Why Am I Not Losing Weight on Ozempic?
Ozempic is a prescribed medication for people with type 2 diabetes, but people frequently know it for its side effect of weight loss.
However, some may find that they’re not shedding pounds while on this medication. Understandably, this can leave you feeling confused and frustrated when your expectations don’t align with reality.
This article uses information from studies and experts to explain the reasons why you might not lose weight on Ozempic.
You Are Eating Too Many Calories
Put simply, losing weight requires healthy eating. It’s not just about medication; it’s about making wise choices that support your goals.
What the medication does is help to curb your appetite, making it easier to maintain the calorie deficit that you need to drop pounds. Having less of an appetite makes it much easier to stick to a healthy eating plan.
To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit by eating fewer calories than you burn.
It is certainly possible to eat small portions of food high that are high in calories, though. You won’t achieve your goals if you still eat too many calories while on Ozempic.
Many eating styles can help you optimize weight loss on Ozempic. However, if you’re diabetic, it’s important to control the total amount of carbohydrates you eat. A registered dietitian can help you create a personalized meal plan to support your glucose control and calorie goals.
You may find the following articles helpful for additional advice (keep in mind that semaglutide is the active ingredient in Ozempic).
You Are Eating Unhealthy Foods
Eating unhealthy foods can also prevent you from losing weight, even if you’re not eating a lot overall.
Opt for a diet rich in vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. This will complement the effects of your medication and provide the essential nutrients you need for overall well-being.
5 Foods to Avoid While Taking Ozempic
You Are Drinking Excess Calories
Soda, juice, and other sugary beverages can sneakily add many calories to your daily intake. You might down these drinks without feeling full, so it’s easy to overdo them, leading to excess calorie consumption.
Opt for healthier alternatives like water or unsweetened tea to stay hydrated without unnecessary calories.
The same goes for alcohol. Alcoholic drinks can contribute to weight gain by adding extra calories to your daily intake.
Additionally, alcohol can lower your inhibitions, encouraging you to indulge in high-calorie foods. Be mindful of your alcohol consumption and consider moderating or reducing it to support your slimming plans.
However, it’s interesting to see that many people taking Ozempic or Wegovy lose interest in drinking.
You Are Not Consistent with Medication
If you’re using weight loss medication, consistency is crucial. Make sure to adhere to your prescribed dosage and schedule to maximize your success.
Not taking your medication regularly can impair its ability to reduce your appetite, making it harder to achieve the desired results. Consult your healthcare provider and carefully follow their instructions to get the most out of your medication.
You Might Need a Higher Dose
In general, doctors start you on Ozempic at a low dose. They then increase the dose every four weeks, as necessary.
You should always pay attention to how you feel on the higher doses. If side effects become a problem, it might be time to reduce the dose again or switch medications. It’s always a good idea to consult your healthcare provider for the best results.
You Are Not Exercising Enough
Physical activity is essential for slimming down— and keeping the weight off. Regular exercise burns calories and improves your overall health.
Start by finding an activity you enjoy, whether it’s running, walking, swimming, yoga, or any activity that requires you to move your body and makes you tired. Then, gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts until fitness becomes a regular part of your routine. Not only will this help with weight loss — it will also improve your overall well-being.
Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes most days of the week, but don’t be afraid to take a break if you need it. Whether you’re just starting out or an experienced athlete, listening to your body is the best way to stay healthy and maintain motivation.
Adding weight training, pilates, or any other type of exercise that works to build muscle will also help because having more muscle means you will burn more calories at all times.
You Have Unrealistic Expectations
It’s important to be realistic. Ozempic and Wegovy, like any other medication, are not miracle drugs — they can only do so much.
In clinical trials, patients on semaglutide (the active ingredient in Ozempic) lost an average of 16.1% of their body mass index (BMI) in 68 weeks. This was at a 2.4 mg dose.
At the end of the study, the results showed that:
- 73% of participants taking Wegovy lost 5% or more weight, compared to 18% taking a placebo.
- 62% lost 10% or more weight, compared to 8%
- 53% lost 15% or more weight compared to 5%
- 37% lost 20% or more weight compared to 3%
Don’t worry if you’re not losing weight quickly. Your progress may be slower than you expected. Five to ten pounds per month is a realistic goal.
You should also consider your current weight. Heavier people who are obese are likely to experience more pounds lost than those who are just overweight or have a BMI of 30-32.
You Have Hit a Plateau
It’s normal to experience periods of weight loss followed by plateaus. This can be frustrating, as you may feel like you’re not making any progress at all, but stick with it and give your body time to adjust.
Try to stay positive and focus on the long-term goal. When you hit a plateau, and it doesn’t seem to be moving, look for ways to break through it. You might need to make some changes to your diet and exercise routine.
Ideas to help you break a weight-loss plateau
- Try changing the types of foods you eat or the portion sizes
- Check the amount and the quality of snacks you’re eating
- Have a cheat meal once a week
- Increase how often you exercise or the intensity of your workouts
- Add weight training or other muscle-building activities, like total body workouts or pilates.
- Eat enough protein (a source of protein at every meal is sufficient)
- Stress less
- Sleep more
How to Optimize Weight Loss
The medication is just part of the equation. You also need to make lifestyle changes to optimize your progress and to maintain your healthier weight. Here are some tips to make the most of the effects of Ozempic:
Eat a Healthy Diet
No specific diet is needed. Eat balanced with lots of fruits and veggies, and limit processed foods. Additionally, you should be mindful of how much sugar and fat you consume.
Get Regular Exercise
Exercising regularly helps maximize the effectiveness of Ozempic for weight loss. Aim for at least 150 minutes a week of any kind of exercise. Ideally, though, you should combine cardio with muscle-building activities.
Drink Enough Water
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Hydration aids digestion, controls appetite, and promotes weight loss.
Getting enough sleep is crucial for successful weight loss plans. Lack of sleep can disrupt the metabolism and lead to weight gain. It can also decrease the effects of the medication. Lack of sleep alters the hormones that regulate hunger and appetite and increase food cravings.
Manage Your Stress
Engage in stress-reducing activities like yoga or meditation. Chronic stress can lead to weight gain or hinder your slimming progress. Rather than reaching for snacks when you feel anxious, practice deep breathing or stretching exercises for a few moments.
Following these tips can help you maximize the effectiveness of Ozempic and support your weight loss efforts. Make positive lifestyle changes and stay focused on your goals. With dedication and consistency, you will achieve the results you desire.
My Expert Opinion
In practice, I see people losing significant weight over time. However, their monthly weight loss might be relatively small. The key is maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine and staying motivated.
I see a big difference in the outcome between those who put in the work, eat healthy, and exercise and those who rely solely on medication to lose weight.
Track your progress through photos, body measurements, and other metrics, excluding scales. This will help you stay motivated when the scale isn’t budging as you expect.
Everyone’s weight-loss journey is different, but with time and dedication, you will see results. I am here to provide guidance and support along the way, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or need help! Good luck!
Dr. Su-Nui Escobar, a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist in Miami, FL, is dedicated to empowering women in perimenopause and menopause to live healthier, more satisfying lives.
With a doctorate in clinical nutrition from the University of North Florida, she has expertise in menopause and weight loss, including the unique challenges faced by those on weight loss medications.
Su-Nui’s passion for her field is evident in her previous role as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson.