Today, medicine isn’t limited to curing illnesses. It can also help people achieve specific health goals, including weight loss. In particular, GLP-1 medications are becoming more popular among people who want to see more effective results. With more celebrities using these medications, over 70% of Americans have heard of this drug class, and another 45% are interested in taking them as a safe and effective way to aid their weight loss efforts.
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What are GLP-1 medications?
Glucagon-like peptide-1 is a hormone the stomach releases when eating that stimulates insulin secretion, prompting cells to absorb blood sugar for energy or storage. GLP-1 medications were initially made to help type 2 diabetes patients who were experiencing insulin resistance. However, this medication is being used for weight management, too. They’ll have the same effect on your body as natural GLP-1, but their effects last longer. Taking GLP-1 medications can curb cravings and appetite, making the body think it already consumed food.
Two major brands of GLP-1 medications are liraglutide and semaglutide, often sold under the brand names Saxenda and Wegovy. Though they work similarly by managing your hunger, a comprehensive look at Saxenda vs Wegovy reveals that the latter is more effective and can result in up to 20% more weight loss. However, what your healthcare provider prescribes will depend on your medical history, insurance, and preference.
It’s important to note that only specific individuals can take GLP-1 medications. CNBC informs these weight loss drugs are usually only eligible for those struggling with being seriously overweight or obese. These conditions may stem from genetics or imbalanced hormones. Overweight or obese individuals with comorbidities like diabetes and heart disease also qualify for GLP-1 medications. Check with your doctor to see if you can take them on a medical weight loss program.
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Tips for losing weight using GLP-1 medications
1) Take the medicine as instructed
Skipping prescribed doses can render GLP-1 medications ineffective and may even reverse your weight loss progress. For instance, if you forget your daily dose of Saxenda, you’ll feel hungrier, potentially overeat, and regain weight. Try placing your medications where you can see them—like your fridge door—and set reminders on your phone so you don’t forget to take them.
You also need to know how to inject them correctly. For example, Wegovy is best injected in the upper arm, upper thigh, or stomach. It’s best to rotate between these areas for your weekly doses. You also need to place your injections more than two inches away from your belly button and avoid the inner thigh. By following these best practices, you can prevent adverse injection site reactions.
2) Make healthy eating choices
Although GLP-1 medications help with weight loss, it doesn’t mean you should abandon more traditional methods. You can still regain weight after taking a course of GLP-1, so keep following a balanced diet to boost your chances of success.
For ideas on how to make healthy eating choices, you can take some suggestions from our article “Top 10 High Thermic Effect Foods To Include In Your Weight Loss Diet.” High thermic effect foods need a significant amount of energy to be broken down and used, boosting metabolism and weight loss. These foods include spinach, lentils, and quinoa. Integrating them into your daily meals can enhance the appetite-controlling effect of GLP-1 medications and minimize the possibility of regaining weight.
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3) Build an exercise habit
Working out can enhance the effects of GLP-1 medication. In particular, taking Saxenda combined with exercise is significantly more effective for weight loss than taking the medication and not exercising. This is because you’re burning excess calories through physical activity while controlling your appetite through drugs.
Try experimenting with different exercises to get started. That way, you’ll find one you enjoy and don’t view as a chore. Some workouts especially effective for weight loss include jogging, weight training, and yoga.
4) Keep yourself hydrated
Drinking sufficient water while taking GLP-1 medication can boost your chances of weight loss success. Medical weight loss clinic Thrive Med Spa & Wellness shares that water is a natural appetite suppressant, so frequently hydrating while taking GLP-1 medication can help you control what and how much you eat for longer.
Of course, you may want to try the decades-old “eight glasses a day” rule to reap these benefits. You can keep a water bottle next to your medication, desk, or nightstand so you remember to hydrate more often and hit that amount.
GLP-1 medications can be especially effective for weight loss. Follow these to boost its effects and aid your weight loss journey.