There’s been a lot of talk about the use of the prescription diabetes medication, semaglutide, for weight loss. Semaglutide is an FDA-approved GLP-1 medication that helps the body manage blood glucose levels. But what is a GLP-1 medication, how does semaglutide work to control both blood sugar and appetite, and just how effective (and safe) is it for weight loss? Read on to find out what you need to know.
GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) is a hormone produced by the body to stimulate insulin secretion and reduce glucagon secretion when blood glucose levels are elevated. This hormone also tells the central nervous, gastrointestinal, and endocrine systems that food is present and ready to be metabolized. This signal puts processes in motion that slow digestion and lead to a sense of satiation, or a feeling of being “full”. When the body is unable to produce enough GLP-1 naturally, a GLP-1 medication can help to supplement it.
For individuals who are struggling with their weight or with appetite control, semaglutide injections may be an appropriate and effective treatment.
How (and How Often) Is Semaglutide Administered?
Semaglutide is normally administered weekly by subcutaneous injection on the upper arm, abdomen, or thigh. An extremely fine, minimally invasive needle is used, which most patients report as being barely noticeable. Because semaglutide loses much of its effectiveness after 7 days, most treatment plans call for weekly dosing.
Side Effects of Semaglutide
Semaglutide has undergone extensive testing over a period of years, and there have been no serious safety concerns to date. This medication is considered very safe in most circumstances, and the benefits derived from it appear to clearly outweigh any potential risks. Most patients experience few side effects, but they can and do occur. These can include…
- Abdominal Discomfort
- Gas & Bloating
- Pain or Tenderness at the injection site
As with any medication, it’s important to have a discussion with your medical provider about medications and supplements that you’re currently taking, particularly those that might affect blood sugar levels. It’s also important to review any history of the following health conditions…
- Gallbladder disease
- Kidney problems
- Gastrointestinal disorders
If you have symptoms of high or low blood sugar while being treated with semaglutide, speak with your medical provider immediately.
Essential Tips for Achieving Weight Loss Success with Semaglutide
Semaglutide has been shown to be a remarkably effective treatment for weight loss. However, using it in combination with other weight loss strategies greatly improves both short-term results and long-term success. That’s why, at OVYVO, we integrate medical intervention with proven dietary and lifestyle modifications.
For best results, semaglutide treatments should be part of a comprehensive weight loss plan that incorporates the following strategies into your daily routine…
Cut Added Sugar from Your Diet
While semaglutide does help to manage blood sugar levels, you can maximize its overall effectiveness by minimizing the amount of added sugar you consume. Start with the obvious: cut back on soda and sugary beverages, put less (or no) sugar in your coffee or tea, and eat fewer sweets. But don’t forget about all the added sugar that’s hiding out in the grocery store aisles. Just check the labels for “added sugar”, and you might be surprised by what you find!
Add More (Lean) Protein to Your Diet
Keep your body satiated and energized throughout the day by including 20-30 grams of protein per meal. Foods packed with protein include…
- Lean Beef
- Chicken Breast
- Cottage Cheese
- Greek Yogurt
- Tree Nuts
Add More Fiber to Your Diet
We can’t say it enough: Eat more fiber! Fiber is essential for slowing the digestive process, managing blood sugar, helping you feel “full” longer, improving gut biome health, and (as a bonus) keeping you regular. Oh, and fiber can also help prevent colorectal cancer.
Adults should consume 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day. (Most adults in the U.S. get only about half that amount.) Fortunately, it’s not difficult to achieve this. Just one cup of beans can contain as much as 15 grams of fiber. Prefer something a little sweeter? A cup of raspberries provides 8 grams of fiber! A cup of instant oatmeal provides 5 grams.
Cut Fried & Fatty Foods
Fatty or greasy foods are already more difficult for your body to digest. With semaglutide, some patients report more discomfort or even nausea after consuming them. You don’t have to give them up, but you’ll feel better and see results faster when you cut back.
Increase Your Physical Activity
You don’t need a vigorous exercise routine to help you lose weight. But physical activity is an important component of any weight loss program. You can easily increase it by modifying your daily activities. See our article titled “12 Tips For Staying Active As Days Get Shorter & Colder” here for some great examples
Get Enough Quality Sleep
How much sleep you get, and how good it is, can have consequences for your weight and your overall health. Put simply, when you’re feeling tired, you’re more likely to expend less energy but consume more calories.