Can you skip your weight loss medication on Thanksgiving?

Since injectable weight loss medications have become popular, many wonder if they can skip a dose or two in order to enjoy the holidays.

CLEVELAND — Make no mistake, injectable weight loss drugs work. Maybe too well for some.  

Wegovy is the only one FDA approved for weight loss, but doctors are also prescribing Ozempic and Mountjaro as well. These drugs were originally meant for those dealing with Type 2 diabetes. They slow your stomach from emptying, meaning you feel full on far less food.  

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The drugs are so popular, many people are now using them to shed just a few pounds. But will skipping a dose make it easier to enjoy those scrumptious, calorie-laden holiday dinners?

“These medications, they build up in your body. It doesn’t mean that skipping a dose is really going to help you, and it’s probably not an ideal thing to do,” says Cleveland Clinic endocrinologist, Peminda Cabandugama, MD.

Most of us overeat on the holidays, but these medications don’t play well with rich foods.

“You eat a bunch of fried and fatty foods, which we all do on the holidays and that’s OK on that holiday, but if it sits in your stomach for too long you are going to get that nausea. So most of my patients actually taught me for the first 24 to 48 hours they will eat a lot more fiber and drink a lot of water, ” Dr. Cabandugama said.

Good advice, even for those not on diet medications. Also, he recommends spreading out your eating into smaller meals throughout the day. So you can get a taste of everything, but not feel overly full.  For those considering getting off the weight loss drugs for the whole holiday season, he says think again. 

“Would you stop your high blood pressure medicine just during the holidays and start it up after? Would you stop your diabetic medication just before the holidays and start off after? No you would not,” Dr. Cabandugama said.

He also says to remember: it’s not just the one holiday meal, take it easy on the leftovers as well.

“So my recommendation is, do not mess with your medication, and have some awareness of those in days between the holidays with what you’re eating,” Dr. Cabandugama said.

While these drugs are effective, they’re not a quick fix. They’re meant to treat obesity and diabetes and they’re also meant to be used long term. Getting off of them will likely cause the weight to come back, and trying them again may not make weight loss so easy. They’re a tool to help people make better eating decisions. 

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