Understanding the Physiological Dynamics of Weight Loss

In recent years, drugs like Ozempic, Wegovy, Semaglutide, and other glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) prescription drugs have gained popularity for managing diabetes and their potential role in weight loss. While they have shown efficacy in aiding weight reduction, it’s crucial to recognize that these types of drugs should not be considered standalone weight loss solutions. For starters, they can be costly: without insurance, Ozempic’s average monthly cost is nearly $1,000. Also, it’s not uncommon for these medications to cause uncomfortable side effects like nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and stomach pain, and in rarer cases, more severe issues like stomach paralysis. GLP-1 medications also pose other shortcomings that make them less viable as long term solutions for sustained weight maintenance. Here we look at some of these shortcomings and discuss why a comprehensive, integrative approach to weight management is a more effective strategy for anyone who wants to lose weight, keep it off for the long-haul, and support whole body health.

Are you taking Ozempic, Wegovy, Semaglutide, or another GLP-1 medication? Our providers can support individuals who want to lose weight and are already taking a weight loss prescription drug. We take an integrative approach. Learn more about our 12-week comprehensive Weight Loss Program.

Shortcomings of GLP-1 Medications

infographic with list of 4 shortcomings of weight loss medications

Appetite Suppression and Energy Balance: One of the ways GLP-1 medications contribute to weight loss is by suppressing appetite. However, solely relying on appetite suppression may not address the root causes of weight gain. Sustainable weight loss involves understanding and addressing the complex interplay of factors such as dietary choices, physical activity, stress levels, mental health challenges, underlying health conditions, and metabolic rate.

Ozempic’s Primary Purpose – Diabetes Management: Ozempic, scientifically known as semaglutide, is primarily designed for the management of type 2 diabetes. It belongs to a class of medications called GLP-1 receptor agonists, which work by mimicking the action of a naturally occurring peptide hormone in the body. The focus of Ozempic is to regulate blood sugar levels, and its weight loss effects are secondary to its primary function.

Muscle Mass Preservation: While GLP-1 medications can lead to weight loss, it’s essential to distinguish between fat loss and muscle loss. Losing muscle mass – which is possible on these drugs –  can have negative implications for overall health and metabolism. A comprehensive weight loss strategy should include resistance training and a balanced diet to preserve lean muscle mass. This is why our weight loss program is co-led by our Functional Nutrition Provider who in addition to being a specialist in functional nutrition is also a certified personal trainer and functional fitness expert.

Individual Variability in Response: Not everyone responds to medications in the same way. Individual factors such as genetics, lifestyle, and underlying health conditions can influence how the body reacts to prescription drugs. Relying solely on medication without addressing individual variations may not yield optimal weight loss results for everyone. At Newbridge, we consider your full health history and how it could have an impact on your body’s ability to lose weight or respond to other medical interventions. We do this by viewing the process of weight loss from a functional medicine perspective.

Long-Term Sustainability: Weight loss is a long-term endeavor, and sustainability is a key factor. Using drugs like Ozempic or Wegovy alone, for example, may not instill the necessary lifestyle and behavioral changes required for maintaining weight loss over time. A holistic approach, encompassing dietary modifications, regular physical activity, and behavioral strategies, is crucial for long-term success. This is why our program offers you the opportunity to work with a dynamic weight loss team to address all areas: A Functional Nutrition Provider and Certified Personal Trainer, a Licensed Professional Counselor, and a Certified Health Coach, with supervision provided by our Functional Medicine expert and lead provider Stephanie Belseth, APRN. And unlike many weight loss clinics, we don’t just prescribe medication during a quick virtual appointment. Our program is 12 weeks, with the option to join a group or schedule 1-1 visits. Plus, you are given the choice of a hybrid program which gives you the opportunity to schedule some in-person visits with our providers, or a completely virtual program with telehealth visits. Either way, you’ll feel supported with frequent provider interactions.

The Value of an Integrative Weight Loss Program

While Ozempic, Wegovy, and other weight loss medications can be valuable tools for some individuals in promoting weight loss, these are not standalone solutions. A comprehensive approach that includes lifestyle modifications, proper nutrition, physical activity, and medical interventions when necessary is essential for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Individuals considering the use of GLP-1 medications for weight loss should explore a personalized weight management program that integrates different strategies and empowers them to not just experience immediate and short term weight loss, but also healthy weight and other positive outcomes in the long haul.

Are you ready to add other strategies to your weight loss plan that complement your medication? Newbridge can help. Call (612) 730-2237 to learn more about our Weight Loss Program and to enroll.