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DATE 2023-02-01

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Key: Value:

Key: Value:

MESSAGE
DATE 2023-02-04
FROM Ruben Safir
SUBJECT Subject: [Hangout - NYLXS] Weight Drugs
https://www.wired.com/story/new-drug-switched-off-appetite-mounjaro/#intcid=_wired-verso-hp-trending_6bcbff9a-5e27-460a-9204-ef364a65a21e_popular4-1

A decade ago I lost 100 pounds. I did it in my web-nerd way—by building
a custom content management system using the Django framework in the
Python programming language. Every day I would enter calories ingested,
calories expended through exercise, my weight, and whatever thoughts
occurred to me. It became a job. I produced charts and compared the
results of different kinds of exercise. I put it all online at
OHLIH.com, which stood for One Huge Lesson in Humility.

It worked very well. For the first time in my life my doctor seemed glad
to see me. People noticed. They said: Are you going to open-source this?
Sure I was! Of course, I knew that scientists had found, in study after
study, that basically everyone who loses weight gains it back, and then
some. But there was no chance I would eat my way back to misery. I had a
system! And a PostgreSQL database! And I could buy pants in a normal
department store! Guess what happened.

Obviously genetics were a factor. (I remember when my uncle died,
someone whispered, “My God, how much does this funeral weigh?”) What
health professionals call my morbid obesity—that “morbid” is a helpful
reminder—is what you see. But it’s a side effect of what I am, which is
insatiable. Literally: I never seem to feel full. In practice this means
that at certain times of day, I watch in horror as my body reaches for
the cheapest, easiest calories nearby—out of the pantry, out of a
vending machine, at a party. I scream, “Stop!” But the hand keeps reaching.

While culture kept making smaller airplane seats, science backed me up:
Humans are servants of their satiety.

You might say: Come off it! What happened to good old-fashioned
willpower? There’s a sin for this—it’s called gluttony! Or you might say
something less judgy-sounding that means the same thing. All I can say
is I tried: I downloaded calorie-tracking apps. I taught my phone to
buzz every 15 minutes to remind me that I should not eat. I paid
therapists to train me on better behaviors, researched gastric bypass,
rode my bicycle, talked with experts, experimented with radical
self-acceptance. Nothing stuck. While culture kept making smaller
airplane seats, science backed me up: Humans are servants of their
satiety. Even gastric bypass falters for lots of people.

While it is possible—more possible than many think—to be fat and
healthy, and sometimes I managed that, I could feel my health slipping,
prescriptions adding up in the cabinet. So I accepted that, well, I knew
how I would die, and that we might need an extra pallbearer. (I can make
that joke.) A pretty good life, save for that one thing. I put money
away for my kids, and every day I tried and failed to solve a lonely
puzzle of self.

Then one day my endocrinologist was reviewing my A1C blood sugar levels
as we Zoomed. He had me on Ozempic, a weekly shot that stimulates the
body’s insulin production, which makes it a great alternative to insulin
injections for type 2 diabetics. The drug’s side effects include slower
digestion and increased satiety. You may have heard of it because it’s
increasingly prescribed for weight loss (and is linked to many Hollywood
diets). I’d been on it for a while and lost a few pounds, and I
appreciated it, but the shrieking satiety siren had never ceased.

“Well,” my doctor said, “if you’re not losing weight with Ozempic, try
Mounjaro.” This one was FDA-approved last May, with an atrocious name.
So off I went, from one shot to the other, from Novo Nordisk to Eli
Lilly. Whatever.
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“Something’s happened,” I told my wife. She is a veteran of watching me
try to fix my body. I told her: Where before my brain had been
screaming, screaming, at air-raid volume—there was sudden silence. It
was confusing. Would it last?

I went alone that night to a Chinese restaurant, the old-school kind
with tables, and ordered General Tso’s. I ate the broccoli, a few pieces
of chicken, and thought: too gloopy. I left it unfinished, went home in
confusion, a different kind of sleepwalker. I passed bodegas and
shrugged. At an office I observed the stack of candies and treats with
no particular interest.

Decades of struggle—poof. Apparently the Mounjaro molecule targets the
same hormone as Ozempic, plus a second one, so it doesn’t just stimulate
insulin production but also boosts energy output.

“I urgently need,” I thought, “an analog synthesizer.” Something to fill
the silence where food used to be. Every night for weeks I spent four,
five hours twisting Moog knobs. Not making music. Just droning, looping,
and beep-booping. I needed something to obsess over, to watch YouTube
videos about. 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, run-walking, with pressured speech; my friends, happy for me but
confused, called me “cocaine Paul.” I bought more synthesizers off a guy
from Craigslist, meeting him in Bushwick, Brooklyn, with a grand in
cash. A body is not designed to lose 25 pounds in eight weeks, starting
during the holidays. Beep. Boop.

With the relief come new anxieties. What if it stops working and I slide
back into the vale of infinite noise? Compounding that, these drugs are
hard to get, both because of supply chain problems and because they are
being prescribed off-label for weight loss instead of diabetes. I can’t
get a steady prescription from the pharmacy. I’m developing a rationing
plan, stretching from an injection every seven days to one every eight
or nine to build up a stockpile.
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I can see my anxiety mirrored in the wave of reactions starting to
appear—op-eds, TV segments, people explaining why it’s good, actually,
that the vast majority of those using this drug lose 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
crest for years.

And that’s fair because this is new—not just the drug, but the idea of
the drug. There’s no API or software to download, but this is
nonetheless a technology that will reorder society. I have been the
living embodiment of the deadly sin of gluttony, judged as greedy and
weak since I was 10 years old—and now the sin is washed away. Baptism by
injection. But I have no more virtue than I did a few months ago. I just
prefer broccoli to gloopy chicken. Is this who I am?

How long is it before there’s an injection for your appetites, your
vices? Maybe they’re not as visible as mine. Would you self-administer a
weekly anti-avarice shot? Can Big Pharma cure your sloth, lust, wrath,
envy, pride? Is this how humanity fixes climate change—by injecting
harmony, instead of hoping for it at Davos? Certainly my carbon
footprint is much smaller these days. Are we going to get our smartest
scientists together, examine the hormonal pathways, and finally produce
a cure for billionaires?

When I let the domain name for my diet blog expire, I accepted that
there was no technology that could change my biological responses to my
own satiety. Now there is, and the part of me that tracked every meal,
searched for solutions in apps and programs, wrote code, and took notes
is obsolete. Was that time wasted? God, yes. But I did learn a ton—about
nutrition, about exercise, about myself. All of those lessons are a joy
to apply now, without the panic of self-destructive hunger.

Lately I’m finally less manic. Still losing weight, but much more
slowly. Exercising more. At night I play with my synthesizers and watch
online classes in music theory. Headphones on, processing all those
years of futile effort. As I fiddle with knobs I am sometimes angry,
sometimes ashamed, and often grateful. I don’t know how long this
post-appetite era will last, or how it will end. Just that, once again
in our lives, everything has changed.
--
So many immigrant groups have swept through our town
that Brooklyn, like Atlantis, reaches mythological
proportions in the mind of the world - RI Safir 1998
http://www.mrbrklyn.com
DRM is THEFT - We are the STAKEHOLDERS - RI Safir 2002

http://www.nylxs.com - Leadership Development in Free Software
http://www.brooklyn-living.com

Being so tracked is for FARM ANIMALS and extermination camps,
but incompatible with living as a free human being. -RI Safir 2013
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  1. 2023-02-01 From: "Free Software Foundation" <info-at-fsf.org> Subject: [Hangout - NYLXS] Free Software Supporter -- Issue 178,
  2. 2023-02-01 Ruben Safir <ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com> Subject: [Hangout - NYLXS] Just very depressing ... one of my true crushes...
  3. 2023-02-04 Ruben Safir <ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com> Subject: [Hangout - NYLXS] Weight Drugs
  4. 2023-02-06 Ruben Safir <ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com> Subject: [Hangout - NYLXS] Post Coivid-19 Museums
  5. 2023-02-09 Ruben Safir <ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com> Subject: [Hangout - NYLXS] Virtual IP battles
  6. 2023-02-09 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [Hangout - NYLXS] MTA theft
  7. 2023-02-14 Ruben Safir <ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com> Subject: [Hangout - NYLXS] free search engine
  8. 2023-02-18 Ruben Safir <ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com> Subject: [Hangout - NYLXS] Calc III in 8 minutes
  9. 2023-02-18 Ruben Safir <ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com> Subject: [Hangout - NYLXS] Edward Snowden - CE credits
  10. 2023-02-19 Ruben Safir <ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com> Subject: [Hangout - NYLXS] Amphetamines Epididemic
  11. 2023-02-23 Ruben Safir <ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com> Subject: [Hangout - NYLXS] Our Friend Paul at work in DC
  12. 2023-02-25 info-at-fsfla.org Subject: [Hangout - NYLXS] Linux-libre turns 15!

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