Ozempic, Mounjaro users talk about changes to family life after weight loss

"Impact x Nightline" takes a look at the social effects of weight loss drugs.

"The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City" star Heather Gay made headlines recently after she lost more than 20 pounds using semaglutide, the active ingredient found in popular drugs like Ozempic.

Gay says she's noticed a change outside of the scale when it comes to her self-confidence and how others perceive her.

"I have transitioned from accepting myself, to feeling powerless against food and weight, and to accepting myself as someone that needs medical intervention in order to maintain a weight that feels healthy and positive for me," she told "Impact x Nightline."

PHOTO: Heather Gay speaks with "Impact x Nightline's" Deborah Roberts.
Heather Gay speaks with "Impact x Nightline's" Deborah Roberts.
ABC News

Gay isn't the only user of these new weight loss drugs who has experienced those personal changes, with some users claiming that the drug and the resulting weight loss have changed their relationships and lives. Others say that weight loss has led to newfound self-confidence, inspiring them to step outside of their comfort zones in their personal lives -- and even causing friction with loved ones.

For some, the societal pressure to be thin can also come with measurable health risks, including mental health problems such as eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and relationship problems, according to research.

An "Impact x Nightline" episode now streaming on Hulu examines the ever-growing popularity of weight loss drugs and their effect on user's mental health and personal relationships.

Semaglutide mimics the GLP-1 hormone that prompts insulin production in the body, which in turn makes you feel full, according to medical experts.

Ozempic and Mounjaro were approved by the FDA in 2017 and 2022, respectively, as treatments for Type 2 diabetes. In some cases, people are using the drugs off-label to lose weight.

PHOTO: A box of Ozempic and contents, Oct. 31, 2023.
A box of Ozempic and contents, Oct. 31, 2023.
Lee Smith/Reuters, FILE

In the fall, Zepbound, was approved by the agency for weight loss specifically, as opposed to for type 2 diabetes.

There has been a more than 930% increase in patients getting prescription semaglutide in the past four years, according to data from Epic Research.

Some experts say that the rising popularity of drugs like these when used for weight loss is undoing years of progress in the body positivity and fat acceptance movements.

Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford is an obesity medicine physician-scientist and associate professor at Harvard Medical School. She has been treating patients for obesity using these drugs for years.

PHOTO: Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford speaks with "Impact x Nightline."
Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford speaks with "Impact x Nightline."
ABC News

“A lot of people have thought about obesity as just a matter of lifestyle, a matter of calories in and calories out, and this has really failed us,” she told “Impact.” “We all respond to different things in different ways. We store Adipose or fat in different ways. Sometimes we need to go beyond just those lifestyle modifications.”

Pepper Schwartz, a professor of sociology at the University of Washington, told "Impact" that sometimes when people lose weight it isn’t just how others treat you that changes.

"I think it is important to recognize that looks and identity can be interwoven. And if you change your look so much that you feel like a different person, then your identity is changing," Schwartz, who lost 30 pounds herself after using Ozempic, said. "And then the question is, how is this affecting you? How are you feeling? What are the things you need to express?"

Stephanie Smith, a nurse practitioner from Utah, told "Impact" that she started seeing a change in herself and her marriage after she started to take Mounjaro for weight loss.

"I have a lot more self-confidence and I feel like that is more attractive in general," she said.

PHOTO: Stephanie Smith works out with her husband.
Stephanie Smith works out with her husband.
ABC News

After seeing his wife's weight loss success, Ethan Smith told "Impact" that he wanted to follow in her footsteps and improve his health.

"I wanted to be a good example for my kids. I want to be attractive for my wife. I know that my weight is affecting my health, with sleep apnea, and not being able to be very physically active," he said.

The couple says their intimacy has improved since losing weight.

However, not everyone who has lost weight has had the same outcome.

Jason Wnuk told "Impact" that he struggled with weight issues since he was a child. After Trying traditional methods like dieting and exercise in the past, and even gastric sleeve surgery, he struggled to keep the weight off. He said his weight issues caused his wife to worry about his health, causing tension and ultimately affecting their marriage.

Last February, Wnuk started taking Mounjaro and he has since lost 80 pounds. Four months after he began his drug regimen, and after years of tension in his marriage, Wnuk filed for divorce.

"Forty-five-year-old Jason is a lot different than the Jason that met his wife at 20. So, when you realize you're just at different points and that's when you decide it's just…it's time," he said.

PHOTO: Jason Wnuk speaks with "Impact x Nightline."
Jason Wnuk speaks with "Impact x Nightline."
ABC News

Wnuk's estranged wife said in a statement to "Impact," "Yes, his weight was a point of contention... I also tried to encourage him for fear he would not be around for me or our daughters."

Wnuk said that he is continuing on his personal growth journey and starting a new chapter in his life.

"I'm just amazed at not only the outer appearance, but how I also feel. Just simple things that I couldn't do a few years ago like, you know, taking the dog for an extended walk," he said.