By now you've all seen that earlier this month, one of the largest weight loss companies out there, Jenny Craig, declared bankruptcy and announced it was shutting down all stores across Canada and the US.
The company's been around since 1987 so whether you've ever dieted or not, if you were a teen or young adult in the 80's and 90's, you would have likely heard the name and maybe even knew someone who tried the program.
For those who don't know how it worked, Jenny Craig's system relied on pre-packaged meals made to a specific caloric amount that members were required to purchase and consume, along with weigh-ins, etc., in order to get results. Sounds simple. Everything pre-done for you, no prep or much cooking to speak of, how could it be a bad thing? How could that system not work? How, after several decades, could it go out of business? Because it “worked” until it didn't.
If you do something, get a result that you are hoping for, but then are unable to sustain the result for whatever reason – too difficult or restrictive, can't do it while travelling, doesn't work with your family, had to give up certain foods forever, hated counting calories or points – then did it really work for you?
People, women especially, have become sick and tired of all things diet. Being “on a diet”, cutting calories, counting and/or eliminating carbohydrates, tracking every bite and feeling guilty for any extra morsels consumed, eating something different than the rest of the family, feeling that fear of panic rise up inside when you're invited to an event or holiday that involves food, not knowing there is a way to eat the birthday cake without sabotaging their goals. However, the biggie, the one likely to cause the most stress and anxiety is that weekly weigh-ins. That day each week that would tell them how “good” or “bad” they had been all week and by association, your worth as a person. If this is something you've struggled with, I'm so sorry you've had to go through that experience. Stick with me and keep reading, there is a better way.
In the wake of Jenny Craig's closure, certain medications have started showing up online and in the media promising results for those who have struggled with weight loss. Wegovy, Rybelsus and Ozempic are rapidly gaining popularity and some are even being prescribed for children aged 12 and older. While I recognize that medications do have a place, the diet industry is a business and has nothing whatsoever to do with health. Market Data Forecast reports, “global weight loss and diet management market is projected to value USD 393.9 billion by 2027”. Make no mistake, companies offering diet solutions are doing so based on what it can do for their bottom line, not your bottom.
The latest trend when it comes to weight loss comes from a completely different angle, namely pharmaceuticals. Wegovy, Rybelsus and Ozempic recently appeared on the market as a way to help regulate blood sugar and support weight loss. I did a little dive into those three and here's what I found. Making sure to compare apples to apples, I used the same medically reviewed site report put out by Healthline for all.
Ozempic and Wegovy, are both injectables prescribed for weight loss and to those with type two diabetes. Shockingly, Wegovy isn't just for adults battling excess weight and obesity, but for children as young as 12 as well. It's well knows that putting children on a diet sets them up for a lifetime of disordered eating patterns. I can confirm as many clients I've worked with over the years who started dieting as a child, teen or even young adult have incredibly unhealthy relationships with food and their body. Rybelsus is similarly prescribed but comes in tablet form to be taken 30 mins prior to your first meal of the day, and is not listed for children.
I also checked the side effects. All three had both mild side effects listed such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, bloating, dizziness, stomach flu, to severe side effects like gallstones, pancreatitis, increased heart rate, changes in eyesight, kidney problems, hypoglycemia. All three are noted to have what's called a Box Warning, a, “..serious warning put out by the FDA.” The warning here is for potential thyroid cancer.
While I do believe that medicine does have a place, I also believe that the benefit to taking something should far outweigh the potential risks. When it comes to things like type two diabetes, weight loss, high cholesterol or blood pressure, insulin resistance, inflammation, all the lifestyle diseases, it's well documented that cleaning up diet and changing lifestyle has a huge impact on health outcomes. So why aren't we starting there?
We've become a microwave society where we want things now. And if it can happen yesterday, even better. But that's not how health works and it's not how to make it happen for you in the long term. Small changes you build on consistently over time is what will allow you to take back control of your health, and love life.