Have you recently asked yourself, “Why am I not losing weight on Ozempic?” The weight loss journey can be an arduous and exhausting one, especially if you’ve been trying to lose weight without success for a long time. But hearing the science-backed success stories associated with semaglutide (brand name, Ozempic or Wegovy) has given individuals suffering from obesity or other weight-related diseases new hope. Semaglutide injections have helped many people shed pounds more quickly, yet they’re not equally effective for everyone.
Why not? The reasons are varied and impacted by many different factors.
The bottom line is that if you’ve been prescribed semaglutide for weight loss but aren’t yet seeing the results you’d hoped for, you’re not alone. Also, the reality of the situation might not be as discouraging as it feels.
Keep in mind that social media posts and videos that make Ozempic out to be a miracle drug only tell part of the story. While it’s true that Ozempic can promote healthy weight loss, it’s equally true that any weight loss journey is long, multi-faceted, and fraught with many challenges.
Below, we’ll review how Ozempic works in both diabetics and non-diabetics for weight loss and explore some of the reasons why you might not be losing as much weight as you’d expected—plus provide some potential solutions.
As always, bear in mind that the information provided on this website doesn’t constitute medical advice and is meant to enhance, not replace, a conversation with your primary healthcare provider.
What Is Ozempic?
Ozempic is a brand-name drug manufactured by Novo Nordisk in Denmark. Novo Nordisk also produces Wegovy. The active ingredient in both medications is semaglutide, but their doses differ. Ozempic (0.5 mg to 2 mg) is FDA-approved as a treatment for adults with Type 2 Diabetes. It regulates blood sugar and reduces the risk of serious cardiovascular events. Wegovy (2.4 mg), on the other hand, has been approved as a weight loss drug.
Ozempic is an injectable medication that comes in prefilled, single-patient pens and is injected once weekly under the skin of the abdomen, upper arm, or thigh. Each pen typically contains enough medication for four doses. Your doctor will begin Ozempic treatment at a low (non-therapeutic) dose and increase it gradually over a series of weeks. This approach allows your body to adjust to Ozempic and reduces side effects.
How Ozempic Works for Weight Loss?
Semaglutide (the active ingredient in Ozempic and Wegovy) is known as a GLP-1 receptor agonist. Receptor agonists are a class of medications that mimic the hormones naturally produced by your intestines during digestion—in this case, glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP 1)—and thus stimulate various body systems to react as if digestion is underway. In addition, Ozempic actually slows down the rate at which food is emptied from your stomach into your small intestine (known as gastric emptying) and the digestive process as a whole.
Think of it this way: When your body believes that digestion is occurring, you don’t feel hungry. Your brain tells your body systems that your hunger is satiated, while slow digestion ensures that you’ll feel fuller for longer. Human-made semaglutide may imitate your natural hormones, but it doesn’t break down as quickly, meaning that a single Ozempic injection can impact your hunger and cravings for a full week at a time.
As your body adjusts to Ozempic, you will naturally be able to reduce your food intake without feeling hungry all the time. But semaglutide doesn’t work in isolation, and weekly injections are only one part of the equation. The other part? Healthy lifestyle shifts. To truly experience the full potential of Ozempic, you’ll need to complement it with exercise and dietary changes.
How much weight loss should you expect when taking semaglutide? While every individual situation is dependent on a range of factors that include genetics, medical history, lifestyle, dosage, and more, semaglutide clinical trials have been encouraging. On average, patients with Type 2 Diabetes who took a 2.4 mg weekly dose of semaglutide over a period of 68 weeks lost 10% of their body weight. In another similar trial, patients without Type 2 Diabetes lost an average of 14.9% of their body weight in the same time frame. Both studies also involved lifestyle change interventions.
Why You’re Not Losing Weight With Ozempic?
You’ve been prescribed semaglutide (Ozempic or Wevogy) for weight loss, but you’re disappointed with the results so far. What could be going on?
Weight Loss Takes Time
Weight loss occurs over time, and so does weight gain. Semaglutide’s clinical trials took place over 68 weeks (nearly 16 months), and even if you’re able to exactly recreate their outcomes for yourself, you’d still only lose 10-15% of your body weight in that time period.
To put things in perspective, let’s say your starting weight is 200 lbs. If you hope to lose 15% of your body weight, that comes to a total of 30 lbs. Guess what? That’s just an average of 1.9 lbs. per month. Though the weight loss process will have its ups and downs, it’s ultimately more of a marathon than a sprint.
Don’t get discouraged, and remember that incremental losses will move you in the right direction over time.
You Haven’t Removed Harmful Foods From Your Diet
Weight loss medications are not an antidote to a poor diet, and injecting Ozempic every week won’t cancel out unhealthy choices and excess calorie intake. Avoid processed foods and sugary carbohydrates. Focus on a balanced diet and remember to stay hydrated. The fundamentals of healthy eating remain the same whether or not you’re taking semaglutide.
Discuss dietary changes that will support healthy weight loss with your team of healthcare professionals.
You’re Living a Sedentary Lifestyle
Just as semaglutide can’t negate an unhealthy diet, it also can’t mask the negative impacts of poor exercise habits. Healthy lifestyle changes take hard work and dedication (and, yes, you have to sweat), but they’re essential to kickstart your weight loss journey. The potential impact of semaglutide is dramatically reduced when you don’t move your body on a regular basis.
Consistent exercise doesn’t have to mean spending all your time at the gym. It can be as simple as prioritizing a daily walk with friends, joining a recreational sports team, or taking a yoga class. You don’t have to go from zero to one hundred, but you do need to tackle a realistic plan of action.
Why Am I Gaining Weight on Ozempic?
Not losing weight is frustrating enough, but if you are actually gaining weight on Ozempic, you’re probably feeling seriously disappointed. What could be the cause?
You’re Gaining Muscle Mass
Muscle is denser than fat. This means that when you’re consistently working out (which you should be if you’re trying to lose weight), you may be building muscle tissue that weighs more per cubic unit than fat. If this is the case, you’ve got nothing to worry about. Try to focus less on the number on the scale and instead focus on how your clothes are fitting and how your body is feeling.
You’re Actually Eating More
While it might seem counterintuitive, you may actually be consuming more calories than you were before. Semaglutide works best in conjunction with a healthy, calorie-deficit diet, and that kind of diet requires careful planning and management. Eating smaller quantities of higher-calorie foods doesn’t do the trick, nor does snacking throughout the day without being accountable for what’s going into your body.
If you are gaining weight while taking Ozempic and you suspect it may be related to your diet habits, seek out support from a nutritionist, health coach, or healthcare provider who can help you to build healthy habits.
You Haven’t Reached a Dose That Will Suppress Your Appetite
When you first start taking semaglutide, you’ll start with a non-therapeutic dosage (usually 0.25 mg) and gradually build up your body’s tolerance to the drug over a period of weeks. So, if you’re right at the beginning of your Ozempic journey, chances are that you’ll notice more results once your dosage is increased over time. Remember that the tapered start actually helps you to avoid uncomfortable side effects.
You Have an Undiagnosed Condition
Medical conditions ranging from thyroid or hormonal imbalances to metabolic diseases or even mental health issues can impact your ability to lose weight. If you suspect that underlying health conditions may be at the core of your weight loss challenges, speak with your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
While Ozempic can promote healthy weight loss, there are many reasons why you may not immediately be shedding extra pounds on the drug. Significant weight loss is a long-term goal that must be achieved sustainably over time. It’s also a personal process that’s impacted by your own unique chemistry, genetics, medical history, lifestyle, and more.
Ozempic or Wegovy (semaglutide) can help to suppress your appetite and make it easier to consume fewer calories in a day, but healthy lifestyle shifts are also a major part of the equation. Ultimately, only you and your doctor can decide together whether or not semaglutide is the right medication to help you attain your weight loss goals.
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