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How Weight Loss Medications Work Along With Healthy Habits

Weight Loss Medications and Healthy Habits

If you’ve been on a weight loss journey for a while, you know that achieving (and sustaining) your weight goals can be elusive.

Conventional wisdom says to “eat healthy and exercise,” which sounds so simple—but a “healthy” diet can be a moving target, with fad diets and cultural trends popping up all the time. Plus–how much exercise is “enough?” And what will work for YOU?

It makes sense that some people would want to lose weight under the supervision of a licensed healthcare provider to take some of the guesswork out of what is right for their specific body. But following a diet and exercise plan still requires a huge amount of willpower–and sometimes even THAT doesn’t work. (Some research shows that when you have a history of losing weight, your body tries even harder to hang onto it.)

So it’s no wonder that weight loss medications are an attractive solution for people who feel they’ve tried everything else. 

How do weight loss medications work?

In the last few years, new weight loss medications have been approved by the FDA, and they’ve been incredibly helpful in jumpstarting the weight loss process for many people.

Under the supervision of licensed healthcare providers, weight loss medications typically target metabolism, appetite control, and fat absorption:

1. Appetite suppressants

Appetite suppressants help individuals control their food intake by reducing hunger signals. They’re particularly helpful for people who struggle with emotional eating or overeating. Some medications used to suppress appetite are Contrave, semaglutide, liraglutide, tirzepatide, and phentermine.

2. Metabolism boosters

Metabolism boosters like Ipamorelin aim to enhance metabolism, encouraging the body to burn more calories while at rest. These can be advantageous for individuals with a sluggish metabolism, making it easier to create a calorie deficit and lose weight.

3. Fat Absorption Inhibitors

Other weight loss medications like Orlistat™ work by inhibiting the absorption of dietary fats, reducing the overall calorie intake from ingested food. This approach can benefit those with difficulty maintaining a low-fat diet.

Of course, weight loss medications including the very popular GLP-1 agonists (e.g. semaglutide) are not a “magic pill” or a “magic shot” on their own—they’re most effective when combined with healthy lifestyle changes, including a balanced diet and regular physical activity.

Healthy habits that support the positive effects of weight loss medications

The foundation of a successful weight loss journey is adopting healthy habits. These habits enhance the effectiveness of weight loss medications and contribute to overall well-being!

Here’s how healthy habits work with weight loss medications:

A Nutrient-Rich Diet:

Adopting a balanced diet is key to long-term weight management. Weight loss medications work more effectively when paired with a diet that provides essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Focus on whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist can advise you on the specifics of the diet that will work best for you.

Regular Physical Activity:

Exercise is another crucial component of any weight loss plan. It not only burns calories but also improves overall health and well-being. Engage in aerobic exercises, strength training, and flexibility exercises. Taking weight loss medications can amplify the results of your workouts, making your efforts more impactful.

Portion Control:

Weight loss medications can assist in controlling your appetite, but practicing portion control regularly is equally important. Learning to be more mindful of portion sizes can help prevent overeating. You can focus on using smaller plates, savoring each bite, and listening to your body’s hunger and fullness cues.

Hydration:

Adequate hydration is often overlooked but plays a significant role in weight management. Water can help control appetite, support metabolism, and enhance the body’s ability to burn fat. Replace sugary beverages with water and prioritize staying hydrated throughout the day.

Quality Sleep:

Lack of sleep can disrupt hormones related to hunger and satiety, making weight loss more challenging. Prioritize quality sleep by establishing a consistent sleep routine and creating a comfortable sleep environment. Weight loss medications are more effective when combined with adequate rest.

Stress Management:

Chronic stress can contribute to weight gain through hormonal imbalances. Incorporate stress-reducing activities such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises into your routine. Weight loss medications work more efficiently in a body without constant stress.

What are some ways to ensure that weight loss medications are effective?

To achieve your weight loss goals, it’s important to see your role as part of a comprehensive plan that you’ll carry out with precision. That isn’t to say that you won’t break the rules here and there—but you’ll see the best results if you’re diligent about sticking to the plan.

Here are some specific ways to ensure the weight loss medications will do their job and help you reach your goals:

Work with a healthcare professional and follow their advice.

You should only take weight loss medications with the guidance of a healthcare professional and ideally a team including a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and a holistic health coach. They can assess your health to determine the best plan, adjust as you go, and provide personalized recommendations.

Adhere to prescribed dosage.

It’s critically important that you take the exact dosage and frequency prescribed. Any changes must be approved by the team overseeing your weight loss journey.

Consistency is key.

You should take weight loss medication around the same time each day. This helps keep a steady amount in your system, which helps you get the maximum benefit. Your healthcare provider can help you devise a routine to help you remember to take it, such as with a certain meal or at bedtime.

Monitor for side effects.

Listen to your body as you go through this process to see how it feels. If you notice any unexpected side effects, inform your healthcare team immediately. Some common side effects include nausea, insomnia, or changes in bowel habits.

Regular follow-up appointments.

Your follow-up appointments are critical as your team will monitor how your body is doing and can make adjustments as needed based on any changes to your health.

At Synergy Integrative Health and Wellness, we offer a variety of weight loss packages that take a holistic approach to your weight loss journey!

Most clients work with a nurse practitioner, a registered dietitian, a nutritionist, and a holistic health coach. Together, we’ll develop a comprehensive plan to help you safely and sustainably reach your weight loss goals.

Check out our website for info on our weight loss packages!

Or get started by booking an appointment.

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