Weight Maintenance after Stopping Semaglutide Medications for Weight Loss

Similar to many other prescription medications, once you stop taking Ozempic or Wegovy, their benefits will wane. This leaves many wondering about maintaining weight loss after stopping semaglutide medications.

Weight loss medications (such as Ozempic and Wegovy) effectively help adults with obesity or type 2 diabetes achieve clinically significant weight loss. Their active ingredient is semaglutide, a synthetic form of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). GLP-1 is a naturally occurring hormone that regulates blood sugar, slows digestion, and reduces appetite. While anti-obesity medications can help jumpstart weight loss and improve blood sugar, they may not be a tenable long-term solution because of gastrointestinal side effects and their monthly cost.

How to Maintain Weight Loss after Taking Semaglutide Medications

While weight rebound after stopping semaglutide is possible, it is not necessarily your destiny. Losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight requires a holistic, multi-prong approach that has diet and exercise at its core. The most common withdrawal symptoms connected to semaglutide are increased appetite, food cravings, and possible blood sugar increase. However, there are some strategies to consider for managing semaglutide withdrawal symptoms.

Appetite Increase. While on semaglutide medications, you likely ate less because of the medication’s appetite suppressing effect and GI side effects. Facing an increased appetite may feel challenging, but the challenge is not necessarily insurmountable. Adapting your diet to include lean proteins such as skinless white meat poultry, pork, and seafood, to name a few, will promote a feeling fullness. Including plant-based proteins, like tofu, lentils, quinoa, spinach, or kale, can help manage appetite. They will help you feel full while offering nutritional value. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans has information about healthy eating. Sometimes when life gets hectic it can be difficult to cook healthy meals, so adding a nutritionally formulated beverage — like Biocare — to your eating plan will help you get the nutrients you need while helping you feel satiated.

Food Cravings. From time to time, we all crave an unhealthy, energy-dense food options like cookies or chips. Following a healthy, nutrient-dense eating plan that includes protein, fiber, healthy carbs, vitamins, and minerals can help manage food cravings. For example, swap your morning sugary cereal for oatmeal and add some fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Sometimes, we crave foods because our body may be experiencing a nutritional deficiency. Talk with your health care provider to make sure you are following a nutritionally sound eating plan.

Sometimes when we are under stress or not getting enough sleep, we crave unhealthy, energy-dense foods. Work on taking a more mindful approach to eating. Pay attention to triggers — situations that elicit some form of negative emotional arousal. Do you reach for a burger and fries when feeling stressed? Or a pint of ice cream? Disrupted sleep or poor-quality sleep can make it difficult for us to emotionally self-regulate, and this in turn could lead to suboptimal eating patterns. If you notice that you cope with stress and poor quality sleep by eating empty calories, take note and talk with your health care provider. Food cravings can be underpinned by a nutritional deficiency or stress.

Blood Sugar Increases. Semaglutide medications help control blood sugar and other characteristics of metabolic syndrome, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. As your appetite returns post-semaglutide, it is not only important to make healthy food choices; it is also important to be active. Coupled with a healthy eating plan, weight training, resistance training, and aerobic exercise will help preserve and develop lean muscle mass. Muscle mass is important because it is metabolically active, which means it helps you burn calories even when at rest. Additionally, lean muscle mass facilitates increases insulin sensitivity and absorbs sugar from your bloodstream and uses it as fuel. After stopping semaglutide medications, get moving. Call a friend and go for a walk after dinner or take a class together at the gym. Integrating exercise into your daily routine can help manage blood sugar.

Self-Compassion. Losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight can be challenging. We are all human. At times, we all choose the unhealthy food option or choose to sit on the couch and binge a favorite TV show instead of getting up and getting active. At these times it’s easy to feel like we’ve failed, or we’ll never succeed. Be kind to yourself and give yourself a break. Having self-compassion is directing compassion toward yourself. If a friend came to you and said they binged a TV show instead of going to the gym, you would likely not say unkind and unsupportive things to them. So why do this to yourself? If you falter, stick with your plan. We all have a bad day from time to time, and one bad day does not have to derail your goals.

Following a healthy eating plan and including exercise can help mitigate the risk of weight rebound after semaglutide. Weight loss and weight maintenance are challenging, so be kind to yourself on your weight loss journey. Before beginning any weight loss program, whether it includes anti-obesity medication or not, be sure to consult with your health care provider to make sure your desired weight loss strategy is right for you.



About the Author: Dr. Dawn M. Sweet has over 20 years of experience in the field of communication. Dr. Sweet has given several invited talks to and workshops for academic and private sector audiences on the role of nonverbal and verbal communication in achieving positive outcomes and mitigating bias. Her research has been published in several top ranked peer-review journals, and it has been featured on NPR’s River to River / All Things Considered, Buzzfeed, and Science Daily. Her research has also been used to inform expert testimony.

* Wegovy® and Ozempic® are registered trademarks of Novo Nordisk A/S. Novo Nordisk is a registered trademark of Novo Nordisk A/S.

Image of Image of Biocare Semaglutide nausea relief beverage in a glass, formula pouch, and box for ozempic side effects


Preserves Muscle Mass and Helps Reduce Side Effects for People Using Semaglutide