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Ricki Lake says her doctor was “pushing” her to take Ozempic to aid with weight loss. She refused and lost 35 pounds through intermittent fasting and the keto diet instead. Corine Solberg/Getty Images
  • Ricki Lake claims her doctor was “pushing” her to take Ozempic as a weight loss aid.
  • The TV star decided to make lifestyle changes instead and lost 35 pounds.
  • Experts say exercise and diet are still important for weight loss even if people are taking GLP-1 drugs like Ozempic.

Ricki Lake claims her doctor was “pushing” her to take Ozempic to help her lose weight.

The 55-year-old TV star who recently lost 35 pounds says she was reluctant to use the drug and, along with her husband, made lifestyle changes to lose weight instead.

In an interview with Good Morning America, Lake explained, “The doctor was pushing it, we both were overweight, and he was saying you aren’t going to be successful without it, is what he said to me.”

“I like a challenge, and I like proving people wrong, and so it pissed me off,” she added.

Lake says she and her husband used intermittent fasting and the keto diet instead. They also added Pilates to their routine and started sleep tracking.

Lake says she now feels the best she has ever felt in her life.

Reflecting on her weight loss journey, she said: “This is a lifestyle change, and I’ve made this my job, and it’s become my joy. I love it. I think it’s safe to say I’m in the best shape of my life.”

Lake achieved her weight loss without using Ozempic. However, medication has surged as a weight loss tool along with similar GLP-1 drugs like Wegovy, Mounjaro, and Zepbound.

Nevertheless, health experts say these drugs aren’t a magic fix for sustainable weight loss.

Registered Dietitian Rachel Benight believes some physicians are quick to prescribe the drug before encouraging their patients to make nutrition and lifestyle changes first.

However, she says it’s important to note that the nutrition training physicians receive is minimal when compared to that of a registered dietitian.

She says taking Ozempic isn’t the best method for achieving sustainable weight loss.

Firstly, she points out that not all weight loss is fast loss.

“People who experience rapid weight loss are losing a combination of fat and muscle, and the research here is very clear: as we lose muscle mass, our metabolic rate decreases, which makes subsequent weight loss attempts even harder,” she explains.

Benight says people who use Ozempic have a higher likelihood of losing muscle mass unless they are intentionally eating sufficient amounts of protein combined with a strength training program.

“As soon as someone discontinues the medication, they have a high likelihood of regaining the weight if they haven’t made nutrition and lifestyle changes in conjunction with taking the drug,” she surmises.

Kim Shapira, registered dietitian and nutritional therapist, says Ozempic is less of a magic fix and more of a “life raft”.

“We’re in an obesity epidemic, and some people will use the medical support of Ozempic as an opportunity to push themselves into a most sustainable lifestyle, while others won’t,” she points out.

“Ozempic will not change your eating habits. It also will not change an inconsistent routine. What it can do is remove the need for emotional eating and help you get in tune with hunger,” she says. “But long-term, it will completely fail if changes are not made.”

Lake’s chosen lifestyle changes included intermittent fasting and keto. However, this isn’t the only way to improve your eating and exercise habits.

“The first recommendation that I give to all my clients with a weight loss goal is to eat sufficient amounts of protein. Research has shown that protein ingestion increases the release of GLP-1, which is the hormone that Ozempic is mimicking,” Benight explains.

Eating sufficient amounts of protein also helps prevent muscle breakdown when you’re losing weight, which Benight says is very important for maintaining a healthy metabolism long-term.

Her advice is to aim for at least 30g of protein per meal.

A nutrition change that is important to make while taking a drug like Ozempic is eating nutrient-dense foods.

“Due to the appetite-suppressing effects of the drug, people tend to consume insufficient amounts of important vitamins and minerals naturally occurring in foods,” Benight explains.

“In addition to filling your plates with protein, you need to prioritize plenty of fruits and vegetables to fill in potential nutritional gaps,” she notes.

Getting regular exercise is another lifestyle change to consider. Benight says walking and strength training are good ones to focus on.

Ultimately, Benight says effective fat loss comes down to being in a calorie deficit.

“Eat in a reasonable calorie deficit based upon your needs,” she advises. “A registered dietitian or nutrition professional can help you with this, but typically eating 250-500 calories less per day will force your body to break down stored energy (fat or muscle) as a source of calories.”

You want to avoid doing anything drastic to ensure your weight loss is sustainable.

Shapira has six rules for sustainable weight loss. “Eat when you’re physically hungry. Start with half and wait 15 minutes to see if you need more,” she advises.

Make sure your diet includes foods you love too, provided those foods “love you back” and don’t make you feel unwell, Shapira suggests.

Her third rule is to eat without distraction. “Medications like Ozempic can help us identify whether we’re eating for stress, boredom, or hunger,” she explains.

Her advice is to pay attention to what you really need and to act accordingly.

Finally, she recommends moving your body every day, drinking 8 or more glasses of water, and getting plenty of sleep.

Whether you’re opting to lose weight with the help of medication or choosing to forgo it like Ricki Lake, the message is clear.

Making healthy lifestyle changes is important for sustainable weight loss. These can include prioritizing protein, eating nutrient-dense foods, and getting regular exercise.