No more Thanksgiving 'food orgy'? New obesity medications change how users think of holiday meals

For most of her life, Claudia Stearns dreaded Thanksgiving. As a person who struggled with obesity since childhood, Stearns hated the annual turmoil of obsessing about what she ate — and the guilt of overindulging on a holiday built around food.

Now, after losing nearly 100 pounds using medications including Wegovy, a powerful new anti-obesity drug, Stearns says the “food noise” in her head has gone very, very quiet.

“Last year, it felt so lovely to just be able to enjoy my meal, to focus on being with friends and family, to focus on the joy of the day,” says Stearns, 65, of Somerville, Massachusetts. “That was a whole new experience.”

As millions of Americans struggling with obesity gain access to a new generation of weight-loss drugs, Stearns’ experience is becoming more common — and more noticeable at the times of year when cooking, eating and a sense of abundance can define and heighten gatherings of loved ones and friends. Medical experts and consumers say the drugs are shifting not only what users eat, but also the way they think about food.