A new class of anti-obesity drugs is changing how Americans approach holiday feasts like Thanksgiving. Medications including Wegovy, Ozempic, and Mounjaro are not only helping people lose significant weight; they are also curbing appetites and transforming attitudes around overeating traditions.
“More Mindful” Holiday Meals
Once-a-year blowout meals centered around indulging in heaps of comfort foods are becoming relics of the past thanks to anti-obesity injections like semaglutide (the active ingredient in Wegovy and Ozempic). Users report having little to no interest in going back for seconds or thirds of dishes like mashed potatoes, stuffing, or pecan pie.
“If the choice is between a small slice of my mom’s famous carrot cake or none at all, I’m fine having none,” said Mounjaro user Amanda S., 37. “Holidays were always centered around eating for me in the past. Now I’m more mindful. I’ll still enjoy a small plate, but mostly I’m there for the family time.”
[Table with quotes from different medication users about their transformed holiday eating habits]
|Amanda S., 37
|"Holidays were always centered around eating for me in the past. Now I’m more mindful. I’ll still enjoy a small plate, but mostly I’m there for the family time."
|James T., 42
|"My eyes are often bigger than my stomach now thanks to Ozempic. I used to go for seconds and thirds without thinking about it on Thanksgiving, but no more."
|Sarah W., 28
|“Last Thanksgiving I took a few small nibbles of pumpkin pie to be polite, but I just wasn’t into it. The medication totally changes my cravings and appetite.”
Dr. Melinda Ring, MD and associate clinical professor at Northwestern Medicine, explained: “GLP-1 medications like Ozempic work by activating areas of the brain that regulate appetite and food interest. For some, this means completely losing their urge to overeat—even during the holidays when overflowing tables seem to beg for it.”
Cooking & Menu Changes
Those gathering with family and friends for Thanksgiving meals are also noting changes in attitudes, menus, and cooking styles to accommodate smaller appetites. Dishes in smaller portions and lighter, vegetable-focused options are becoming more common.
“My mom is diabetic and started Ozempic this year,” said Sasha R., 25. “For Thanksgiving she’s making her classics like turkey, mashed potatoes and cornbread stuffing, but offering smaller spoonful sizes. And she added roasted Brussels sprouts and a winter squash salad to cater to smaller appetites like hers.”
“I told my family I won’t have much room on my plate this Thanksgiving,” said Mounjaro user Leah S., 33. “So my mom isn’t making as many heavy casseroles and sides. And whatever I can’t finish, I know my teenage nephews will gladly polish off!”
Ozempic user James T., 42, said his family’s traditions are changing, too: “Now that both my mom and I take Ozempic, we are being more deliberate with our Thanksgiving menus,” he explained. “Rather than making way too much food that ends up getting wasted, we are carefully select dishes our smaller appetites can enjoy like roasted turkey breast, light mashed cauliflower, and a simple squash bisque soup."
Could Lack of Appetite Lead to Skipping Doses?
There is some concern that those losing significant weight on anti-obesity medications might be tempted to skip doses before big eating holidays like Thanksgiving. However, most experts advise against this.
“The effects of these medications depend on steady levels in the bloodstream,” said Dr. Reshmi Srinath, MD and director of the Weight and Metabolism Management Program at Mount Sinai Hospital. “Skipping doses can not only diminish weight loss effects, but also spark side effects like nausea when restarting.”
Amanda S. admits the temptation has crossed her mind to miss her weekly Mounjaro injection with the big Thanksgiving meal looming. “But honestly, I know myself,” she said. "If I skipped my dose I’d likely go back for second and third helpings out of habit and undo my progress.”
Those determined to indulge are advised to consult closely with their healthcare provider and take smaller, more gradual dose increases if desired.
Post-Feast Regrets Less Likely
Bloating, lethargy, heartburn, and expanded waistlines have become regrettable hallmarks of Thanksgiving’s aftermath. However for those on anti-obesity medications, these unpleasant "food coma" effects may be lessened.
“Patients tell me that the post-feast discomfort is much reduced thanks to smaller portions,” said Dr. Rashmi Srinath. Amanda S. agrees, saying she woke up the “day-after” last Thanksgiving minus the sluggishness and gastrointestinal distress she once considered par for the course.
While GLP-1 users may be spared some holiday food hangovers, experts still strongly advise being mindful of fat, salt and sugar intake. “Just because you don’t feel discomfort right away due to a medication doesn’t mean that overdoing it isn’t damaging long term,” said Dr. Ring. Moderating portions and enjoying treats in careful moderation is still the healthiest approach.
Lasting Changes to Holiday Traditions?
If stories from users are any indication, anti-obesity drugs like Wegovy and Mounjaro will have long-term impacts on holiday overeating traditions. Smaller gatherings, lighter menus, and increased focus on connection over food may just become the new norm.
“Honestly I’m thankful for Wegovy and the positive changes it sparked in my family’s approach to the holidays,” said Sarah W., 28. “Gathering around the table was always centered on the food itself growing up. Now it’s about catching up and making memories. The focus has shifted for the better if you ask me.”
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