5 Weight Loss Tips Doctors Recommend Before Trying Semaglutide

  • Semaglutide is a drug that can help people lose weight when other strategies have not worked.
  • Obesity doctors recommend starting with lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, or a combination of both.
  • Other weight factors should also be evaluated first, including other health conditions and medications.

Weight-loss drug Semaglutide has been dubbed a “game changer” for significant, sustained weight loss in cases where more traditional lifestyle changes have failed to produce lasting changes, according to research.

Developed to treat diabetes, the drug was approved to treat obesity in June 2021 and quickly sold out.

according to dr According to Rami Bailony, an obesity medicine specialist and CEO and co-founder of obesity management platform Enara Health, it works by moderating hormonal and metabolic changes that normally make long-term weight loss difficult.

“It’s not a shortcut. It makes your biology reward you instead of trying to fight you,” Bailony told Insider.

Most patients considering semaglutide have made repeated attempts to lose weight in other ways, which can lead to feelings of guilt, shame, or failure, said Dr. Scott Isaacs, an endocrinologist and obesity medicine specialist, told Insider.

“If someone is working really hard to lose weight and they’re stuck, that’s when they should see a specialist,” he said.

According to Bailony and Isaacs, you can achieve the best weight-loss results by working with a qualified obesity medicine physician to evaluate all of your potential treatment options, including lifestyle changes and other medications or medical conditions, before trying semaglutide.

A sustainable diet is often the first step to healthy weight loss

The vast majority of patients who have requested semaglutide or other weight-loss drugs have repeatedly tried different weight-loss diets without success, the doctors said.

While many restrictive weight-loss diets can work for a few weeks or months, people rarely stick to them and regain the weight (and sometimes more) over time, according to research.

“Anything you do temporarily, you will get temporary results,” Isaacs said.

Isaacs recommends a reduced-calorie Mediterranean diet for health benefits like reduced risk of disease—it’s flexible, allows for enjoyable eating, and is high in nutritious leafy greens, whole grains, and healthy fats.

But losing weight and maintaining it can be difficult, no matter how healthy your diet, because your body often adjusts hormones and metabolism to keep your weight stable, known as your weight goal.

“We often think of weight loss as an equation, but weight loss is more like a tug of war. You pull, and eventually your weight set point will recognize and start pulling back,” Bailony said.

Exercise is helpful to keep the weight off

While exercise is generally recommended for weight loss, research now shows that exercise isn’t very effective for significant, long-term weight loss because the body can adapt by burning fewer calories over time.

However, exercise is great for overall health and can also build and maintain muscle mass to keep your metabolism strong, especially if you’re doing resistance training.

“Exercise doesn’t help much with initial weight loss, but it’s very important to keep it away,” Isaacs said.

Check your medications – some can cause weight gain

Research suggests that up to 20% of Americans take medications linked to obesity.

The most common include:

Prioritizing sleep can help you reduce appetite and cut calories

Getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep a night is an underappreciated way to manage weight, Isaacs said.

According to a study, a good night’s sleep can significantly reduce your calorie intake.

Get tested for underlying medical conditions that can interfere with weight loss

Other medical problems can contribute to or aggravate obesity, including Cushing’s syndrome, hypothyroidism, and metabolic disorders.

Treating underlying conditions may not completely resolve weight gain but is important for overall health and well-being, Isaacs said.

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