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How to Maintain a Healthy Weight After Ozempic

By Skye Sherman  •   June 4, 2024

How to Maintain a Healthy Weight After Ozempic

If you haven’t heard of Ozempic by now, you’ve probably been living under a rock. Ozempic, or semaglutide, is a medication originally designed to manage type 2 diabetes, but it has gained popularity for its off-label use in weight management and weight loss.

Ozempic works by mimicking the GLP-1 hormone, which helps regulate appetite and food intake, and can lead to rapid weight loss. It can also control what type of food people crave. Mounjaro (tirzepatide) is another popular GLP-1 drug, as is Wegovy, which gained FDA approval for chronic weight management for clinical obesity.

Boston Direct Health explains, “Ozempic is designed to react to increases in your blood sugar by helping your body release its own insulin and helps prevent your liver from creating and releasing excess sugar. Incidentally, it also delays how fast food leaves your stomach, blocking your hunger signals and making you feel full longer. When you’re not feeling hungry, you’re far less likely to eat, hence why it’s become such a popular weight loss drug.”

If you’re not on it yourself, chances are good that you know someone who is, and you’ve definitely heard of the celebrities who are. It’s all the rage in Hollywood and even some biohacking and health circles. What could be better than a weekly injection that will help you dwindle down to your ideal weight?

While many people do experience significant weight loss while taking Ozempic, maintaining this weight loss after stopping Ozempic can be challenging, a phenomenon often referred to as “Ozempic rebound” or the “Mounjaro plateau.” Rebounding weight isn’t unique to Ozempic, but it’s still an important factor to consider.

In this article, we’ll explore this phenomenon and discuss how to maintain a healthy weight post-Ozempic.

Do people gain weight when they stop Ozempic? The Ozempic rebound or Mounjaro plateau

While almost everyone has heard of Ozempic, not as many people have heard of the Ozempic rebound. Essentially, this is the tendency for some individuals to regain weight after stopping the medication.

In fact, according to NewsNation, “patients taking drugs like Ozempic for weight loss will, on average, gain back two-thirds of the weight they lose once they stop taking the drug.”

The rebound effect occurs because Ozempic helps regulate appetite and slow gastric emptying, which reduces calorie intake and promotes a feeling of fullness, but when a person stops taking Ozempic, these effects are gone, and it’s very easy to revert to old eating habits and gain weight. In other words, the medication only works while you’re taking it.

CNBC further reports, “available data suggests most individuals will recover most of their weight within five years of stopping an obesity drug, and roughly 50% of their weight after two to three years. Some individuals may actually gain more weight after stopping an obesity drug than they initially lost.”

The Mounjaro plateau is different but similar. When people take Mounjaro, there’s a point at which weight loss stalls, even if the person didn’t stop taking the medication. This can obviously be frustrating and may lead people to discontinue use, potentially resulting in weight regain.

What do celebrities, real people, and experts think of Ozempic?

Take a look at any red carpet in Hollywood and you’ll notice that the stars seem to be getting skinnier in recent years. While many A-listers are hush-hush about their weight loss medication usage, some celebrities are quite open about it.

Comedian Chelsea Handler and reality star Simon Huck have openly discussed their use of GLP-1 medications like Ozempic for weight management. Handler has emphasized the importance of combining medication with a healthy lifestyle, including diet and exercise, to sustain weight loss. Even billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk sings the praises of these weight loss drugs!

But did you know that the drug manufacturer actually does not condone the use of weight loss drugs by people who are not obese or diabetic? According to the Daily Mail, “The use of weight-loss drugs in Hollywood has become so rife that Eli Lilly - the maker of Ozempic’s rival drug Mounjaro - released an advert this month asking people to stop using the drug for vanity.”

Celebrity and real-life stories alike often reflect a mix of triumphs and struggles. Some people find that the lifestyle changes they implement while on Ozempic, like healthier eating habits and regular physical activity, help maintain their weight even after stopping the medication, but others struggle with increased hunger and weight regain once the medication is discontinued.

Overall, it’s important to take a comprehensive approach to weight management. It might seem like it, but Ozempic isn’t a one-size-fits-all magic bullet. These medications should be part of a broader, long-term strategy that includes dietary changes, physical activity, and behavioral modifications.

How to maintain a healthy weight post-Ozempic

Wondering how to maintain your weight loss even after Ozempic?

One of the only ways to mitigate the rebound effect is to maintain the healthy habits learned and adopted while on the drug. Those who continue to engage in healthy lifestyle behaviors (like monitoring food intake and engaging in regular physical activity) after stopping Ozempic are more likely to maintain their weight loss. It can also be helpful to seek the support of a doctor.

There are also more strategies you can implement to maintain a healthy weight post-Ozempic:

1. Adopt a balanced diet: Focus on a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Avoid processed foods and sugary beverages, which can contribute to weight gain. Eating smaller, more frequent meals can help regulate hunger and prevent overeating.

2. Exercise regularly: Incorporate a mix of aerobic exercises (such as walking, running, and cycling) and strength training (like weight lifting and resistance exercises) into your routine. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.

3. Change your eating behavior: Mindfulness, including mindful eating practices like paying attention to hunger cues and eating slowly, can help prevent overeating. Keeping a food diary or using a mobile app to track food intake and physical activity can also be beneficial to some people.

4. Seek professional support: Regular consultations with a healthcare provider, dietitian, or weight management specialist can provide guidance and accountability. Support groups can also offer encouragement, whether in-person or online.

5. Optimize sleep hygiene: According to the National Library of Medicine, “shorter sleep duration and erratic sleep behavior itself have been linked with higher incidence of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and Type 2 diabetes mellitus.” To optimize for sustainable, long-term health rather than rapid weight loss, make sure your sleep hygiene is in tip-top shape. To improve your sleep hygiene, consider steps like cutting out caffeine (at least past morning), avoiding screens a few hours before bed, and winding down with a cup of chamomile tea and a good book or simple, calming hobby like crocheting or puzzles. Also, sleep in a pitch-black room and try mouth tape if you’re an open-mouth sleeper. Better sleep health contributes to better all-around health.

6. Consider adjusting your medications: A healthcare provider may recommend continuing a lower dose of Ozempic or switching to another medication to help maintain weight loss. Of course, changes or adjustments to prescription medications should be only done under medical supervision.

7. Lower your stress level: Chronic stress can lead to emotional eating and weight gain. Practice stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in hobbies that bring joy and relaxation.

8. Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help control hunger and prevent overeating. Sometimes, thirst is mistaken for hunger, so make sure you’re drinking plenty of water!

If you decide to discontinue Ozempic, realize the potential for rebound weight gain. You may not be able to control how many pounds you put back on, but you can adopt proactive measures and lifestyle changes to ensure long-term success.

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Disclaimer:

The purpose of the above content is to raise awareness only and does not advocate treatment or diagnosis. This information should not be substituted for your physician's consultation and it should not indicate that use of the drug is safe and suitable for you or your (pet). Seek professional medical advice and treatment if you have any questions or concerns.
 
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