Recently, I got a call from an old friend.
For reasons not unconnected with our different life trajectories, we had drifted apart over the years. But his purpose in calling wasn’t rooted in a desire to rekindle the embers of yesteryears. No. Rather, it was an explicit inquiry into whether I could assist him in obtaining the elusive elixir of contemporary weight loss. In revealing tones, he shared that the spectre of obesity loomed heavily in his family lineage, and across the expanse of time, he had engaged in an uphill struggle to stave off weight gain, all the while deprived of access to effective measures.
Before deigning to punch in the digits and initiate our conversation, he had earlier embarked upon a preliminary expedition, seeking the counsel of his Primary Care Physician (PCP) and urged that he be registered within the confines of the doctor’s weight loss programme —an imperative prerequisite, the key to unlocking the hallowed gates of medication that held the promise of transformation.
Behold the burgeoning trend that has seized the collective consciousnesss is the emergence of a novel strain of diabetes medications. These medications wield the power to precipitate the reduction of one’s corporeal mass by an astounding 10% or more. It’s almost as if orchestrated by cosmic coincidence.
The citadel of this newfound knowledge has elicited a fervour akin to a pilgrimage. It attracts individuals spanning the gamut of society, including men, women, the young, and the aged.
They traverse the terrain of wealth and scarcity, converging in their pursuit of the miraculous weight loss panacea.
This gold rush, however, has spawned a colloquial moniker—Vitamin-O—a moniker punctuated by the letter “O,” signifying a charismatic commander of this drug cohort, the esteemed Ozempic. In harmony, the ranks of Rybelsus and Wegovy contribute to the symphony of pharmaceutical ambition.
At the core of these agents lies an orchestration that commences at the molecular level. They actuate the dormant glucagon-like-peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor, inducing a cascade of physiological events: an augmentation of insulin secretion coupled with a corresponding reduction in the secretion of glucagon.
These titans of metabolism, dubbed incretin mimetics, employ their artful persuasion upon the stomach itself, coaxing it into delaying the passage of sustenance, the very essence of culinary yearning. Through such symphonic manipulation, they orchestrate a hushed cadence in the chorus of hunger.
Yet, amidst the resounding crescendo of pharmacological enthusiasm, a voice of reason emerges, resolute and steadfast. It implores us to heed the call of the age-old: the path paved with perspiration and mindful nutrition. For, you see, the shortcut to svelteness, the beacon of instant transformation, is but an ephemeral oasis that beckons us astray from the arduous journey of exercise and dietary discipline.
These tribulations are not merely for the spirited but demand a disciplined adherence, even in the face of vanishing motivation. Against this complex backdrop, humanity has embraced an eclectic array of bariatric surgical maneuvers—gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, gastric banding, and the intricate duodenal switch—each a step into the unknown, a pursuit of weight loss ensnared by the snares of unforeseen complications.
A glance at the fine print reveals the fine line walked by these pharmaceutical marvels. The label of Ozempic reveals an assortment of potential side effects: nausea, the unsettling dance of vomiting, the discomfort of diarrhea, and the sombre chorus of abdominal pain.
Yet, the rarest notes are etched with greater caution—a whisper of pancreatitis and the poignant hint of a connection to medullary thyroid cancer. Herein lies a directive, an inscription for those with a lineage adorned with the threads of thyroid-related malignancies: a luminous beacon beseeching them to tread with caution, for the risk transcends the promise.
As the echoes of this ensemble of possibility fade away, a question lingers in the air: “Do you even lift bruh?” Indeed, can you tap into your inner reservoir of determination and fortitude? Can you follow the well-trodden path of sweat and self-control, navigating a course towards wellness that resonates with the harmonious echoes of time?
Effortlessly shedding excess weight through the synergy of exercise and dietary adjustments presents a comprehensive, enduring, and personalised strategy for weight control. This approach not only tends to the corporeal aspects of health but also delves into the intricacies of mental well-being, thereby fostering a holistic state of thriving.
Conversely, the expedient allure of surgical interventions and weight-loss pharmaceuticals, while manifesting efficacy in the short run, carries the weighty baggage of substantial perils and the potential to elude lasting transformations in lifestyle. Ultimately, embracing the organic trajectory toward weight reduction empowers individuals to assert dominion over their health, facilitating the attainment of enduring outcomes. This renders it the preeminent selection for those in pursuit of enduring triumph in their quest for weight loss.
The pharmaceutical siren’s call may captivate, but the symphony of self-improvement resonates with a depth unparalleled. Choose wisely, for amidst the tempestuous winds of fleeting trends, the enduring power of the natural way beckons—a beacon of vitality, an enduring embrace of life itself.
•Osmund Agbo is the author of Black Grit, White Knuckles, the Philosophy of Black Renaissance