Many of you have read in our most recent newsletter that Beautiful You Med Spa is now offering Semaglutide, the glucagon-like peptide -1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist used for weight loss, which is a compounded version of Ozempic. There has been a lot of buzz in the news this last year about these types of medications. You may recognize other names that have similar functions to Semaglutide such as Wegovy, Mounjaro, and now Zepbound, which has recently been approved by the FDA specifically as a weight loss medication. The one thing that all these medications have in common is that they DO help people lose stubborn weight that they have been struggling with for years.

While we would like to believe that most of us have the willpower to lose weight on our own by cutting calories and increasing physical exercise, the facts are, so many people struggle with weight loss that obesity is currently at an all-time high around the world. But let’s talk specifically about the United States. In an article published in the scholarly journal, Nutrients (National Library of Medicine in 2022 by Temple et al.), it states that the cause of the current obesity epidemic is related to changes in the American diet. There is little association with changes in the intake of fat and carbohydrate, but rather the opinion is that the factor most closely linked to the obesity epidemic is ultra-processed foods. This means foods that have a high content of calories, salt, sugar, and fat but with very little whole ingredients. The article reported that the prevalence of obesity in American adults (age 20-74, both genders) rose from 15.0% in 1976-1980, to 23.3% in 1988-1994, and to 30.9% in 1999-2000 with a continual increase in both genders from 1999-2016.

Because of these numbers, obesity is considered an epidemic in the United States. A healthy weight using the body mass index (BMI) calculation is defined as 18.5 – 24.9. Overweight is 25.0-29.9 and obesity is defined as a BMI of 30.0 or higher with morbidly obese defined as 40.0 and higher. The main problem with excessive body fat is the increased risks of serious health issues that it incurs, such as cardiovascular, pulmonary, and diseases related to inflammation, of which there are many. Although there are a few tools to measure body fat, the BMI calculator is the easiest to access for most health practitioners and lay people alike.

Many people can relate to this overweight and obesity label, including me. I had tried many “diets” in the past including HCG, phentermine, vegan, vegetarian, intermittent fasting, increasing exercise, Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers, and Optavia. They all have their place, and for people who have lost weight and kept it off, kudos to them!! Apparently, I wasn’t one of them. In February of 2023, I began using the Semaglutide protocol for weight loss. I was weighing in at 185 lbs. when I started and being 5’7”, that put me just below the obesity number I talked about above. During the first two months, I only noticed a couple pounds of weight loss, although I did eat far less food than I had been, which told me I was bound to lose more weight if I just stuck to it. About the third month is when I started to see a significant decrease in weight. It was slow and steady, which is really good because it takes months and years for us to put weight on, generally speaking. We don’t want to lose it too fast because 1) it is not realistic and 2) often doesn’t stay off. By June of 2023, I had met my first goal, which was 165 lbs. I decided to push for my second goal, which was 155 lbs. It took until August or so before I reached that, and I have stayed within 1-2 lbs. of that since then.

Some of the things I noticed in my experience with the Semaglutide was that I just wasn’t as hungry. In the early days of it, I almost had to make myself eat at mealtimes. I often had slight nausea as well as some belching and indigestion, all of which curtailed my desire to consume more. These symptoms all eased up in time. I tried to be mindful of eating things that were good for my body since I knew that I wasn’t taking in as many calories. What I was eating had to be nutrient dense. Being a Peloton junkie (in case you don’t know that about me), I also continued to exercise while I was on this diet because I wanted to stay strong and fit. As my clothing size went down, from 14/16, to a size 8, I started pulling out the “skinny clothes” bins in my closets. I had the whole range from years of losing and gaining weight, something I’m sure many of you can relate to.  Also, my cholesterol numbers since I have lost weight have never been better. While I was not on medication for cholesterol, I could have been based on my values and had just chosen not to be. Now, I don’t have to worry about it because they are beautifully normal. My joints don’t hurt all the time because inflammation in my body is down. Inflammatory mediators are released in the body when we have excess adipose or fat tissue. I have more energy and don’t feel like I require a daily nap. That was a big thing for me because seriously, who has time for a nap?

There are lots of questions around Semaglutide and Mounjaro type programs. One of them is, “Will I have to be on this the rest of my life?” The answer is up to you. For me, I am now on maintenance and will dose myself once every 2-3 weeks, rather than weekly, which is the protocol. It’s a very individual situation to decide on once you reach your goal. I will say that I spend a LOT less money on food and beverages, which frees up money for continued use of the medication. If you think about it, we are often on medications continuously for our health, such as with hypothyroidism, diabetes, depression, high cholesterol, etc. This may be no different, based on how you develop your behavior modification as you lose the weight you are intending to lose. There are some people for which this medication cannot be prescribed. Those who have a history of Type I diabetes, active gallbladder disease, pancreatitis, a family history of thyroid cell tumors, kidney disease, or those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

At Beautiful You Med Spa, we don’t want to just put you on a medication and forget about you. We want to help educate you, encourage you and ride this journey out with you. If you would like to learn more, give our office a call and let’s get 2024 started right to improve your health by helping you to lose that unwanted weight.