GLP-1 medications such as Semaglutide (the active ingredient in Ozempic* and Wegovy*) and Tirzepatide (the active ingredient in Mounjaro*) have become a valuable tools to help many people lose weight quickly. It effectively reduces hunger by slowing down the digestive process and can be used for the long term until you reach a healthy weight range. But what comes next? How do you ensure lasting success and keep the weight off for the long haul? Just as it is with reducing your weight, maintaining your weight has everything to do with proper nutrition, support and tools.

Understanding GLP-1 Medications

Before we dive into the universe of weight maintenance, let’s take a moment to appreciate the role GLP-1 medications play. These medications are designed to mimic the actions of the naturally occurring hormone GLP-1. They work by enhancing insulin secretion and reducing glucagon levels, ultimately leading to lower blood glucose levels. Additionally, they have been shown to promote weight loss by increasing feelings of fullness and reducing appetite. So, how do we ensure these benefits continue when you stop using them?

The Transition to Weight Maintenance

Ok, you’ve reached your goal and feel great! Congratulations!! You’ve earned a celebration, certainly, but now is not the time to let go of all your new habits. Now is the time to lock them in so you can hold on to that great feeling for the long term. Here are important things to consider as you stabilize and then maintain your weight.

Transitioning from active weight loss to maintenance requires a shift in mindset. It’s not about restriction but rather about finding a sustainable balance that suits your unique needs and preferences.

  1. Embrace a Balanced Diet: One of the cornerstones of maintaining weight loss is adopting a balanced and sustainable diet. Say goodbye to extreme calorie reduction and hello to a diverse array of nutrient-rich foods. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats should all have a place on your plate. It’s not about deprivation but about nourishing your body with the goodness it deserves. If you need help with a food plan that is appropriate for your new body, a professional diet coach or nutritionist can help by using advanced technology to measure your metabolic rate and helping you learn to choose nutrient-dense foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients important to our health while not containing too much salt, sugar or saturated fats.
  2. Mindful Eating Practices: Mindful eating can be a game-changer. Slow down, savor each bite, and pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Avoid distractions during meals, such as scrolling through your phone or watching TV, and enjoy the sensory experience of eating. Make a decision not to eat in the car (unless you have prepared for a long trip) or at your computer. Eating is an opportunity to nourish yourself.
  3. Portion Control: While it’s tempting to throw caution to the wind after reaching your weight loss goal, maintaining portion control remains crucial. Be mindful of serving sizes and consider using smaller plates at every meal.
  4. Protein Supplements: While it’s important to stay connected to the food that nourishes you and commit to cooking healthy foods, it can be very helpful to supplement or replace one or more of your meals each day with a high protein bar or shake that will help fill you up and keep your metabolism running. Choose a product designed to provide you with great nutrition, instead of one with fillers or high fat or sugar. Many real foods like nuts and dried fruits are high in both and can cause weight gain if overused. For example, 10 unsalted almonds is an appropriate portion.
  5. Hydration: Water is still your best friend. Stay hydrated throughout the day to support overall well-being and prevent dehydration, which can sometimes be mistaken for hunger. Plus, choosing water over sugary beverages is a win-win for your health. Try putting a slice of orange, lemon or lime or even a few berries in your water or unsweetened iced tea.
  6. Regular Physical Activity: The benefits of regular exercise extend far beyond weight loss. Engage in activities you love, whether it’s dancing, hiking, or lifting weights. Find joy in movement, and it’ll become an integral part of your lifestyle. Working up to walking two miles in about 30 minutes is considered by most physicians to be great exercise.
  7. Commit to Being Monitored: Allow for the opportunity to discuss any questions or challenges you may be facing. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is lifelong weight maintenance, especially after using Semaglutide or Tirzepatide for appetite suppression. It requires patience and persistence if you really want to stop using the medication and keep the weight off. Setbacks are a natural part of the process, and a professional team of medical weight loss coaches can help you make each day an opportunity to make choices that align with your goals. The voices in our heads (negative self-talk or “food noise”) can be quieted with the help of experienced professionals.
  8. Continue to Use Tools: Although some medical professionals believe that individuals will need to keep taking GLP-1 medications all their lives, if you are ready to try maintaining your weight without them you should consider substituting them with other effective tools that are not medications. Many commercial products promise the moon but don’t deliver results. However, there are all-natural foods and supplements that you can take to take the edge off your appetite or boost your energy level so that you do not need a sugar pick-me-up. All-natural boosters regulated by a pharmacy can be a critical component to help with the transition to your weight maintenance.

You Can Keep it Off!

As you navigate to weight maintenance after losing weight fast with GLP-1 medications, remember that you are not alone. The key is to find the science, support and tools to continue your healthy lifestyle….and let the positive changes you’ve made ripple through all aspects of your life.

Written by Susan Malzone, Director of LivLight Weight Loss

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