Thanks to the jab my weight’s stable – and my doctor is happy

By Sarah Vine



dmg media (UK)


AS SOMEONE who has been taking semaglutide for two years now, I can attest to its benefits. Having been diagnosed with an underactive thyroid in my 20s, I managed to control my weight though diet and lots of exercise. But after I had children and then experienced early menopause, I always tipped the scales at about 30lb over my ideal weight. I would attempt ever more draconian regimes to get the excess off, but as soon as I resumed any sort of normal eating pattern it would creep back on again. And stress didn’t help, as I do turn to food for comfort when I’m sad. As I hated being overweight (it makes me feel depressed and worthless), and also on the advice of my doctor, who warned me I was prediabetic, I decided to look into having a gastric sleeve fitted. I went to see a specialist bariatric surgeon, Mr Marcus Reddy, and he suggested I try first a daily injection (liraglutide) and then the weekly one, semaglutide. Both, he explained, work like a chemical gastric band, inhibiting hunger hormones in the stomach and stabilising blood sugar levels so you don’t get those lows that have you reaching for that 4pm KitKat. The net result is that I eat about a third less than I used to, which is enough to keep my weight within a healthy range. But what’s also fascinating is that, over time, the injection has rewired my relationship with food. I eat much less of the bad stuff – sugar, high-fat processed foods – simply because they don’t trigger the same response in me. Indeed, if anything they make me feel slightly nauseous. Food has ceased to be a pleasure and become simply a fuel. It’s functional, not recreational. It’s like drinking non-alcoholic wine or beer: tastes the same but without the high. I now have a much healthier diet, my weight is stable – and, most importantly, my doctor is happy. I am aware that some people will see this as a giant cop-out. All I would say is that we used to judge people with depression as weak or somehow morally deficient, and now we give them the help they need. I feel the same about obesity. Some people really struggle with their weight, not helped by the fact that we live in a highly obesogenic society fuelled by an industry intent on stuffing us full of low-value, high-profit processed food. Are fat people morally deficient? Do they deserve to be punished and mocked for their condition? I don’t believe so. If there are methods available, let’s give them the help they need – and not only save them a lot of misery, but also the millions spent each year in the NHS treating the side effects of obesity.