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What Happens When You Stop Taking Wegovy?

Main image courtesy of Pharmaceutical Technology.

One of the toughest resolutions people find to follow through with is to lose weight. There are a variety of reasons why you may be overweight, but the benefits of getting back to a healthy weight are shown to improve your overall health. Making this type of commitment will take hard work, but when you ask anyone who has lost weight, they always say it’s worth it. Not only will you feel better, but you’re decreasing your risk of developing some serious chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, and putting less strain on your bones and muscles. 

If you and your doctor agree losing weight could benefit you, perhaps you’ve also discussed the variety of weight loss medications that are available. If you’ve considered taking Wegovy and want to learn more, you’ve come to the right place. Today we’re delving deeper into:

  • Reasons Wegovy may be right for you
  • What happens if you decide to stop taking Wegovy
  • Healthy tips to follow when you’re taking Wegovy

Why you might want to start taking Wegovy 

Weight loss medications are very popular right now, and they seem to help a lot of people lose weight

Talk to your doctor to see if Wegovy could help you lose weight. Image courtesy of Novo Care.

Wegovy is a prescription medication that was approved by the FDA for weight loss in 2021. It is made by the same company that created Ozempic (which helps diabetics manage their blood sugar) and both medications are a semaglutide. This means that they mimic the hormone GLP-1, which controls your appetite and feelings of fullness. These drugs work to decrease your appetite so you find that you’re fuller with smaller meals and do not have the urge to snack or have cravings as much. Wegovy works to slow how fast your stomach empties into your digestive tract. This ensures you feel less hungry throughout the day, and your feelings of fullness last longer.

People with a BMI of 30 or greater are considered overweight or obese, and this is who these drugs are designed to help. Lots of folks across the country are dealing with obesity, as much as 70% of adults. Obesity greatly increases the chances of developing detrimental, chronic conditions, which is why helping more people lose weight is a good idea from a public health standpoint. 

What expect when you’re taking Wegovy

If you and your doctor decide that starting Wegovy is right for you, they’ll first start you out on a low dose. You’ll need to inject yourself with the medication weekly, and always follow the dosing instructions of your doctor. You’re starting low for a reason, as it allows your body to adjust to the medication. You may also start to experience side effects that could include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Constipation
  • Headache

These side effects usually decrease the longer you’ve been taking Wegovy, although in some instances they don’t seem to taper off. Your doctor will slowly raise your dosage until you’re at the amount that should trigger your weight loss, and this process can take weeks or months, as everyone responds differently. 

What happens when you stop taking Wegovy?

Can you keep the weight off after stopping a semaglutide?

Do you need to take Wegovy indefinitely in order to keep the weight off? Image courtesy of American Psychological Association.

Wegovy is designed for long term use, and those who continue to take it see not only the weight come off, but they find it easier to manage a healthy weight going forward. Obesity is a chronic disease, which means it needs ongoing treatment if you want to see results that will last for a lifetime. Most folks intend to be on Wegovy for the long term, but sometimes people need to stop taking it. There are a few reasons why you may need to stop taking Wegovy such as the cost becoming prohibitive, your side effects haven’t subsided, or because there is a shortage of the drug and you can’t get your recommended doses. So what can happen if you need to stop your Wegovy treatments?

Unfortunately the most common occurrence after ceasing a weight loss medication is you can expect to gain some, if not all, of the weight back. A study followed a group of people who stopped taking the medication and the participants gained back around ⅔ of the weight they lost while on Wegovy. This is not unique to just Wegovy, in fact if you stop taking any weight loss medication, you can expect to gain back at least some of the weight. 

Stopping Wegovy can lead to an increase in appetite, since this is exactly what the medication targets while you’re taking it. An increased appetite leads to more food consumption and more calories during the day. Even if you are exercising the same and watching what you eat, you’re likely still eating more calories than you were while on Wegovy. This explains why most of the weight comes back. 

If you want to see weight loss results that are long term, you need to consider the fact that you’ll need to take this medication for years to come. If you do stop taking Wegovy, you can expect it to gradually come out of your system over a period of a few weeks. You do not need to wean yourself off of it, and can stop taking it as soon as you need to.

However, if you do decide to stop taking Wegovy, there are ways to maintain your weight.

  • Try another weight loss medication. Wegovy isn’t the only drug approved for weight loss, so if you had to stop taking it because the side effects were problematic, or your insurance didn’t cover it, consider other options. You can discuss with your doctor about the possibility of taking Saxenda or Mounjaro.
  • Keep watching your diet. One of the tried and true methods of weight loss is ensuring you’re eating a healthy, balanced diet. This means including lots of different foods in your daily routine, including fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains. You need to consistently do this in order to have a good chance at preventing the weight from returning. Lots of folks who aren’t on weight loss medication add more protein or fiber to their diets so they stay fuller for longer periods of time, and consume less calories. Including these foods will keep your hunger pangs away when your appetite returns.
  • Maintain your exercise regimen. The other side to that coin is keeping up with daily physical activity. Chances are while you were on Wegovy, your doctor advised you to maintain an exercise regimen in order to see the best weight loss results. You should keep this up after you’re off Wegovy as well, and include a mix of cardio and strength training exercises to stay in shape.
  • Ensure you’re sleeping properly. Sleep is often forgotten about when we’re discussing ways to keep the weight off, but it’s very important. Your body needs to rest and repair itself after the day, and your brain needs appropriate time to recharge and prepare for the next day. When you aren’t sleeping right, you may not feel at your best during the day and can make poorer diet choices.