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How Does Ozempic Work for Weight Loss? (And is it For You?)

If you’re one of the millions of people around the world trying to lose weight, you may have found it harder than you originally thought. Although it sounds easy to start eating healthy and exercising more, in our busy, stressful society, it’s a little easier said than done. There are all kinds of reasons you just might not have the time to cook healthy, balanced meals (long work days, family obligations, cost barriers) or get into a consistent exercise routine. 

As a result, the diet industry has supplied us with all kinds of supplements and medications that are designed to help us feel fuller, or burn calories—including some that are helpful, and some that are not. One of the latest breakthroughs to help people lose weight that actually works is with the FDA approved medication Ozempic (or Wegovy). 

In today’s article, we’re going to cover the topics:

  • What Ozempic is
  • How Ozempic works for weight loss
  • Ways to ensure you lose weight
  • The other benefits of taking Ozempic

What is Ozempic? 

What is the story behind this FDA approved medication?

hands holding an ozempic injection
A semaglutide like Ozempic is a proven way to help you lose weight. Image courtesy of Forbes.

Ozempic (semaglutide) is a drug that was approved by the FDA in 2017 in order to help those struggling to manage type 2 diabetes. It should be injected weekly to help manage blood sugar by encouraging the pancreas to produce insulin. Our bodies need insulin to move glucose from the food we ingest to our cells, in order to get energy. Ozempic mimics a naturally occurring hormone and signals your body that you have eaten, and to start the process of obtaining energy. This also helps you feel fuller for a longer period of time. 

Diabetics have had a lot of success with this drug, and doctors started to notice some of them were also losing weight as they got better control over their blood sugar. This was an interesting side effect, as not only was their diabetes managed better, but losing the extra weight helps reduce the risk of obesity, heart attack, and stroke.  

Ozempic is approved for type 2 diabetes, but doctors could prescribe it to individuals for weight loss. An additional drug that’s also a semaglutide is Wegovy, which was approved by the FDA in 2021 for weight loss. It has a higher weekly dose of semaglutide that specifically targets weight loss.

How does Ozempic work for weight loss?

How do people lose weight with Ozempic (semaglutide)?

Ozempic is classified as a GLP-1 (glucagon like peptide 1) agonist that is designed to mimic the GLP-1 hormone that occurs naturally in our bodies. It works to lower blood sugar levels after you’ve eaten, which is why it was originally used for diabetics. It blocks the liver from making glucose so that you feel fuller for longer. This feeling of fullness is why it works so well for weight loss, you simply don’t have the same level of hunger while you’re taking the drug. 

In addition to helping you feel fuller longer, Ozempic also helps manage how fast food leaves your stomach. The slower digestion process and the delayed time that food reaches your intestines also contributes to the feeling of fullness. Because it can affect both the appetite control part of your brain, as well as specific functions in your gut is why Ozempic has been so successful when it comes to weight loss. With less of an appetite, you’ll be less likely to snack too much during the day, over eat at meal times, and eat when you’re not really hungry.

Is Ozempic safe for weight loss?

Yes Ozempic is safe for weight loss! Although when prescribed specifically for weight loss, it is done so under the name Wegovy. Both Ozempic and Wegovy are both a semaglutide, but are typically prescribed at different levels, whether it’s for weight loss or blood sugar management. 

man and woman doing yoga
Keeping active is an essential part of keep your weight at a healthy level. Image courtesy of SparkPeople.

Are there side effects?

When you first start taking Ozempic, you may notice some digestive-related side effects. You could experience some of the following side effects, or none at at:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach
  • Constipation

Typically these side effects abate as your body gets used to your Ozempic dosage. You can also make sure you’re eating a diet that’s full of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and fiber and try to limit your intake of greasy foods, red meat, spicy foods, and alcohol. These common foods and beverages can make your digestive side effects worse. 

Can you speed up weight loss on Ozempic?

While everyone would like to see immediate results when it comes to weight loss, sometimes that’s just not viable, even on medication like Ozempic. It’s important to be patient, and allow your body to adapt to the drug. Your doctor will start you out at a low dose, and increase it as your body becomes accustomed to it. The typical maximum maintenance dosage is 1mg, but it could take up to three months to get there. Everyone’s body will react differently, so if it’s taking more time than you want, remember, you’re in this for the long haul!

Additionally, there are other things you may want to do to help speed up your weight loss:

  • Make changes to your diet. One of the most important ways to help you lose weight is to ensure your diet is where it needs to be. The medication will take care of the appetite suppression and keep you feeling full, but you need to make sure you’re feeding your body with nutritious food. Limit or eliminate refined carbs, extra sugar, red meat, and alcohol in order to reach your weight loss goals.
  • Up your physical activity. Another way to speed up your weight loss is to keep to a consistent workout schedule. Along with a reduced calorie diet, you should aim to get physical exercise most days of the week for 20-30 minutes each time. Exercise not only helps you burn calories, but it can also speed up your resting metabolism. This is why you should try to incorporate both aerobic and anaerobic (resistance training) into your routine to help build muscle mass and lose weight.
  • Your stress levels are high. Stress management is important for everyone, and if you’re taking Ozempic, you’ll want to incorporate ways to do so. When you’re too stressed because of work or family obligations, it may not feel like exercising or eating healthy. And then neglecting this part of your routine leads to feelings of failure, stressing you out more. Try stress reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, journaling, or going for walks outside—and make it a part of your daily regimen.
  • You’re not getting good sleep. Sleep is important to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s time for your body to rest and recharge. If you’re getting less than six hours of sleep a night you can experience hormonal changes that cause cravings for unhealthy foods. Stress is one of the biggest contributors to lack of sleep, which is why incorporating ways to help your mind relax is essential if you want to get good rest.

Will you lose weight without lifestyle changes?

Although you may be tempted to just let the Ozempic help you take the weight off, you will lose substantially more (and keep it off) if you make lifestyle adjustments as well. Choosing to consume healthy foods that nourish your body is a great way to ensure you’re doing all you can to lose weight. Consider adding meal replacement protein shakes to your routine to make sure your body is still getting all the vitamins and minerals it needs. 

wonderslim meal shake
Consuming protein shakes daily is a great way to ensure your body is getting the fuel it needs. Image courtesy of Diet Direct.

We love the WonderSlim protein shakes because they have 15 grams of easy to digest calcium caseinate protein, which is really important when you’re starting your Ozempic routine. This is an easy way to get the protein your body needs, as well as 24 vitamins and minerals and just 100 calories. These single serving packets are perfect when you need something healthy, but are in a rush or aren’t sure when you’ll have a chance to sit down and cook a meal. Whether you use them as a snack, or a meal replacement, protein shakes are a great complement to your Ozempic routine.

Are there other benefits to Ozempic?

Ozempic (and Wegovy) are FDA approved medications that can help you reach your weight loss goals. However they can also:

  • Regulates blood sugar
  • Reduces your chances of being obese
  • Reduces the likelihood of a stroke
  • Decreases the chances you’ll develop heart disease

If your doctor feels Ozempic could be of benefit to you and help you lose weight, that’s great! Taking control of your health is important, and losing weight and keeping it off means you’re less likely to develop chronic diseases. Make sure you talk to your doctor to see if medication and lifestyle changes could help you reach your weight loss goals.