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Ozempic - Is It Actually A Miracle Weight-Loss Drug?

At this point Ozempic has become a household term. You may have heard of it from a friend who has lost 30 pounds and looks great, maybe from Tik Tok, or maybe from your doctor who mentioned you need to lose weight and Ozempic may be the answer.

The current discussion around Ozempic seems extremely positive - and yes, losing fat and become a healthier version of yourself is indeed a very positive thing. However, this is not just a "miracle weight loss drug" that you start injecting yourself with and the pounds magically shed off. There are not nearly as many conversations of exactly how and why it works - so let's talk about it.

First, what even is Ozempic? Ozempic is one of the popular brand names of a drug including a peptide called semaglutide. The other 2 brands that use this same peptide are Wegovy or Rybelsus. These are all drugs on the market that were originally invented to help manage blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 Diabetes and obesity. The peptide found in these medications increases the effectiveness of insulin and therefor benefits diabetic and pre-diabetic patients. These drugs are packaged in a pre-filled injectable pens that you insert into your stomach or arm area. In 2021 the FDA officially approved the usage of this chemical in higher dosages for weight management under a different brand name called Wegovy - meaning doctors can now prescribe this to any patient for weight loss. (Hence why this drug has gotten so much attention over the last 2 years; and why there became a massive shortage of it.)

The prescribed drug for the purpose of weight-loss is called Wegovy, however for some reason the more commonly used term within casual conversations is Ozempic. The differentiation is that Ozempic is only FDA approved for diabetic use whereas Wegovy can be prescribed to any patient looking for the weight-loss effects. Regardless, the drug works the same. But for the purpose of this article understand that these drugs operate the same way.

To understand how this drug works.... and trust me if you are considering taking it you want to know how it works... you need to first understand this natural hormonal process that happens in your body:

Basically, this is a science-y way to say that GLP-1 is a hormone naturally found in the body that is responsible for

(1) telling your body when you are full and to stop eating

(2) slowing your digestion so you are hungry less often

(3) suppressing cravings and feelings of hunger Now, what is the relationship between Wegovy and the GLP-1 hormone? Well, semaglutide (reminder, this is the peptide found within the Wegovy/Ozempic injectable pen) mimics GLP-1 and functions the same way in the body. So when you insert this chemical into the body it begins to behave as if GLP-1 is present, making you feel full, have less cravings, and feel hungry less often. Most likely leading to a person intaking less calories than before. When you are intaking less calories than the body needs to fuel you throughout the day, your body starts diving into your fat stores for additional energy.

Less Hunger → Less Calories Intaken → Less Readily Available Energy → Body Burns Through Fat Stores for Additional Energy = FAT LOSS

NOTE: This is how the body works whether or not Wegovy is present. It is simple math, when you burn more calories than you consume, you will have to seek additional energy from another source - usually fat stores.

Allow me to repeat this - This is how the body works whether or not Wegovy is present.

So, if you have been struggling to lose fat and the obstacle for you is controlling your food consumption, Wegovy may help with this. I have personally seen success in my clients who have food control issues and psychological patterns related to eating that have been very difficult to break. It gives you a period of time where the food cravings and reward system to eating are lessened which allow you time to build better habits, find a therapist, or work through whatever external factors are affecting your eating behaviors.

But, if your struggle with weight loss is more about the exercise component/being more physically active, Wegovy is not going to have a positive impact on that. You may be in the position where if you just become more physically active while consuming a proper diet, you will lose weight. Before trying out a weight-loss drug, I recommend dialing in on your activity and calorie consumption to see if results come naturally. See our blog on weight loss or contact us for more information on how to get started!

There are some negatives to Wegovy. Like all drugs on the market, it has a list of side effects including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, constipation, kidney problems, and more. Something to note is the link to thyroid cancer and tumors that has been seen during testing on rats - which has not been observed in humans yet but these effects probably wouldn't be seen in the limited amount of time this drug has been available. I have been told from clients the nausea and diarrhea can get pretty severe and has impacted their abilities to workout on multiple occasions. Another potential negative to consumers is the cost. Without insurance coverage, Wegovy can cost $1000+ per month - and if you are prescribed this drug for weight loss rather than diabetes management, chances are your insurance will not cover it.

And, the biggest negative of all, most Wegovy users gained 2/3 of the weight back immediately after stopping the injections. My assumption here as a trainer is that most users never learned proper nutrition habits and only benefited from a decreased appetite. As soon as the injections stopped and their appetite returned to normal, their food consumption probably increased as well (and most likely was not paired with increased physical activity to make up the difference).

In my opinion - please note I am not a doctor or a medical professional so my opinion should not be taken as medical advice - if you are considering Wegovy or any weight-loss drug you should first consider where your struggles have been in the weight-loss process to date. Have you increased your physical activity and tracked it to ensure you are burning enough calories? If so, have you ensured you are taking in the proper amount of calories, with the proper macronutrient breakdown? If you have not focused on one or either of those categories I suggest starting there. Very rarely do I ever see people who have this equation down to a perfect science - and until this is perfected, this should always be where you start.

If you have been controlling both of these categories and are still not seeing results, have you consulted a professional? If your physical activity and nutrition are exactly where they should be and you are still not seeing results, Wegovy probably will not help you see results either. In this case your problem may be with stress levels, sleep quality, hormonal imbalance, medications, menopause, etc. (All areas that this weight-loss drug will not help with.) However, if you know your nutrition is the component that has been off, and you are struggling to fix it after trying multiple methods, it is very possible Wegovy may be beneficial for you.

Moral of the story, I feel it is very important to understand why and how this drug works to understand whether or not it may work for you. If you have weight-loss goals that you are struggling to achieve, our team would love to chat with you and see how we can help! Feel free to contact us via social media, our website, or at 978-799-3924!

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