5 weight loss tips recommended by obesity doctors 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 like diet and exercise, or combining them.
  • Other weight factors should also be assessed first, including other health conditions and medications.

The weight-loss drug semaglutide has been called a ‘game changer’ for significant and lasting weight loss in cases where more traditional lifestyle changes have failed to produce lasting changes, research finds .

Designed to treat diabetes, the drug was approved in June 2021 to treat obesity, selling out quickly.

It works by mitigating the hormonal and metabolic changes that typically make long-term weight loss difficult, according to Dr. Rami Bailony, obesity medicine specialist and CEO and co-founder of the Obesity Management Platform Enara Health.

“It’s not a shortcut. What it does is make your biology reward you instead of trying to fight you,” Bailony told Insider.

Most patients considering semaglutide have tried multiple times to lose weight in other ways, which can lead to feelings of guilt, shame or failure, the endocrinologist and cancer specialist told Insider. obesity medicine, Dr. Scott Isaacs.

“If someone is working really hard to lose weight and isn’t getting anywhere, that’s when you would want to see a specialist,” he said.

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

Sustainable eating is often the first step to healthy weight loss

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

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

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

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

But it can be difficult to lose weight and keep it off, no matter how healthy your diet, because your body will often adjust hormones and metabolism in an effort to keep your weight stable, known as your set point. weight.

“We often think of weight loss as an equation, but weight loss is more like arm wrestling. You pull, and eventually your weight set point will come true and start rolling back,” Bailony said.

Exercise is helpful for weight maintenance

Although exercise is generally suggested for weight loss, research now indicates that exercise is not very effective for significant, long-term weight loss because the body may 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 do resistance training.

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

Check your medications – some can cause weight gain

Up to 20% of Americans may be taking obesity-related drugs, research shows.

The most common include:

Prioritizing Sleep Can Help You Reduce Appetite and Cut Calories

Sleeping at least 7 to 9 hours a night is an underrated way to help manage weight, Isaacs said.

Sleeping well can significantly reduce your calorie intake, according to one study.

Get tested for underlying conditions that may interfere with weight loss

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

Treating underlying conditions may not fully resolve weight gain, but it’s important for overall health and wellbeing, Isaacs said.

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