Navigate Vacations And Celebrations While Using Weight Loss Medications: Tips And Considerations

July 5, 2024

If you’re using semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy) or tirzepatide (Mounjaro, Zepbound), your approach to food-centric occasions like vacations and summer cookouts may have shifted.

These potent appetite-suppressing medications can make indulging in rich foods uncomfortable.

The temptation to skip or delay a dose ahead of a special event—be it a holiday feast, an anniversary dinner, or a vacation buffet—may cross your mind.

Social media discussions show a divided opinion on this strategy: some find it feasible to skip doses for celebrations, while others report negative outcomes. Some choose to stick strictly to their dosing schedule.

But is it safe to occasionally skip a dose? And is it advisable?

How These Drugs Work

Semaglutide and tirzepatide, known as GLP-1s, mimic post-meal hormones, effectively reducing hunger and aiding weight loss.

This makes them popular for managing weight and diabetes. However, navigating social gatherings where loved ones enjoy abundant, tempting foods can be challenging.

Effects of Skipping Doses

Dr. Katherine Saunders from Weill Cornell Medicine notes that while skipping a dose is technically safe, the drugs’ prolonged activity means they don’t leave your system quickly.

This can lead to unexpected side effects like heartburn, nausea, or vomiting if you overindulge assuming the medication has cleared your system.

Dr. Andrew Kraftson of Michigan Medicine agrees, cautioning that gastrointestinal symptoms can still occur even if a dose is skipped. Managing portion sizes, eating slowly, and chewing thoroughly are advised to minimize discomfort.

Reasonable Delays

Dr. Kraftson suggests that delaying a dose by a day or two for practical reasons—like avoiding digestive issues during an event—is reasonable.

This approach helps maintain medication effectiveness while reducing the risk of unpleasant side effects on important days.

Long-Term Considerations

Dr. Sean Hashmi of Kaiser Permanente warns against habitual dose skipping. While harmless in the short term, it undermines the habits crucial for sustained weight management.

Relapsing into old eating patterns during “medication vacations” can jeopardize long-term health goals.

Tips for Enjoying Special Meals

Experts recommend managing expectations: opt for smaller portions of rich foods, eat slowly, and stop before feeling overly full.

These strategies help strike a balance between enjoying special occasions and adhering to medication regimens.

Official Guidelines

For those considering adjusting their dosing schedule, manufacturers provide specific guidelines: take a missed semaglutide dose within five days, or four days for tirzepatide, to maintain effectiveness.

Longer breaks may require restarting at a lower dose to manage potential side effects effectively.


While skipping a single dose may seem like a solution to enjoy special meals, the reality often involves uncomfortable side effects and risks to long-term health habits.

Embracing reduced appetite and adjusting expectations around food events is a more sustainable approach.

For personalized advice, consult your healthcare provider to navigate these decisions effectively writes Every Day Health.

Photo credit: Every Day Health.

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