A New Drug Switched Off My Appetite. What’s Left?
“Something happened,” me said my wife. She’s a veteran at watching me try to fix my body. I told her: where before my brain had been screaming, screaming at air-raid volume, there was suddenly silence. It was confusing. would it last
I went to a Chinese restaurant alone that night, the old-fashioned kind with tables, and ordered General Tso’s. I ate the broccoli, some chicken pieces and thought: too sticky. I left it unfinished, went home confused, another kind of sleepwalker. I walked past Bodegas and shrugged. In one office, I looked at the stack of candy and treats without particular interest.
Decades of struggles – phew. Apparently, the Mounjaro molecule targets the same hormone as Ozempic plus a second one, so it not only stimulates insulin production but also increases energy output.
“I desperately need,” I thought, “an analog synthesizer.” Something to fill the silence where food used to be. For weeks I spent four, five hours every night turning Moog knobs. Don’t make music. Just droning, grinding and beeping. I needed something to obsess over to watch YouTube videos. I needed something to fail at every night to feel normal. And I was also manic, dysregulated and wide-eyed, sleeping five hours a night, running and walking, terse speech; My friends, happy for me but confused, called me “Cocaine Paul”. I bought more synths from a guy on Craigslist and met him in Bushwick, Brooklyn with a grand in cash. A body isn’t designed to lose 25 pounds in eight weeks, starting over the holidays. beep boop
With relief comes new fears. What if it stops working and I slide back into the Valley of Infinite Noise? What’s more, these drugs are hard to come by, both because of supply chain issues and because they’re prescribed off-label for weight loss rather than diabetes. I can’t get a fixed prescription from the pharmacy. I develop a rationing schedule that ranges from one syringe every seven days to one every eight or nine to stock up.
I can see my fear being reflected in the wave of reactions that are pouring out – comments, TV broadcasts, people explaining why it’s actually a good thing that the vast majority of those using this drug are losing a quarter of their body weight. On social media, fat activists are pointing out that our lives were worthy even without this drug. The wave of opinion will not endure for years.
And that’s fair, because this is new — not just the drug, but the idea of the drug. There is no API or software to download, but this is nonetheless a technology that will reshape society. I was the living embodiment of the mortal sin of gluttony, judged greedy and weak since I was 10 – and now the sin is washed away. Baptism by injection. But I have no more virtue than I had a few months ago. I just prefer broccoli to grubby chicken. Is that me?
How long before there’s an injection for your appetite, your vices? Maybe they are not as visible as mine. Would you give yourself a weekly shot against stinginess? Can Big Pharma Cure Laziness, Lust, Anger, Envy and Pride? Is this how humanity fixes climate change — by injecting harmony rather than hoping for it at Davos? Certainly my carbon footprint is much smaller these days. Will we get our smartest scientists together to study hormonal pathways and finally produce a cure for billionaires?
When I phased out the domain name for my food blog, I accepted that there was no technology that could alter my biological responses to my own satiety. Now it’s here, and the part of me that tracked every meal, looked for solutions in apps and programs, wrote code, and took notes is obsolete. Was that time wasted? god yes But I’ve learned a lot – about nutrition, exercise, about myself. All of those lessons are now a joy without resorting to the panic of self-destructive hunger.
I’ve finally been less manic lately. I’m still losing weight, but much more slowly. Train more. At night I play with my synths and watch online music theory courses. Headphones on, process all the years of futile efforts. When I’m fiddling with buttons, I’m sometimes angry, sometimes ashamed, and often grateful. I don’t know how long this post-appetite era will last or how it will end. Except that once again everything in our lives has changed.
https://www.wired.com/story/new-drug-switched-off-appetite-mounjaro/ A New Drug Switched Off My Appetite. What’s Left?