What to consider before starting weight loss medications

Thinking of starting Ozempic or another weight loss medication? Review some key factors to consider beforehand to ensure a safe and effective journey towards your weight loss goals.

Understanding the purpose of weight loss medications

Before starting weight loss medications, it is important to understand their purpose. These medications are designed to assist individuals in losing weight by suppressing appetite, increasing metabolism, or blocking the absorption of fat. Understanding how these medications work can help you make an informed decision about whether or not they are the right choice for you.

It is important to note that weight loss medications should not be seen as a substitute for healthy lifestyle habits. They should be used in conjunction with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and behavior changes to achieve long-term weight loss goals.

Assessing potential side effects and risks

Like any medication, weight loss medications come with potential side effects and risks that need to be carefully considered. Common side effects may include nausea, diarrhea, constipation, headache, dry mouth, and insomnia. It is important to discuss these potential side effects with your healthcare professional and weigh them against the potential benefits of the medication.

In addition to side effects, there may be certain risks associated with weight loss medications. Some medications may interact with other medications you are taking or with existing health conditions you may have. It is crucial to disclose your full medical history and current medications to your healthcare professional to ensure that the weight loss medication is safe for you.

Consulting with a healthcare professional

Before starting any weight loss medication, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional. They will be able to evaluate your individual circumstances, assess your overall health, and determine if weight loss medication is appropriate for you. They can also provide guidance on the right medication, dosage, and duration of treatment.

Are weight loss medications a permanent solution?

It's important to note that once you stop doing what you're doing to lose weight, you will start gaining weight again. This is especially true for weight loss medications. While they can be effective in jumpstarting your weight loss, they should be viewed as a complementary tool rather than a long-term solution. The reason is simple: they might help you shed weight initially, but without lasting lifestyle changes, the lost weight will quickly creep back on once you stop taking the medication.

Medical weight loss expert Dr. Jamy Ard says, "[Obesity] is a chronic disease that requires long-term treatment. If you stop the treatment, the probability is that you will start to see a regain of weight." For sustainable weight management, it's crucial to adopt healthy habits, such as balanced eating and regular physical activity, that you can maintain over time. In this way, you'll be better equipped to keep those pounds off, without relying solely on temporary solutions that can lead to frustrating cycles of weight loss and gain.

The classic weight loss fallacy

You may be thinking, "I'll get down to my goal weight using Ozempic, and THEN I'll make the lifestyle changes to keep it off!"

It sounds like a good plan, but it is a plan that sets you up for failure. Rarely do people follow through with this in practice. It is more likely that you will regain weight before you establish the sustainable habits necessary to maintain weight loss. Lifestyle changes don't happen overnight; it's a process that can take weeks, months, or even years. If you choose to take a weight loss medication, it is best to do so while also making changes in your diet and physical activity.

Key takeaways

Weight loss medications are typically not meant to be taken indefinitely. They are usually prescribed for a specific duration and may be discontinued if they are no longer producing the desired results or if there are concerns about their long-term use. Your weight loss plan should always include creating healthy habits and making lifestyle changes that you can sustain for the long-term. 


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