5 Things I’ve Learned So Far While Taking Ozempic

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Jasmyne Cannick shows off her weight loss from Ozempic.

I’ve been on America’s new favorite weight loss drug Ozempic (Semaglutide) for about a year and half now.  Here’s what I’ve learned.

When I first started, I weighed in at 243 pounds and with an A1C of 6.4. For reference, doctors diagnose you with Type 2 Diabetes when your A1C is 6.5 or above.

I got to Ozempic through Kaiser’s Medical Weight Loss Program.  Before being prescribed Ozempic, I did about a year of trying to remember to take three pills a day, at different times, some with meals. Let’s see, I was on Lomaira, Topamax, Wellbutrin, and Metformin–all for weight loss.  I didn’t lose any weight and a lot of that had to do with the fact that my remembering to take the pills and having to take the pills with meals hardly ever synchronized. For example, I would remember to take the pill hours after I had already eaten.

Ozempic is a part of a family of drugs GLP-1 receptor agonists, and are approved to treat diabetes or weight loss. They include semaglutide, branded as Ozempic, Rybelsus and Wegovy; liraglutide, branded as Saxenda and Victoza; and tirzepatide, branded as Mounjaro and Zepbound. They mimic GLP-1, a hormone made naturally in the body whose roles include slowing the passage of food through the stomach.

So I finally leveled with my doctor and said this wasn’t working and she suggested Ozempic and said a lot of her patients had found success with the once a week injection.  I was leery about having to give myself a shot but was just desperate enough to give myself a shot.

Ozempic was a game changer for me. I’m 10 pounds away from my first goal of 200 pounds, then it’s on to my final goal of somewhere between 170 and 18 pounds. The last check of my A1C was at 5.6. 

I am completely sold on Ozempic and like millions of other Americans taking fancy new drugs to lose weight without knowing the future risks when taking something so new–I’ll deal with it when I cross that bridge.  For now I am going to enjoy my 40s in better shape than I’ve been in a longtime.

That said–when my doctor prescribed this medicine I feel like she neglected to tell me some very important things.  Add to that, along the way, I’ve just learned to adapt to what I like to call best practices when taking Ozempic.  I thought I’d share my experiences publicly since I have been asked so many questions by people looking to get on Ozempic.  Hopefully, my experiences can help folks out there on the fence about whether Ozempic is right for them.

1. Water and Fiber-Rich Foods Are Your Friend

Not that long ago I ended up in urgent care after I noticed I had stopped going to the bathroom.  I started feeling funny and my head wasn’t clear and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me.  Somehow, I noticed I had not used the bathroom.  As my late Grandma Velma would say, I had not had a bowel movement in over a week.  

So there I was at Kaiser with the doctor showing me an x-ray of my abdomen full of stuff my bowels hadn’t moved.  She explained to me that she sees a lot of patients who come in with the same symptoms and on Ozempic. She recommended that I start taking MiraLAX daily and a stool softener.

Add to that I needed to drink more water and eat more foods rich in fiber and protein. Facts. I had to do this and when I accepted that and tweaked my eating, it improved a lot for me and I started to feel better. Trust, I still have ice cream occasionally and only death will keep me from El Cholos Mexican Restaurant.  It’s all about moderation.  Luckily, one of the benefits of Ozempic is that you just aren’t that hungry all of the time. It’s just when you do eat, you need to be wise about it. 

My weight loss doctor never told me severe constipation could be a problem and that I needed to monitor my bowel movements. I had to learn the hard way which ended up costing me about a week of my life as I had to stay home until things returned back to normal.  I am telling you so that you don’t have to go through what I did.

Which leads me to #2…

2. You Can’t Just Eat What You Want To

Now true, Ozempic definitely takes away your appetite and you feel full much longer.  But with all things too good to be true, being on Ozempic doesn’t mean you can just eat whatever you want.  You can try it, and if what you choose to eat is high in fat, high in sugar or simple carbs, you’re going to most likely be doubled over in stomach pain and those bowel movements might get even slower or worse yet– stop altogether.  

I learned this lesson the hard way too.  No one loves McDonald’s french fries more than me.  Fight me. 

For a long while I still tried to eat McDonald’s while on Ozempic. It didn’t work out so great for me.  While Ozempic made me feel full it did nothing for that part of my brain connected to my emotions that likes to eat my feelings away. Fast food and junk food have to go.  They just do or else, chances are, you are not going to feel so well.  I still try and test this out from time to time, and every single time I end up feeling awful.  I felt great while I was eating it though.

3. You Will Lose More Weight and Inches Faster If You Exercise 

I lost a lot of weight on Ozempic doing absolutely nothing. I mean it is possible, I am not going to tell you it’s not.  But what I will say is that if you can manage to combine a little bit of exercise into your routine, you’ll lose more weight faster and as an added benefit you might not end up with ‘Ozempic butt’ or all that saggy skin from losing a lot of weight quickly.  I don’t want to be saggy like that. I’ve seen the chit chat about Ozempic face too.  Not at all interested in aging prematurely either. 

As of late, I have gotten back on the tennis court and since spring is almost here (lol), I am planning on getting back to hiking again.  My biggest challenge is convincing myself I won’t catch COVID-19 if I go to the gym.  I’m a work in progress.

My areas of concern are my arms and my butt.  I don’t have the money for plastic surgery, so I have to exercise to get things the way I want them to be.

4. If You Value Your Life, Don’t F–k with Black Market Ozempic 

Ozempic is pricey–no eff that–it’s downright expensive af.  One time, Kaiser hadn’t updated my insurance plan and when I went to pick it up at the pharmacy, without missing a beat the pharmacist said, “That will be one-thousand–.” I stopped her right there.  

“That will be what?”

I almost passed out right there at the window.

We got that straightened out quick, fast, and in a hurry.

With a hefty price tag and high demand, it wasn’t long before the Ozempic black market was thriving online.

Don’t do it.

I have read horror stories of everything from insulin being injected to people passing out from counterfeit Ozempic.  If the price tag is too good to be true, it probably is.

This is no different than folks letting people shoot them up with supposed silicone in their living rooms only to find out it was cement or something else.

I get it.  You want to be thinner but you want to be alive too.

5. Do You Boo

If you want to take Ozempic to lose weight, do you.  Don’t let naysayers put you down about it. 

I remember when I first posted about being on Ozempic, I had all sorts of folks accusing me of taking much-needed medicine away from diabetics, cheating, they told me that I didn’t know all of the potential risks because the medicine was so new.

Miss me.

Not that I need to explain a m—–f—–g to anyone, but as I said earlier, my A1C was 6.4.  

My doctor prescribed it for me. I didn’t even know what it was at the time.  If it was needed by diabetics, I am sure I wouldn’t have gotten the prescription filled. And at times, when the supply is too short and they start prioritizing at Kaiser, I do get that text message saying my Ozempic is being delayed.

The way I figure it is that you’re gonna get talked about if you’re fat and they’ll talk about the way you choose to lose weight. They talked about Jesus Christ.

Do you.  If you can lose weight and find a way to enjoy life more than you did when you were overweight–go for it. You get one life (that I know of anyway).  You see me out here living my best life and dressing it up everyday.  

You got people out here getting Brazilian Butt Lifts, (BBLs) removing fat from other parts of their body so they can walk around showing off an obscenely large butt. If I want to take Ozempic, leave me tf alone.

Wrapping this up, luckily for me I have not experienced any of the hair loss and suicidal thoughts I’ve seen talked about in the media by people taking medications like Ozempic.  My experience over the last year and a half has been okay. More okay than not.  I am aware it’s a new medicine but I wanted to give it a try since nothing else was working for me. I’m on the highest dosage allowed.  The maximum dose of Ozempic is 2 mg once a week.

I am aware I may have to take Ozempic for the rest of my life, and I am okay with that too.  The prick from the injection is a minor inconvenience for a lifetime of feeling comfortable in my skin and not flinching at my reflection when I pass a mirror.

If you have questions about Ozempic, please feel free to reach out to me. I’ll answer to the best of my ability as someone with what they like to call, lived experience.

Credits:

Photography: Dae Howerton and Dallas Logan
MUA: Tavia Garland
Hair: The Spice Salon
Nails: Polished DTLA

Jasmyne Cannick shows off her weight loss from Ozempic.

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