Weight Loss May Come at a Cost
“Studies show that people [on Wegovy] I lost 9.6% of my weight in 68 weeks, compared to 7% in the same period with Ozempic,” explains Smithran.
So what happens when you stop taking semaglutide?
“Like all medicines for long-term conditions, semaglutide only works as long as you take it, so most people regain some weight when they stop taking it. That said, stopping semaglutide can help you maintain weight loss, but it’s difficult to maintain the same diet long-term if you stop taking medications that help control your appetite.
However, demand for semaglutide is so short that stocks of semaglutide will not be available in Australia until the end of March, Therapeutic Goods Administration said.
But as Newton points out, skipping exercise can lead to muscle loss if you lose weight in a way that consumes fewer kilojoules than you burn. Some people are exposed to — serial dieters who have repeatedly attempted to lose weight can lose a good deal of muscle over time, he says.
“Muscle loss from repeated diets without exercise is one of the reasons long-term weight loss is difficult to maintain. Even when we are resting, our muscles are still consuming kilojoules,” he adds.
“Rapid weight loss caused by very low-kilojoule diets like juice and cabbage can accelerate muscle loss. The same is true for older people who lose muscle mass as they age, especially if they are inactive.
“Geriatricians understand this because they see the end result of gradual muscle loss: frailty and mobility problems. It ends in loss of independence.” It’s a slippery slope.”
But mobility isn’t the only thing threatened by muscle loss. Muscle produces a variety of hormones and other substances that benefit all systems in our body, while excess fat, on the contrary, secretes hormones and inflammatory chemicals that damage our health. Newton explains.
“Fat and muscle are like yin and yang, but overweight and obesity throw these two different tissues out of balance, and the hormonal effects produced by fat overwhelm the benefits of muscle. Body composition – the right balance of muscle and fat – is more important than weight alone.”
What are the possible signs of muscle loss?
“When you realize that a previously easy task like taking out the trash or lifting a lawnmower out of your boot is getting harder,” says Newton.
“Your best defense is strength training, and you don’t have to go to the gym. You can do bodyweight exercises that target large muscle groups like squats, lunges, and push-ups at home at least twice a week.”
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