Life After Ozempic: How to Maintain Weight and Go Natural

Ozempic is part of a class of medications called GLP-1 agonists that treat diabetes. Ozempic (and similar medications) have been notably popular in recent years thanks to one of its side effects: dramatic weight loss.

It is not uncommon for patients to lose up to five pounds in a month! But spoiler: If you stop taking Ozempic, it can be incredibly difficult to maintain your weight loss. Here you will find everything you need to know about life after Ozempic and the supplements and lifestyle habits that can help you keep off weight.

A little over a year ago, semaglutide medications like Ozempic and Wegovy were virtually unknown outside of the medical and diabetes communities. But thanks to celebrities like Elon Musk and Dolores Catania Endorsing the drug as a quick weight loss tool, you would now be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard of semaglutide. In fact, Ozempic and Wegovy gained so much popularity in early 2023 that patients found it difficult to access the medication. And almost a year later, it’s still on the market. US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Drug Shortage List.

Originally developed to treat type two diabetes, semaglutide may help people eat less without feeling hungry, resulting in quite considerable weight loss, says nurse and dietitian Brittany Brothers, APN-BC, RDN, CDCES, founder of Oceanic Medical Nutrition. More than two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese, and 67% of the obese have Trying to lose weight—something that is notoriously difficult to do. So it’s no surprise that so many people are intrigued by a drug that can facilitate weight loss.

Weight control with a healthy lifestyle

But have you ever thought about what happens to patients long after their eye-catching Ozempic before and after photos are posted online? Or what happens if they stop taking Ozempic because they can no longer access it or simply don’t want to take it anymore? Do they regain all the weight quickly? Are there steps they can take to maintain their weight loss? Can supplements like berberine (which has been promoted on social media as “nature’s Ozempic”) help maintain weight loss or lead to further weight loss? The best well-being Answer these questions and more below.

How Ozempic works to lose weight

Ozempic is part of a class of medications called GLP-1 agonists, which are used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes to help reduce blood sugar levels. Overweight and obese adults who also have a weight-related condition (such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol) The medication may also be prescribed. for weight control. However, in recent years, many people who do not meet this criteria began taking the drug “off-label” for weight loss, according to Trilliant Health. report.

Administered by injection under the skin, Ozempic mimics a natural hormone called GLP-1 that is released after eating. This causes the pancreas to release insulin, which reduces the amount of blood sugar circulating in the body, explains Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, founder of the Manhattan-based dietetics practice. real nutrition. “As a result, blood sugar levels stabilize and food moves from the stomach to the small intestine more slowly. Both things help increase the feeling of satiety and, as a side effect, you lose weight.”

Studies that have specifically looked at the impact of Ozempic on weight loss in people without diabetes show promising results. One New England Journal of Medicine One study found that weekly semaglutide injections can help people lose nearly 15% of their body weight (an average of about 34 pounds) over a 16-month period when combined with diet and exercise. Other investigations has similar findings: Participants lost about 16% of their body weight, while those in a placebo group not taking Ozempic only lost 5.7%.

What happens when you stop taking Ozempic?

According to Shapiro, here are some things patients may experience after stopping taking Ozempic or other GLP-1 agonists:

A supercharged appetite

Ozempic causes food to move slowly through the body, which decreases appetite. But once the medication is stopped, the speed of digestion speeds up again, causing hunger to return with a vengeance.

Weight gain

According investigation, within a year of stopping semaglutide, most patients regain almost all of the weight they lost. “You’ll likely regain the weight since your brain will no longer be tricked into thinking you’re full,” Shapiro explains. “In addition, it may be more difficult to choose healthy foods when facing hunger, especially if eating habits have not been improved while taking Ozempic.”

An increase in blood sugar

If you have type 2 diabetes, your blood sugar will likely go back up after you stop taking Ozempic. Certain lifestyle changes can help control this, including regular exercise and following a low-carbohydrate diet, Shapiro notes.

Life after ozempic blood sugar.

No more negative side effects

There is some positive news! Nausea, vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea, some of the most unpleasant side effects of Ozempic, should go away after stopping the weight-loss drug.

Life After Ozempic: Supplements and Lifestyle Changes to Maintain Weight Loss

While it is unlikely that you will be able to keep all the weight off after stopping Ozempic, certain lifestyle habits and supplements may contribute to maintaining weight loss. Here’s a closer look at some things you might want to consider.

Berberine supplements

Videos about berberine (also known as “Nature’s Ozempic”) have been viewed more than 114 million times on TikTok, and countless creators claim it has helped them lose weight. But the compound, which can be found in the roots and bark of a variety of plants, is far from new. Is Has been used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine to help with various conditions.

While there is limited human research on berberine’s impact on weight, experts say it may promote modest weight loss (about 2 to 4 pounds per month) by balancing blood sugar levels and reducing blood sugar levels. cholesterol, explains Shapiro. “Berberine also inhibits lipoprotein lipase in the body, which promotes fat storage,” explains Shapiro. “When we have lower blood sugar levels and don’t store fat, we burn it for energy, which can help with weight loss.”

While Brothers agrees that there isn’t enough research to definitively recommend berberine for weight loss or maintenance, he says the success some TikTokers are having with the supplement may have something to do with GLP-1. “Some studies suggest that berberine promotes GLP-1 secretion. Increased GLP-1 secretion can lead to weight loss through delayed gastric emptying and improved glucose metabolism, both of which can increase feelings of satiety, so you don’t need to eat as much to feel full. .

The best of Berberine

If you want to add a berberine supplement to your routine, check with your healthcare provider first. Berberine isn’t right for everyone and has multiple known drug interactions, so you’ll definitely want to get the nod.

Maintain muscle mass

When it comes to weight maintenance, maintaining or increasing muscle mass is key, says Shapiro. “When you lose weight quickly, you lose muscle mass, which causes your metabolism to slow down. “That means you burn fewer calories at rest, which makes it harder to lose additional weight or maintain weight loss.”

Building some muscle can help counteract all of that. “I recommend all my clients begin a weight training regimen if they decide to take Ozempic, and maintaining a weight training routine is equally important when they stop taking it.”

Adding protein to your diet can also help maintain muscle mass. Active adults should consume between 1.2 and 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. That means a 150-pound person should eat between 82 and 136 grams a day, Shapiro says. Foods like chicken, tofu, grass-fed beef, eggs, fish, and protein powder are good, lean sources of this nutrient.

Core Strength Protein Powder

Limit starchy carbohydrates

It may also be helpful to eat plenty of vegetables and limit servings of starchy carbohydrates, such as rice, bread, and potatoes. “Larger portions of these types of foods can increase blood sugar levels and cause insulin spikes, and the body stores fat when insulin levels are high,” says Shapiro.

“When eating carbohydrates, choose whole-grain, high-fiber options and limit your portion to about 1/4 of your plate. It is also important to combine carbohydrates with proteins or fats to slow digestion and prevent blood sugar spikes.”

Shapiro also recommends limiting overly processed foods, which do not promote weight loss or maintenance.

Prioritize sleep

You already know that quitting Ozempic can increase your appetite, but did you know that not getting enough sleep can have the same effect? “When you don’t get enough sleep, hormone levels related to hunger and satiety can be affected,” explains Brothers.

If you generally have trouble registering enough ZZZs or sleeping through the night, there are a few things you can try. To start, try to get at least two hours of natural light every day. “This will help keep your circadian rhythm healthy and may help you sleep more soundly,” explains Brothers. “You can also try going to bed and waking up at around the same time every day, even on weekends – again, this is something that can help with your circadian rhythm.”

Food to go?

Ozempic before and after pictures have inspired countless people to turn to the drug for dramatic weight loss results. However, maintaining weight loss after stopping the medication can be extremely difficult.

The good news? There are habits you can implement into your weekly routine and supplements you can take that can help minimize recovery.

Always consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or supplement routine.

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