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The Truth About Ozempic For Weight Loss

The Truth About Ozempic For Weight Loss May 8, 2024Leave a comment

Person using injectable medicine

You've seen the commercials - the ones for weight loss drugs like Ozempic or Wegovy that promise to take the weight off fast. The testimonials seem legit and the results seem to speak for themselves, so why wouldn't you try it?

Especially with the official start of summer just one month away, and the thought of trying on bathing suits in front of the dressing room mirror at Target looms over you.

But if you're anything like me, you might be impatient and want results right away, just like these supplements promise. I ate a salad for dinner, so why didn't I wake up with rock hard abs?

Unfortunately, there's no quick fix when it comes to weight loss - especially if you want to keep it off for good. But don't lose hope just yet.

While you won't be losing 10 pounds this week or growing abs overnight, there are certainly lifestyle changes you can make that will promote a healthy and sustainable weight loss journey.

But first, let's look at the truth about Ozempic for weight loss.

Plate of broccoli and medicine

What's Really the Problem With Ozempic For Weight Loss?

Before I go on a rant about the problems with weight loss drugs, let's talk about Wegovy vs. Ozempic, what they are, and their benefits.

Both of these drugs are semaglutide. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Semaglutide mimics a natural gut hormone called GLP-1.

First, it tells the body to produce more insulin, which lowers blood sugar. Second, it acts on the brain to curb appetite and make you feel fuller.

Ozempic has been approved by the FDA for people with diabetes, and to help reduce their risk of heart attack, stroke, and death.

On the other hand, Wegovy has been approved for adults and children older than 12 who are overweight with other weight-related health problems.

In a clinical trial where patients were prescribed the maximum dosage for Wegovy, they lost an average of 15% of their bodyweight. Additionally, as long as they continued taking the drug, they could keep the weight off.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), from 2017-2020, the obesity prevalence in the U.S. was 41.9%, an over 10% increase from 2000. So, it's no surprise that a weight loss solution is necessary. But is Ozempic for weight loss the right solution?

Person being measured by a doctor

Wegovy vs Ozempic Side Effects

Even though these drugs are approved by the FDA, they can come with adverse side effects.

While not necessarily one of the Wegovy vs Ozempic side effects, according to Dr. Cecilia Low Wang from UC Health, you will have to continue to take these weight loss drugs indefinitely to continue benefiting from them. If you stop taking them, your cravings are likely to return and many people gain the weight back.

Even if you are losing weight on these drugs, you're not just losing body fat, but you're also losing muscle. As you continue to lose muscle mass, you will also lose strength, endurance, and resting metabolic rate. The more muscle you have on your body, the more calories you can burn at rest. So, if you start to lose muscle, your metabolism will slow down, making it harder for you to lose weight.

These weight loss drugs like Ozempic also tend to be very expensive. Dr. Wang explains that without insurance, they can cost over $15,000 per year. Even if you do have insurance, your insurance provider may have specific guidelines for covering these drugs.

Other physical Wegovy and Ozempic side effects include:

  • nausea or vomitting
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal pain
  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • indigestion
  • "Ozempic face" (not exclusive to the weight loss drug, rather a symptom of rapid weight loss that can cause sunken eyes, loose skin on the jawline, increased wrinkles or fine lines, etc)
  • retinopathy (a condition that can cause vision loss or blindness from damaged blood vessels in the eyes)
  • increased risk for pancreatitis

While some of these side effects can be temporary or managed, it's important to consult your doctor if they're long-term or causing pain or discomfort.

Person at doctor's office

How to Get Wegovy or Ozempic for Weight Loss

If you decide you want to start taking Wegovy or Ozempic for weight loss, you must first consult your doctor.

Ozempic can be prescribed by your doctor for people with Type-2 diabetes, or they can sometimes prescribe it off-label for weight loss.

Wegovy can be prescribed to people with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, or to people with a BMI of 27 or higher with additional health problems, such as sleep apnea or high blood pressure.

How to Get a Summer Body Without Ozempic

Whether or not you qualify for weight loss drugs or prefer to lose weight the more natural way, there are plenty of lifestyle changes you can start making today to help you on your weight loss journey.

With summer right around the corner, you might be feeling the pressure to get your summer body ready. It's important to remember that your summer body does not necessarily reflect the number on the scale or the size of your jeans, rather staying happy and healthy.

Eat a Collagen-Rich Diet

While cellulite is completely normal, you may want to get rid of it when swim suit season rolls around. Although your cellulite may not magically disappear, studies show that consuming collagen peptides can have a positive effect on skin health.

You can opt to take collagen supplements, or you can incorporate more collagen-rich foods such as:

  • Skin-on chicken
  • Berries (blueberries, strawberries, etc)
  • Beef bone broth
  • Pork bone broth
  • Broccoli
  • Collagen gummy candy
  • Sardines
  • Organ meats
Food surrounding a chalk board that says "collagen"

Eat Protein With Every Meal

Protein is one of three macronutrients, along with carbohydrates and fats. It's important for muscle, bone, and skin repair, antibody production, and regulating hormones. Not only is this macro esstential for bodily function, but it can help you feel fuller, increase your basal and resting metabolic rates, and help you maintain muscle mass.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025, adult men should consume at least 56 grams of protein and adult women at least 46 grams per day.

Incorporate these foods into your meals for more protein:

  • Chicken breast
  • Turkey breast
  • Lean beef
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Greek yogurt
  • Milk
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Quinoa
  • Protein Powder
Healthy foods inside an arm muscle

Incorporate High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Any type of exercise has the ability to help you lose weight with the proper diet, but high-intensity interval training can be beneficial in reducing body fat, increasing calorie burn, and more. HIIT workouts involve short bursts of intense exercise followed by recovery. Sprinting for 30 seconds then resting for 30 seconds is a good example.

These workouts don't have to be long, and in fact are typically between 10-30 minutes long. That means even if you're on a tight schedule, you can squeeze a workout in.

Research suggests that HIIT can burn 25-30% more calories than other types of exercise. Not to mention, HIIT has been shown to increase your metabolism more than weight lifting or jogging.

If losing body fat is your goal, research also shows that HIIT can be the most effective exercise for fat loss. On the otherhand, if muscle gain is your goal, HIIT has been shown to help especially with people who were less active prior to starting this exercise.

Person exercising

Get Enough Sleep

According to the CDC, over 35% of Americans get less than 7 hours of sleep at night when the recommended amount is at least 7 hours or more for adults.

Not getting enough sleep can wreak havoc on your waistline. When you're sleep deprived, your body produces more ghrelin, the "hunger hormone," and less leptin, the "satiety hormone." This hormonal imbalance can makes you crave more food and feel less satisfied after eating, which can lead to overeating.

Sleep also regulates your metabolism, so not getting enough of it can cause your body to burn calories less efficiently. So, prioritizing a good night's sleep is not just essential for your energy levels but also plays a crucial part in weight loss.

Woman sleeping in bed

Improve Your Posture

While having better posture won't necessarily help you lose weight, it can help improve your appearance in any season. Aside from aesthetics, poor posture can have negative effects on your health. Slouching, rounded shoulders, and a jutting head can strain your muscles and joints, leading to pain in the neck, back, and shoulders.

Research also suggests that bad posture can even affect your breathing by compressing your lungs and limiting your lung capacity.

Try these stretches to help improve your posture.

How to Get a Summer Body Naturally

While there's a lot of talk behind the perfect summer body, it's important to remember that a summer body is one that is happy and healthy, and not necessarily determined by the number on the scale or your jeans size.

By adopting these natural lifestyle changes, you can stay in shape and healthy through the summer and all year long.