For those who reside in a bigger physique, typically it seems like you possibly can’t win.

For those who don’t shed pounds, folks will criticize you for being “lazy,” “unhealthy,” or “missing willpower.”

However when you take treatment that will help you, you’ll be criticized for “dishonest” or “taking the straightforward approach out,” even when you’ve tried for many years to handle your weight by way of food regimen, train, and way of life modifications (typically excessive ones).

On this article, we’ll be speaking a few extremely contentious group of medicines—GLP-1 receptor agonist medicine comparable to semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy, Rybelsus) or tirzepatide (Mounjaro, Zepbound).

And other people have heaps of opinions about them.

However the opinion that issues most? Yours.

At PN, we’re treatment agnostic.

We’re not right here to evaluate whether or not an individual ought to or mustn’t take treatment for weight reduction. Finally, that’s a selection left as much as you, with the steering of your major care doctor.

Both approach, we’re right here to assist our purchasers and elevate their outcomes.

Whether or not you are taking treatment or not, a coach may help you optimize diet and satiety with the fitting meals, discover workout routines that work together with your altering physique, and make it easier to navigate the emotional ups and downs that come once you try and sort out a giant, significant, long-term purpose.

Nonetheless, we additionally perceive that when you’re debating the professionals and cons of starting (or persevering with) treatment, you may need blended emotions.

For those who’re undecided if these new medicines are best for you, we’ve got your again. Within the following article, we’ll provide the trustworthy, science-backed data you should make a assured choice.

You’ll study…

  • Why it’s so onerous to lose (and maintain off) fats
  • Why taking treatment isn’t “dishonest,” neither is it the “straightforward approach out”
  • How GLP-1 medicine work, and the well being advantages they will have (other than weight reduction)
  • The way to decide when you’re at a “wholesome weight” (it’s not nearly BMI)
  • What actions you possibly can take to reduce uncomfortable side effects and maximize long-term well being, when you do resolve to take these medicines

Let’s start.

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First, why is it so onerous to lose fats?

Fats loss is onerous. Interval.

However for some folks, it’s more durable nonetheless—due to environmental, genetic, physiological, social, cultural, and/or behavioral components that work in opposition to them.

Listed here are just a few of the contributing components that may make fats loss so difficult.

We reside in an atmosphere that encourages a caloric surplus.

Think about life 150 years in the past, earlier than automobiles and public transit had been invented. To get from level A to level B, you needed to stroll, pedal a bicycle, or trip a horse.

Meals was usually briefly provide, too. You needed to expend energy to get it, and meals would simply fulfill you (however not depart you “full”).

Immediately, nonetheless…

“We reside in an obesogenic atmosphere that’s stuffed with low-cost, highly-palatable, energy-dense meals [that make overeating calories easy, often unconsciously],” says Karl Nadolsky, MD, an endocrinologist and weight reduction specialist at Holland Hospital and co-host of the Docs Who Carry podcast.

“We even have numerous conveniences that cut back our bodily exercise.”

After all, even in such an atmosphere, we’ve got folks in lean our bodies, simply as we’ve got individuals who battle to cease the size from constantly creeping up.


Genetically, some individuals are extra predisposed to weight problems.

Some genes can result in extreme weight problems at a really early age. Nonetheless, these are fairly uncommon.

Far more widespread is polygenic weight problems—when two or extra genes work collectively to predispose you to weight achieve, particularly once you’re uncovered to the obesogenic atmosphere talked about earlier.

Individuals who inherit a number of of those so-called weight problems genes are inclined to have significantly persistent “I’m hungry” and “I’m not full but” indicators, says Dr. Nadolsky.

Weight problems genes additionally appear to trigger some folks to expertise what’s colloquially referred to as “meals noise.”

They really feel obsessive about meals, frequently pondering, “What am I going to eat subsequent? When is my subsequent meal? Can I eat now?

Physiologically, our bodies have a tendency to withstand fats loss.

For those who achieve a variety of fats, the hormones in your intestine, fats cells, and mind can change the way you expertise starvation and fullness.

“It’s like a thermostat in a home, however now it’s damaged,” says Dr. Nadolsky. “So when folks minimize energy and weight goes down, these physiologic components work in opposition to them.”

After dropping pounds, your intestine could frequently ship out the “I’m hungry” sign, even when you’ve not too long ago eaten, and even you probably have greater than sufficient physique fats to function a calorie reserve. It additionally may take extra meals so that you can really feel full than, say, another person who’s by no means been at the next weight.

Being in a bigger physique usually means being the recipient of fats stigma and discriminatory therapy.

Till you’ve lived in a bigger physique, it’s onerous to consider how totally different the world may deal with you.

Our purchasers have informed us tales about being bullied on the fitness center, overtly judged or lectured on the grocery retailer, and in any other case being subjected to innumerable feedback and assumptions about their physique form, well being, and even value.

Even in medical settings, folks with weight problems usually tend to obtain poor therapy.1, 2 Healthcare suppliers could overlook or downplay signs, attributing well being issues solely to weight. This could result in delayed- or missed diagnoses or simply plain outdated insufficient care.

All of this mixed can add as much as an extremely pervasive and ongoing supply of stress.

This stress—along with being socially isolating and psychologically damaging—can additional contribute to elevated urge for food and pleasure from high-calorie meals, decreased exercise, and poorer sleep high quality.3

Which is why…

Taking treatment isn’t an “straightforward approach out.”

In 2013, the American Medical Affiliation categorized weight problems as a illness.

And but, many individuals nonetheless don’t deal with it as such, and fairly think about weight problems as a willpower downside, and the consequence of merely consuming an excessive amount of and shifting too little. (The treatment: “Simply attempt more durable.”)

In actuality, folks with weight problems have as a lot willpower as anybody else.

Nonetheless, for them, fats loss is more durable—for all the explanations talked about above, and extra.

So, identical to chemotherapy or insulin isn’t “the straightforward approach out” of most cancers or sort 1 diabetes, treatment isn’t “the straightforward approach out” of weight problems.

Fairly, treatment is a instrument, ideally used alongside wholesome way of life behaviors, that may assist offset a number of the genetic and physiological variances that individuals with weight problems could have, and have little particular person management over in any other case.

What you should learn about GLP-1 medicine

In 2017, semaglutide (a synthentic GLP-1 agonist) was authorised within the US as an antidiabetic and anti-obesity treatment.

With the emergence of this class of medicine, science supplied folks with weight problems a comparatively secure and accessible strategy to shed pounds long-term, as long as they continued the treatment.

How Ozempic and different weight problems medicines work

Present weight reduction medicines work primarily by mimicking the perform of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), a hormone that performs a number of features:

  • Within the pancreas, it triggers insulin secretion, which helps regulate blood sugar (and likewise helps you are feeling full).
  • Within the intestine, it slows gastric emptying, affecting your sensation of fullness.
  • Within the mind, it reduces cravings (the need for particular meals) and meals noise (intrusive ideas about meals).

In folks with weight problems, the physique shortly breaks down endogenous (pure) GLP-1, making it much less efficient. Consequently, it takes longer to really feel full, meals supply much less endurance, and meals noise turns into a near-constant companion, says Dr. Nadolsky.

Semaglutide and related medicines flood the physique with synthetically made GLP-1 that lasts for much longer than the GLP-1 the physique produces. This long-lasting impact helps enhance emotions of fullness, cut back between-meal starvation, and muffle cravings and meals noise.

Curiously, by calming down the mind’s reward heart (the a part of the mind that drives cravings and even addictions), these medicines may assist folks cut back addictive behaviors like compulsive ingesting and playing, says Dr. Nadolsky.

Be aware: Newer weight reduction medicines, for instance tirzepatide, mimic not solely GLP-1, but additionally one other hormone known as gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP). Like GLP-1, GIP additionally stimulates post-meal insulin secretion and reduces urge for food, partly by reducing gastrointestinal exercise. Different medicine quickly to return in the marketplace, like retatrutide, mimic a 3rd hormone, glucagon.

How efficient are GLP-1 medicine?

Researchers measure a weight reduction drugs’s success based mostly on the proportion of people that attain key weight reduction milestones of 5, 10, 15, or 20 p.c of their weight.

These medicines are nonetheless evolving, however to this point, they’ve proven to be fairly efficient:

About 86 p.c of people that take GLP-1 medicine like Ozempic, Rybelsus, and Wegovy lose a minimum of 5 p.c of their physique weight, with a few third of them dropping greater than 20 p.c of their physique weight.4, 5

And newer technology variations of those medicines—comparable to tirzepatide, and the not-yet-FDA-approved retatrutide—are solely getting higher, with as much as 57 p.c of individuals dropping greater than 20 p.c of their physique weight.6, 7

How do weight reduction medicines evaluate to way of life interventions?

Previously, weight reduction interventions have centered on way of life modifications like calorie or macronutrient manipulation, train, and typically counseling.

Fairly than pitting way of life modifications in opposition to weight reduction medicines or surgical procedure, it’s extra useful to think about all of them as suitable gamers.

With way of life modifications and training, the typical individual can count on to lose about 5 to 13 p.c of their physique weight.

If you add FDA-approved variations of GLP-1 and different weight-loss medicine to way of life and training, common weight reduction jumps up one other ten p.c or extra. 8, 9, 10, 11

Fats loss usually comes with highly effective well being advantages

For years, the medical neighborhood has informed of us that dropping 5 to 10 p.c of their physique weight was adequate.

Partly, this message was designed to right-set folks’s expectations, as few lose far more than that (and maintain it off) with way of life modifications alone.

As well as, this modest weight reduction additionally results in measurable well being enhancements. Lose 5 to 10 p.c of your whole weight, and also you’ll begin to see blood sugar, ldl cholesterol, and stress drop.12

Nonetheless, dropping 15 to twenty p.c of your weight, as folks are inclined to do after they mix way of life modifications with second-generation GLP-1s, and also you do far more than enhance your well being. You’ll be able to go into remission for a number of well being issues, together with:

  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Fatty liver illness
  • Sleep apnea

Which means, by taking a GLP-1 drugs, you may find a way ultimately to cease taking a number of different medicine, says Dr. Nadolsky.

Specialists suspect GLP-1s could enhance well being even when no weight reduction happens.

“The medicines appear to supply additive advantages past simply weight discount,” says Dr. Nadolsky.

Analysis signifies that GLP-1s could cut back the danger of main cardiovascular occasions (coronary heart assaults and strokes) in folks with diabetes or coronary heart illness.13, 14, 15 In folks with diabetes, they appear to enhance kidney perform, too.16

The idea is that organs all through the physique have GLP-1 receptors on their cells. When the GLP-1s connect to those receptors within the kidneys and coronary heart, they appear to guard these organs from harm.

Because of this, in 2023, the American Coronary heart Affiliation listed GLP-1 receptor agonists as one of many yr’s high advances in heart problems.

What even is a “wholesome physique weight”?

Many individuals say, “I simply wish to be at a wholesome weight.”

However what does that even imply?

At PN, we consider your healthiest physique composition / weight is one which:

  • Has comparatively extra lean mass (from muscle and wholesome, dense bones), and comparatively much less physique fats
  • Emerges from doing foundational, sustainable health-promoting behaviors (like being lively and consuming effectively), fairly than “crash diets” or different excessive measures
  • Is comparatively straightforward to take care of with a handful of constant way of life decisions, with out undue sacrifices to general well-being (or what we name Deep Well being)
  • Lets you do the actions you need and revel in, with as few limitations as potential
  • Retains your well being markers (like blood stress, ldl cholesterol, and blood sugar) in secure and wholesome ranges as a lot as within reason potential
  • Feels good to you

This isn’t a particular measurement, form, look, physique fats share, or class on a BMI chart; A “wholesome” physique composition and/or weight will fluctuate from individual to individual.

… Which might be each releasing and irritating to listen to.

With no particular quantity to purpose for, it’s more durable to know when you’ve “arrived” at your healthiest weight or physique composition.

Nonetheless, we like this manner of qualifying what a wholesome weight is as a result of it takes the stress off a quantity on the size, and places the concentrate on behaviors you’ve got extra management over, and extra importantly, how your life feels.

7 methods to make weight reduction medicines more practical—and enhance long-term well being

Right here’s what we consider:

Weight reduction medicines don’t render way of life modifications out of date; they make them extra crucial.

When GLP-1 medicines muffle meals noise and starvation, many discover it simpler to prioritize lean protein, fruits and veggies, complete grains, and different minimally processed meals. Equally, as the size goes down, folks usually really feel higher, in order that they’re extra more likely to embrace weight lifting and different types of train.

Certainly, in accordance with a 2024 shopper developments survey, 41 p.c of GLP-1 drugs customers reported that their train frequency elevated since happening the treatment. Nearly all of them additionally reported an enchancment in food regimen high quality, selecting to eat extra protein, in addition to vegetables and fruit.17

That is nice information, as a result of it additional reinforces the concept treatment isn’t merely “the straightforward approach out.”

(After all, typically medicine are used as “the straightforward approach out”; After happening treatment, folks can proceed to eat poor high quality meals—simply much less of it. This will increase the danger of dropping crucial muscle and bone, and dropping much less—and even no—physique fats.)

When used accurately, weight reduction treatment is a instrument that, as talked about above, could make wholesome way of life modifications simpler to perform, making each the medicine and the life-style modifications more practical, and enhancing each short- and long-term success.

For those who do resolve to take weight reduction medicine, use these methods to get probably the most out of them—and protect your long-term well being.

Technique #1: Discover methods to eat nutritiously regardless of uncomfortable side effects.

The slowed abdomen emptying attributable to GLP-1 medicine can set off nausea and constipation.

Thankfully, for most individuals, these GI woes are inclined to resolve inside a number of weeks.

Nonetheless, when you’re experiencing a variety of nausea, you’re unlikely going to welcome salads into your life with open arms. (Consider how you are feeling when you’ve got the abdomen flu. A bowl of roughage doesn’t look like it’ll “go down straightforward.”)

So, attempt to discover extra palatable methods to devour nutritious meals. (For instance, vegetables and fruit within the type of a smoothie or pureed soup is perhaps simpler.)

Dr. Nadolsky additionally suggests folks keep away from the next widespread offenders:

  • Massive parts of any type
  • Greasy, fatty meals
  • Extremely processed meals
  • Any sturdy meals smells that set off your gag reflex
  • Sugar alcohols (like xylitol, erythritol, maltitol, and sorbitol, usually present in food regimen sodas, chewing gum, and low-sugar protein bars), which might set off diarrhea in some

Technique #2: Prioritize power coaching.

When folks take GLP-1 weight reduction medicines, about 30 to 40 p.c of the burden they lose can come from lean mass.18, 19, 20

Put one other approach: For each 10 kilos somebody loses, about six to seven come from fats and three to 4 from muscle, bone, and different non-fat tissues.

Nonetheless, there’s two vital caveats to this statistic:

1. Folks with extreme weight problems usually have extra muscle and bone mass than others. (Carrying round an additional 100+ kilos of physique weight means muscle tissues should adapt by getting greater and stronger.)

2. Muscle and bone loss aren’t inevitable. (As Dr. Nadolsky places it, “Muscle loss isn’t a motive to keep away from treating weight problems [with medication]. It’s a motive to do extra train.”)

To protect muscle and bone mass, purpose for a minimum of two full-body resistance coaching classes per week.

As well as, transfer round as a lot as you possibly can. Strolling and different types of bodily exercise are important for conserving metabolism wholesome—and may help to maneuver meals by way of the intestine to ease digestion.21, 22

(Want inspiration for power coaching? Take a look at our free train video library.)

Technique #3: Lean into lean protein.

Along with power coaching, ample protein consumption is important for serving to to guard muscle mass.

You should use our free macros calculator to find out the correct amount of protein for you. (Spoiler: Most individuals will want 1 to 2 palm-sized protein parts per meal, or about 0.5 to 1 gram of protein per pound of physique weight per day.)

Technique #4: Fill your plate with fruit and veggies.

Apart from being good to your general well being, complete, recent, and frozen produce fuels you with crucial vitamins that may assist drive down ranges of irritation.

Along with elevating your threat for illness, continual irritation can block protein synthesis, making it more durable to take care of muscle mass.

(Didn’t know managing irritation issues in the case of preserving muscle? Discover out extra muscle-supporting methods right here: The way to construct muscle power, measurement, and energy)

Technique #5: Select high-fiber carbs over low-fiber carbs.

Beans, lentils, complete grains, and starchy tubers like potatoes and candy potatoes do a greater job of serving to you are feeling full and managing blood sugar than lower-fiber, extra extremely processed choices.

(Learn extra concerning the drawbacks—and occasional advantages—of processed meals right here: Minimally processed vs. extremely processed meals)

Technique #6: Select wholesome fat.

Wholesome fat may help you are feeling full between meals and defend your general well being.

Gravitate towards fat from complete meals like avocado, seeds, nuts, and olive oil, in addition to fatty fish (which is a protein too!)—utilizing them to interchange much less wholesome fat from highly-processed meals (like chips or donuts).

(Unsure which fat are wholesome? Use our 3-step information for selecting one of the best meals to your physique)

Technique #7: Contemplate teaching.

It might go with out saying, however the above ideas are simply the beginning.

(There’s additionally: high quality sleep, social assist, stress administration, and extra.)

Whereas many individuals select to sort out these methods on their very own, many others discover that the assist, steering, and inventive problem-solving {that a} good coach can present makes the entire course of so much simpler—to not point out extra fulfilling and extra more likely to stick.

And that’s the true present of teaching: A coach doesn’t simply assist you determine what to eat and the right way to transfer; They make it easier to take away boundaries, construct abilities, and create methods and routines in order that habits change into so pure and computerized that it’s onerous to think about not doing them.

Then, when you do wish to cease taking treatment, your ingrained way of life habits (that teaching strengthened, and medicine maybe made simpler to undertake) will make it extra seemingly that you just preserve your outcomes.


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