, whether it comes to health, finance, academia, expertise, etc. can be extremely difficult.
To sustain weight loss and any changes you want to make to your health sustainably, it takes addressing underlying behaviors such as emotional eating, and one’s relationships with food, among others.
Overlooking Mental Health and Anxiety
Anxiety, stress, and mental health do have an impact on eating habits and weight management. Injecting a skinny shot may make you think you are less hungry than you are, but it doesn’t change your mind and maladaptions around food because it simply does not address the psychological factors contributing to overeating or unhealthy eating habits.
Especially if you are someone who suffers from binge eating, there are emotional associations made around the behavior of eating, cravings, and anxiety - And the skinny shot simply does not address your history around food.
Exogenous Nature of Skinny Shots
Skinny shots, such as Ozempic, are an exogenous substance, which essentially means it is something not naturally occurring in the body. Exogenous substances can lead to a cycle of dependency or an increased tolerance in which more and more of that substance must be taken to achieve the desired result. Other contentions with exogenous substances are as follows:
- Side Effects and Adverse Reactions: When you’re already trying to target a particular symptom with an exogenous substances, you may end up creating other unwanted symptoms or problems
- Interactions with Other Substances: Exogenous products might interact with other medications, supplements, or substances in unforeseen ways
- Impact on Natural Processes: Exogenous substances can alter receptors on cells, triggering a series of biomechanical reactions; inhibiting or activating enzymes; altering neurotransmitter levels; influencing your hormonal responses, etc.
- Masking Underlying Issues: Because skinny shots are addressing a symptom, which is weight gain, it might make it harder to understand what the root cause of the weight gain is.
Potential Side Effects and Risks
If you are already feeling overwhelmed with your current state of health, injecting an exogenous substance such as a skinny shot won’t be without potential consequences, which can over-complicate your situation. You’ll find yourself in a cycle of old carnival games such as whack-a-mole, when one issue seems to be taken care of, 2 or 3 more pop up. Below are some of the potential side effects you will be risking when taking the skinny shot:
- Gastrointestinal Effects: Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. These symptoms often occur at the start of treatment and might diminish over time. (1)
- Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar): Using Ozempic alongside other medications that lower blood sugar levels can increase the risk of hypoglycemia. This is more likely to occur when Ozempic is used in combination with insulin or insulin secretagogues.(2)
- Pancreatitis: Rare cases of pancreatitis have been reported with GLP-1 receptor agonists like Ozempic. Symptoms include severe abdominal pain that may radiate to the back, with or without vomiting. (2)
- Thyroid Tumors: Some animal studies showed an increased risk of thyroid tumors, which is why you will see a boxed warning for thyroid cancer (2)
- “Ozempic Face”: This symptom is the excessive sagging and/or aging of the face due to the rapid weight loss over a short time period. As a result, many will then utilize botox or other wrinkle filling procedures to ‘treat’ this side effect.
Temporary Results and Sustainability
There have been some reports arising on the internet stating that following the end of the one’s skinny shot treatments, they will also quickly put the pounds back on. One study from 2022, showed that most participants gained all their weight back roughly one year after stopping their medication. Other anecdotes claimed they gained weight back almost immediately, sometimes gaining more weight or even double the weight, then they previously had.
The reason for this is because the skinny shot only serves one function, to hijack an individual’s wiring around eating while taking it, and tricking them into feeling full with less food - But again, as mentioned earlier, it doesn’t address someone’s behavior, their emotional and psychological associations made around food. So once the drug is completed, the desire to cope with food, or use food as a crutch in some other way, will return.
Below are sustainable weight loss results with Functional Patterns clients who had been working with HBS (Human Biomechanics Specialist) practitioners.
Weight loss and structural gains from HBS Practitioner @_alex_pennington
Weight loss and structural gain results from HBS Practitioner @alison_.prior
Weight loss and postural improvements by HBS practitioner Gio
Systems-based Thinking to Address Weight Management
Due to the whack-a-mole game associated with the side effects of the skinny shot, including ozempic and any other semaglutide medications, and the payoff not being very sustainable, it is recommended to zoom out to the larger picture of weight gain.
Weight gain is a symptom of an underlying condition. Whether it is issues with thyroid, hormones, gut bacteria, or psychological factors, all of these imply an imbalance in your internal system, your biology. At Functional Patterns, we use a systems-based thinking, which means instead of figuring out how to lose weight the fastest way possible, we focus on addressing the entire system of an individual’s body, and as a result, the weight will fall off. Below are some Functional Patterns articles to read up on for prioritizing quality sleep, getting better rest, how to train, and more:
- Non-Sleep Deep Rest: Bio-Hack or a Hack Job? by Tim Robinson
- Addressing Insecurity and Body Dysmorphia by Alicia Tingzon
- Magnesium vs Melatonin: The Key to Better Sleep by Nick Gaasvig
- Depression, exercise and mental health: A holistic approach towards therapeutic movement by Elizabeth Welch
- Interval Strength Training and Interval Training for Weight Loss by Max Emett
When addressing weight problems and recent weight gain, exogenous substances such as Ozempic and other products marketed as the skinny shot ultimately miss the mark. The assumption that these substances alone will lead to a significant improvement and pave the way for sustained weight management is vastly oversimplified; If the idea is that an individual will ‘feel better’ after they’ve lost the weight with the skinny shot which will allow them to also ‘feel better’ about putting in the extra work, the willpower, to maintain a diet and exercise routine to sustain their weight loss, this line of thinking is missing variables and considerations. Side effects may further complicate one’s weight loss journey with additional health complications and embracing a new lifestyle is a considerable challenge, especially when it involves altering habits related to food choices, exercise routines, social interactions, and work habits. This transformation requires patience and experimentation. The most effective and sustainable approach to weight loss involves gradual changes in lifestyle, emphasizing long-term modifications rather than quick-fix solutions.
- Sarah Danapillis, PharmD (2023) Side Effects of Ozempic: Examples and Treatment Options https://www.healthline.com/health/drugs/ozempic-side-effects
- Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD (2023) What are 4 key Ozempic side effects to watch out for? https://www.drugs.com/medical-answers/4-key-ozempic-side-effects-watch-3573389/
- John P. H. Wilding D.M. (2022) Weight regain and cardiometabolic effects after withdrawal of semaglutide: The Step 1 trial extension. Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism https://dom-pubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/dom.14725