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Health

Wegovy helped me lose 50 pounds. This is how I keep it

Dustin Gee before and after losing 50 pounds.Share on Pinterest
Dustin Gee has lost over 50 pounds since he started taking Wegovy in 2023. Images courtesy of Dustin Gee
  • After gaining 50 pounds, Dustin Gee sought help from his primary care doctor.
  • Gee started taking Wegovy in 2023 and lost over 50 pounds.
  • To maintain his weight loss and prepare to stop treatment, he participates in a behavioral lifestyle program.

In January 2023, Dustin Gee went for his annual check-up with his GP, concerned about the 50 kilos he had gained over the past three years. Standing 5 feet 8 inches tall, he weighed 225 pounds.

“It was the greatest I have ever experienced in my life. I was worried because during the pandemic and when I became a father of three children in foster care, I just knew that these stressors were kind of piling up,” he told Healthline.

His family history also worried him, as diabetes and obesity were on his mother’s side and heart problems were on his father’s side.

“I was borderline prediabetes and my doctor told me that if I didn’t make changes, I would most likely become diabetic within the next few years,” he said. “And a lot of men in my dad’s family died in their early to mid-40s from cardiovascular issues.”

Even though anti-obesity medications weren’t on her radar, Gee’s doctor suggested Wegovy as well as lifestyle changes.

He started taking Wegovy in February 2023, starting at the lowest dose and increasing the dose. He visited his doctor every month.

“At the maximum dose, I had few side effects, which allowed me to continue taking Wegovy,” Gee said.

During the first 9 months of treatment, he lost 45 pounds. However, in October 2023, he reached a plateau and stayed at the same weight for 6 weeks.

In January 2024, Gee began participating in the Mayo Clinic Diet, a supplemental program for those taking GLP-1 medications, in an effort to continue his weight loss and prepare for when he will no longer take Wegovy.

Since then, he has lost an additional 6 pounds, now weighing in at his goal weight of 175 pounds.

Studies show that once people stop taking semaglutide medications like Wegovy, they regain two-thirds of the weight they lost within a year. This is often called the “ozempic rebound.”

For many obesity doctors, like Dr. Daniela D. Hurtado Andrade, a physician-scientist at the Mayo Clinic, this proves the importance of continuing to take the medication.

Because obesity is a chronic, recurrent and incurable A disease that requires ongoing treatment, like any other disease, Hurtado said, once an anti-obesity medication is started, it is expected to be continued long-term or lifelong.

“To put things in perspective, we never question the duration of treatment for the treatment of diabetes and hypertension, for example. For these and all other chronic diseases, patients and society in general understand that without continued treatment, their disease will not be well controlled and will lead to complications,” Hurtado told Healthline. “This concept also applies to the treatment of obesity.”

She added that the root cause of obesity is complex and heterogeneous.

“Anti-obesity drugs target the biological basis of the disease because they target pathways that regulate energy balance, particularly energy intake,” Hurtado said.

People considering stopping their anti-obesity medications should not stop them abruptly, but rather decrease the dose to see if reducing the dose is a viable option to maintain some weight loss, said Dr. Rekha B . Kumar, associate professor of medicine at Cornell. and chief medical officer at Found.

She also suggests having a structured meal plan to manage increased appetite once the medication is reduced.

“I would encourage people to really confirm that they are confident in their ability to adhere to a behavioral routine that includes a low-calorie diet and exercise,” she told Healthline.

Kumar explained that GLP-1 drugs do not permanently change the body.

“Maintaining all the weight lost with medications is not realistic for most people who have metabolic health problems,” Kumar said. “If someone wants to stop taking medications, they can accept some weight gain if the metabolic biomarkers remain in an improved state.”

Besides people who want to stop taking GLP-1 medications, there are also those who are forced to stop. An analysis by Prime Therapeutics found that only 27% of people taking GLP-1 medications were still taking the medication a year later due to side effects or the cost of prescriptions.

Although Hurtado advises against stopping treatment, she noted that diet, exercise, and behavioral support should be offered to everyone throughout their weight loss journey.

“The needs will be different depending on what phase patients are in, for example, weight loss phase or weight loss maintenance phase,” she said.

To maintain his weight loss, Gee plans to participate in the Mayo Clinic Diet program for 6 months while he continues taking Wegovy, and for an additional 6 months after stopping treatment.

Tara Schmidt, MEd, RDN, LD, chief dietitian at Mayo Clinic Diet, said the program’s goal is to support people like Gee.

“Our program emphasizes a holistic approach to health, focusing not only on weight loss, but also on establishing long-term habits that can maintain your health throughout your life,” a- she told Healthline.

Although anti-obesity drugs suppress appetite, Schmidt said they don’t inherently instill healthy habits. The program provides advice on nutrition and lifestyle changes.

“This ensures that as individuals experience loss of appetite from medications, among other side effects, they simultaneously adopt a healthier lifestyle, which is essential for long-term well-being and weight management,” she said.

Through a digital platform, the program offers webinars, meal plans, exercise programs and financial incentives.

“I’m trying to develop the lifestyle habits that I know I need to start doing and maintaining, because once I stop taking the medication, the biggest fear is starting it again… going back to what I pushed me to do it. to over 50 pounds in January 2023,” Gee said.

During his weight loss journey, he discovered the need to improve his knowledge about healthy food choices and how to adopt healthy eating habits. He also became aware of his propensity to eat emotionally.

“There was this compilation effect of these things that kept happening, and as a result, I kind of got lost,” Gee said. “I think (that’s true) for a lot of parents in their late 30s or 40s… when you have kids, it’s less about you and more about your family… but I realized that I don’t couldn’t be fully present for my family. if I don’t take care of myself and sacrifice my health through poor food choices and inactivity.

While doctors like Hurtado continue to stress the importance of prescribing anti-obesity medications to people living with obesity or overweight with health complications, the idea that taking these medications is a silver bullet continues to exist.

Gee initially imposed this stigma on himself. However, when his doctor explained to him that the weight loss caused by medication could serve as inspiration for lifestyle changes, he saw the value.

“Before meeting my doctor in 2023, I said to myself: this is how I am. I’m in my 30s, I’m a dad, I have a dad body, and I need to be comfortable with that because I’m never going back to where I was when I was 25. Gee said.

However, he admitted his weight carried a risk of serious health complications and was motivated to make changes.

“You don’t have to accept where you are today. GLP-1 medications combined with an excellent health, nutrition and lifestyle program can help you achieve this,” he said. “Seeing the first signs of progress can be incredibly motivating, but in doing so, you also need to commit to making changes. »

News Source : www.healthline.com
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