Mark Wahlberg says he prefers to stay in shape ‘the old-fashioned way’ as he weighs in on Ozempic trend

Mark Wahlberg has weighed in on the rising popularity of people using prescription drugs like Ozempic to lose weight.

The 51-year-old actor, who’s known for his strict health and fitness regimes, recently spoke to Page Six about the growing trend of Hollywood celebrities allegedly using the once-weekly antidiabetic injection to shed some pounds.

“To each his own, but I do encourage people to eat right and exercise,” he said in an interview published on Wednesday 3 May. “It’s much more [of] a lifestyle change. You’d be surprised what you can accomplish when you’re willing to do the work.”

Wahlberg added that he prefers to stay in shape “the good old-fashioned way” because it’s the “most sustainable” way to be healthy. “It will give you the longevity,” he said.

Despite his negative thoughts about Ozempic, the Ted star maintained that he doesn’t judge those who opt for the controversial injections to help lose weight.

“Everybody has their own path. I don’t knock anybody for making their own choices,” Wahlberg said. “But I prefer, and I’ve seen lots of people accomplish amazing things, ordinary people doing extraordinary things on a fitness base, and they’re now encouraging other people that look like them. That’s what I’m into.”

Ozempic is a once-weekly antidiabetic injection used for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes, although some of its side effects include weight loss. Ozempic – which is a brand name for semaglutide – works by mimicking a hormone that regulates appetite, which creates the feeling of fullness.

However, many celebrities have been rumoured to use the diabetes medication as a quick fix for losing weight. Similar semaglutide injections such as Wegovy and Mounjaro have also risen in popularity on social media apps like TikTok. Due to its popularity as an “off-label” weight loss drug, the increased demand has sparked a global shortage, leaving people with diabetes who actually need Ozempic without it.

Mark Wahlberg isn’t the only celebrity to share his thoughts about fellow Hollywood stars allegedly using the prescription drug as an “off-label” weight loss method. In March, Uncut Gems actor Julia Fox took aim at celebrities who use the injections because “there are diabetics that need it.”

“All these people are coming for me saying that I take the weight loss things...people are saying that I’m taking Ozempic or whatever it’s called,” Fox told Entertainment Tonight at the time. “I’m not and I’ve never have...I would never do that. There are diabetics that need it.”

Earlier this year, Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel also poked fun at the rumoured widespread use of Ozempic among A-listers during his Oscars monologue. “Everybody looks so great. When I look around this room, I can’t help but wonder ‘Is Ozempic right for me?’” the comedian told the audience.

Meanwhile, The Good Place star Jameela Jamil accused some celebrities at the awards ceremony of using “weight loss injections” in an Instagram post. “The images last. But the methods aren’t sustainable, nor are they normally sustained, until the next awards season!” Jamil wrote. “Where again the images of ageless, weightless women are used as a tool of aspiration.”

Wahlberg is no stranger to dramatic weight loss transformations. The Boogie Nights star previously turned heads when he gained 30 pounds (13.6kg) in just six weeks to prepare for his role as a boxer-turned-priest in the 2022 film, Father Stu.

In 2021, Wahlberg shared two side-by-side photos of his transformation to Instagram, in which he appeared to have gained considerable weight within three weeks. The actor went on to describe his extreme diet during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.

“Unfortunately, I had to consume, for two weeks, 7,000 calories [per day] and then for another two weeks, 11,000 calories. And it was fun for about an hour,” he said. “It’s just such a hard physical thing to do. Losing weight, you just kind of tough it out, you just don’t eat [as much], and exercise, and this, even when [I was] full I would wake up after a meal and have another meal. I was eating every three hours. It was not fun.”

In 2016, Wahlberg gained nearly 60 pounds (27kg) for his role in the disaster film Deepwater Horizon, and put on almost 44 pounds (20kg) of muscle to star as a bodybuilder opposite Dwayne Johnson in 2013’s Pain & Game.