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Getting the Most out of GLP-1 Agonists

GLP-1 agonists have quickly become a popular treatment for weight loss and type 2 diabetes. However, is successful treatment really as simple as starting a new medication? Let’s take a closer look at the relationship between GLP-1 agonists and lifestyle changes.

GLP-1 Agonists

GLP-1 agonists, or glucagon like peptides, have been around since the FDA approved the first one in the U.S., exenatide (Byetta & Bydureon) in 2005. While quite a few have been approved since then, we have seen their popularity increase substantially in the last few years. In fact, in 2022 alone we saw over 5 million prescriptions written for this class of drugs, a 2000% increase since 2019. Researchers are still learning about their potential benefits and uses, but their main function remains as a treatment for type 2 diabetes, and more recently, weight loss. There’s also a growing sentiment among researchers that GLP-1 efficacy can be greatly improved with companion programs centered around lifestyle modification and behavior change.

Before you Begin GLP-1 Agonist Treatment

For anyone considering taking GLP-1 agonists, laying a sturdy foundation for behavioral changes is the key to maximizing results. GLP-1 agonists fundamentally change how users view and crave foods. It stands to reason that making dietary modifications, such as embracing whole foods and moderating sugar intake, will serve you well in preparation for beginning GLP-1 agonist therapy. By incorporating an array of nutrient-rich foods—such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins—your odds of success increase greatly.

Equally essential is the integration of regular physical activity into one’s daily routine. Exercise not only aids in weight management, but also enhances insulin sensitivity, allowing for more efficient glucose utilization by the body. Getting into the habit of regular exercise early on is paramount to increasing your chances of sustained weight loss. From brisk walks to strength training sessions, finding activities that bring joy and fulfillment can make exercise a long-term habit. Moreover, cultivating healthy habits, such as getting adequate sleep, managing stress levels, and abstaining from tobacco use, make achieving optimal wellness that much easier.

A group of individuals headed to an exercise class. Exercise combined with the use of GLP-1 agonists is far more effective than the medication by itself.

Maximizing the Benefits of GLP-1 Agonists

Lifestyle changes and GLP-1 agonists intertwine harmoniously, amplifying each other’s efficacy. These medications, when aligned with dietary alterations and regular exercise, exhibit enhanced glucose-lowering effects vital to weight loss. While GLP-1’s alone are effective, GLP-1’s with positive and lasting change are even more so.

Jason Balette, a bariatric surgeon at Memorial Hermann Medical Group in Houston, Texas, had this to say on the matter, “Studies demonstrate that a GLP-1 agonist along with a diet and exercise program will result in up to 15% body weight loss.”

To put that into perspective, 15% of weight loss on a 195lb adult would leave them around 165lbs. That’s roughly a 30lb reduction in weight. The key to long-term wellness when it comes to weight loss is avoiding regression. Without making the necessary lifestyle modifications, your chances of regression once off of GLP-1 agonists, become significantly higher. Click here to learn more about the regression of GLP-1 users without the support of a lifestyle modification component. Ultimately, commitment to healthy habits remains indispensable in realizing long-term health goals.

The Value of Companion Programs

We’ve established that lifestyle modifications and behavior changes play a large role in increasing success with GLP-1 agonists. So, what resources exist that can be utilized while taking GLP-1 agonists? The answer is companion programs, which we are seeing more and more of being offered each day.

You should check with your health care provider about what programs or opportunities you can take advantage of. If your health care provider does not offer this option, there are alternative companion programs available through various other sources. These companion programs typically provide educational components that outline the benefits of lifestyle modifications. Others have gone so far as to offer cost savings benefits. MetaOne, an offering from U.S. Preventive Medicine, even provides continued support for when participants come off of GLP-1 agonists.

Life After GLP-1 Agonists

The journey to wellness extends far beyond the realm of medication. When it comes time to stop using GLP-1 agonists, a foundation of healthy habits can make all the difference. Strategies for navigating post-treatment life are important, from setting realistic goals to cultivating resilience in the face of challenges. Your relationship with your prescribing physician is invaluable, and you should discuss with them their recommendations for sustaining results.

By embracing the benefits of the lifestyle changes you’ll have already made, you can safeguard yourself against regression. There are other strategies as well, like taking advantage of continued support from programs offered by your healthcare provider. Transitioning from weight loss assisted by GLP-1’s to going it alone can be difficult. Another program from U.S. Preventive Medicine, The Preventive Plan, offers weight loss pursuits that can also help participants sustain healthy habits while coming off of GLP-1 agonists.

2 individuals, man and woman, smiling as they work on losing weight by going for a jog. Continued exercise after using glp-1 agonists is key to sustaining results.

Looking Back

As we reflect on the symbiotic relationship between GLP-1 agonists and lifestyle modifications, it becomes evident that successful treatment extends beyond the mere administration of medication. GLP-1 agonists have emerged as powerful tools in the management of weight loss and type 2 diabetes, yet their effectiveness is greatly enhanced when coupled with behavioral changes. By laying a sturdy foundation of healthy habits before embarking on treatment, individuals can optimize their outcomes and pave the way for sustained wellness.

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