Mounjaro users say Thanksgiving will be different this year

WATCH: How weight loss drugs could transform holiday dinners

When Tara Rothenhoefer sits down at the Thanksgiving table this year, she said she thinks about having fun rather than feeling stressed about the food on the table.

Rothenhoefer said she attributes that change to Mounjaro, a medication she said helped her lose more than 200 pounds.

Before taking Mounjaro, Rothenhoefer said at a holiday like Thanksgiving, centered around a big meal, she would be concerned about being able to “make good choices” when it comes to food.

“You really focus on food in general rather than on the party,” Rothenhoefer told “Good Morning America,” adding the change he’s seen since starting the medication, “I was able to turn that fear and anxiety around. more fun and making sure you know, I’m still eating the foods I like. I’m just making sure I’m not eating so much.”

Tara Rothenhoefer told “GMA” that Mounjaro helped her lose more than 200 pounds.

Similarly, Joe Sapone, who lost more than 100 pounds on Mounjaro, told “GMA” that for him, the gathering on holidays like Thanksgiving is now more about the company that is around the food .

“My pleasure has not really diminished,” he said. “Because it’s as much about being with family and friends as it is about eating food.”

Mounjaro and other drugs used for weight loss, such as Ozempic and Wegovy, have exploded in popularity over the past year, as they have proven successful in changing some people’s eating habits and helping people who are overweight and obese lose weight.

Clinical studies show that users of the medication can lose between 5% and 20% of their body weight with the medication over time.

Joe Sapone told “GMA” that he lost more than 100 pounds on Mounjaro.

The active ingredient in Mounjaro, tirzepatide, works to activate two natural hormones in the body: glucagon-like peptide-1, known as GLP-1, and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide, or GIP. The combination is said to slow stomach emptying, making people feel fuller longer, and suppress appetite by slowing down hunger signals in the brain.

Mounjaro – made by Eli Lilly and Co. – is approved by the Food and Drug Administration of the United States to treat type 2 diabetes. Earlier this month, the FDA approved the drug Zepbound to treat obesity, which contains the same active ingredient, tirzepatide, as and Mounjaro.

The drug is similar to semaglutide, the active ingredient in the medications Ozempic and Wegovy – both made by Novo Nordisk – but works slightly differently because it targets two hormones involved in blood sugar control rather than one.

Ozempic is currently approved by the FDA as a treatment for type 2 diabetes along with diet and exercise if other medications cannot control blood sugar levels well enough.

MORE: First came Ozempic for weight loss, then came the shame.

Wegovy is essentially the same injectable drug as Ozempic prescribed at a higher dose. The FDA has specifically approved Wegovy for patients with severe obesity, or who are overweight and have one or more weight-related conditions such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Possible side effects of all three medications – Mounjaro, Ozempic and Wegovy – include nausea and stomach pain.

MORE: FDA warns about the safety of “off-brand” versions of Ozempic, Wegovy

STOCK PHOTO / Getty Images

In this undated stock photo, a Thanksgiving meal is seen from above.

Dr. Katherine Saunders, clinical assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, said people taking medications used for weight loss should be prepared to manage their expectations when it comes to large holiday meals. , like Thanksgiving.

“It doesn’t completely eliminate the pleasure that comes from food,” Saunders told “GMA.” “It allows people to have a couple of bites and then say, ‘I don’t need to eat a big part of this.’ That was enough.”

Saunders also noted that it can take time for people to adjust to eating different amounts and different varieties of food when taking medications like Ozempic and Mounjaro.

“It can certainly take some time for people to get used to eating differently and selecting food differently when they are on these medications,” he said. “So, if you don’t change your eating behavior, or the content of your diet at all when you take these medications, that’s when people can get into trouble.”

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