I started taking Semaglutide for weight loss on Sunday November 6th and over the past 10 weeks, I have lost 17 pounds and my body fat dropped 2% to 14.1%. In this blog, I will explain how I did it with tips that anyone can use to achieve your weight loss goals.
For anyone who isn’t familiar with Semaglutide, this is one of a new class of FDA-approved weight loss medications that work as GLP-1 receptor agonists (also known as Wegovy and Ozempic). Without getting into the details, one of the main effects is on the satiety center of the brain where it suppresses appetite and cravings. This is a treatment that targets the source of weight gain – eating excess calories.
From a patient’s perspective, the first thing you will notice is that you feel full sooner when eating a meal. I remember I was eating an Al Capone burger from Timberwood Tap House and halfway through the meal, I realized I was full and didn’t want to eat anymore. In one sitting, my caloric intake was immediately cut to half of what it would have been if I wasn’t taking Semaglutide.
Other effects you will soon notice is that you feel full for longer. That’s because Semaglutide will delay gastric emptying and bowel transit, so you can eat less often. Another major benefit is that you won’t get the dopamine rush associated with treats like ice cream and brownies (or in my case, Cheez-Its). I recently grabbed a large handful of Cheez-Its with the intention of consuming every one, only to put most back into the box after eating 2 small squares and realizing I was now ambivalent to the once cherished snack.
There is one disclaimer that bears mentioning: the primary side effect of Semaglutide is nausea. This is a misnomer though because feeling nausea means that the medication is working and your appetite will be suppressed. You want to have some nausea on the medication or it won’t be as effective. The good news is that most patients will feel mild nausea once or twice a week, it will last 5-10 minutes, then it will subside.
Another point to keep in mind is that most patients will not have any weight loss during the first 4-5 weeks as you become accustomed to the medication, prior to increasing your dose. All of my weight loss was during the last 6 weeks of the 10 week treatment.
The way to make Semaglutide effective is through diet modification. Since the primary mechanism is suppression of appetite, leveraging this is the primary way to lose weight. Here are tips that have been useful to me:
- Decrease portion size
- Reduce sugar and alcohol intake (Ketogenic diets are best)
- Narrow your eating window to 8 hours (aka intermittent fasting)
- Read food labels and pay attention to nutritional information
- Don’t wait until you are starving to eat (or you will overeat)
- Drink plenty of water
- Plan ahead (we list out dinners for the week and I bring lunch with me to work)
- If it’s not in the house, you can’t eat or drink it!
There’s no question that one of the main reasons I have been able to lose more than the average 11 pounds over 10 weeks is because I incorporated exercise into my daily routine. Every week, I have 4 weight-lifting sessions and 2 cardio sessions that look like this:
Day 1: Chest, back, biceps, triceps, shoulders (2 hours)
Day 2: Legs and abs (1 hour)
Day 3: Cardio (20-30 min jogging/cybex)
Day 4: Chest, back, biceps, triceps, shoulders (2 hours)
Day 5: Legs and abs (1 hour)
Day 6: Cardio (20-30 min jogging/cybex)
Day 7: Rest
The last major contributor to my weight loss was using motivation to help me stick to my diet and exercise plan. One primary motivator was that my son Tyler asked me to start working out with him about 3-4 months ago. I realized as I was showing him how to do exercises with correct form and effort, that I was cheating myself by not following the same advice during my own workouts. Another motivator was doing this for our patients so I could explain first-hand what it was like to take Semaglutide and how to make it effective. I thought that if I could be successful, that would help our patients be successful on their weight loss journey. This is why we now offer consultations with a nutritionist and memberships to ACAC as part of our weight loss strategies.
The final contributor to effective weight loss is having goals. Mine are simple:
- Lose more than 11 pounds over 10 weeks by incorporating diet and exercise
- Get a six pack
I’ve achieved the first goal and now I am working on the second goal. I will continue all of the above while on Semaglutide until I reach that goal, which I have been pursuing unsuccessfully for more than 8 years now. Except now I am confident I can reach that goal.
I’m not the only one who has had success with Semaglutide. We recently posted a patient testimonial on Instagram from a patient who lost 26.5 pounds in 8 months (32 weeks). And you can see an email from a patient a few days ago who lost as much as I did in 10 weeks.