Optimizing Health with Semaglutide: A Lifestyle Integration GuidePublished on Monday, December 18, 2023 by
Balancing Weight Loss and Diabetes Management with Semaglutide and Healthy Habits
Welcome to the guide that explores the relationship between semaglutide (Ozempic or Wegovy) and a balanced lifestyle. This article will explore the practical connections between semaglutide and crucial elements like exercise, stress management, sleep, and hydration. No hype, just straightforward insights into how semaglutide fits into your daily routine for better diabetes management and weight loss.
Whether starting a new health chapter or fine-tuning your current approach, this guide offers practical tips and a realistic perspective on integrating semaglutide into your life. This is a continuation of the articles Understanding Semaglutide: Medication, Digestive Health, and Side Effects and Optimizing Nutrition on Semaglutide: Strategies for Weight Management.
Exercise and Physical Activity
Taking semaglutide (Ozempic or Wegovy) can be an essential part of your treatment plan for diabetes management or weight loss. Whatever the reason for taking semaglutide, increasing your physical activity level is important. (Before beginning any exercise program, always discuss your plans with your healthcare provider.) There are multiple reasons why increased physical activity is essential. Studies show that when someone loses a significant amount of weight, they are likely to lose lean muscle and fat, which is true when using semaglutide.
When starting a weight loss program, the goal is to minimize lean muscle loss and maximize fat loss. The decreased number of calories eaten will result in weight loss. The best exercises to maintain and build muscle strength include a resistant component first and an endurance component second. Resistance exercises do not have to be complicated and, when first starting, can involve nothing more than your body weight and gravity. You can add more resistance with resistance bands or weights as you can do more.
Stress Management for Diabetes and Weight Loss
Many people with diabetes who monitor their blood sugar levels notice that when they are stressed, their blood glucose is higher or more difficult to control. The relationship between stress, diabetes, and obesity is studied a lot. There are short-term and long-term effects of stress on diabetes and obesity.
High blood sugar levels can occur even in people without diabetes because of physical or mental stress. Over time, this can lead to the body’s inability to process glucose correctly and the development of type 2 diabetes. This can cause lean muscle loss and fat accumulation.
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all cure for reducing stress. This article explores various strategies, such as maintaining a proper diet, ensuring adequate sleep, engaging in regular exercise, and staying hydrated, which can reduce stress. Additional options include incorporating practices like deep breathing, listening to music, receiving massages, seeking therapy or counseling, and journaling. Ultimately, individuals are encouraged to pinpoint the specific sources of their stress and identify coping mechanisms that work best for them.
Sleep, Hydration, and Weight Management
Quality Sleep for Blood Sugar Control
Quality sleep is a combination of getting enough sleep and ensuring that no underlying condition, like obstructive sleep apnea, affects your sleep quality. As I mentioned before, a good night's sleep can reduce the effect of stress on the body. Adults should get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Not enough, or low quality, sleep can make blood sugar more difficult to control.
Because chronic lack of sleep is very stressful for the body, it makes it harder to lose weight and increases the risk of other health issues like high blood pressure, heart attack, depression, and anxiety. If you suspect an underlying health condition like chronic insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea is affecting your sleep, then discuss this with your healthcare provider, as testing and treatment may be needed.
Hydration and Weight Loss
Most people have heard the advice that they need to “drink more water” but may have never understood how staying hydrated and weight loss are linked. As with many issues in weight loss, there is no simple answer. Drinking water can have various effects on your body, including appetite suppression by promoting a feeling of fullness. Additionally, consuming cold water may temporarily boost your metabolism. Water is essential for supporting muscle function during exercise, facilitating waste removal from the body, and aiding the body in burning fat for energy. Staying hydrated is likely beneficial for less easily studied and described aspects, such as improving your skin's appearance and enhancing your overall sense of energy.
Water is best to keep the body hydrated, and some of our other favorite drinks may dehydrate us. Unfortunately, many people struggle to drink plain water or may need to learn the amount to drink for a daily hydration goal. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine generally recommends about 91 ounces (11 cups) of water daily for women and 125 ounces (15 and a half cups) for men. But this is a combination of drinking water and fluid found in foods.
A better way to decide if you are getting enough hydration is to look at your urine. Yes, gaze at your pee, and if you are not on medicines that change its color, your urine should be light yellow, meaning you are likely hydrated.
Now that you can estimate how much to drink daily, the other issue you may need to overcome is the taste of plain water. Take comfort if plain water makes you go “Blech!” that you are not alone. On TikTok, the tag #watertok has over 880 million views. This trend started as helpful ideas for people who struggled to remain hydrated after surgical weight loss procedures. They include recipes for making water taste better.
If plain water makes you nauseous, tart or citrus flavors may be your best bet. There is no limit regarding the creativity of water flavoring ideas; a quick internet search will result in many suggestions if you are looking for a specific flavor profile.
Consulting a Healthcare Professional for Long-Term Success
Working Closely with Your Healthcare Team
Take Semaglutide only under the care of a licensed medical provider; it is a prescription medication. Both Wegovy and Ozempic are currently facing international shortages with no anticipated resolution in the near future. This shortage has led many individuals to seek prescriptions and medication in unusual places.
These medicines may come from compounding pharmacies that do not provide the name-brand product but what the Food and Drug Administration describes as “essentially a copy” of the product. When a medication is placed on a shortage list, the FDA allows compounded drug versions to be manufactured and sold.
However, individuals must be vigilant because, unfortunately, there are cases of individuals receiving items that look like the medicine they thought they were purchasing but were not at all. Raise red flags if someone informs you that your medication doesn't necessitate a prescription, the pharmacy lacks licensing in the United States (You can search for licensed pharmacies by state here), or the price appears unreasonably good.
Reviewing and Adjusting Your Treatment Plan
Before commencing treatment, engage in a discussion with your healthcare provider to establish goals and ensure a follow-up plan is in place. In the article Understanding Semaglutide: Medication, Digestive Health, and Side Effects, I explored the possibility of adjusting Semaglutide doses every four weeks, as necessary. Dosages can be increased or decreased based on requirements. These goals may include blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, goal weight, or weight loss within a particular time.
For people who experience bothersome side effects, they may be worse the day of or following their weekly injection. An option may be to delay your injection by a day or two if there is a significant event, like airplane travel or a job interview, that these side effects could significantly impact. Then, resume your regular dosing schedule, but do not take two doses within 48 hours of each other.
However, skipping more than one dose may cause increased side effects, and you may need to start back at a lower dose. It is essential to discuss any lengthy pause in treatment with your healthcare provider, as they can guide you on the best steps to follow.
Sharing Progress and Challenges
When setting out on a journey of change, having a support network is an integral part of the process. You may manifest support in various ways depending on your individual needs. Some people find emotional support to be beneficial. Find a support group or individual who knows your goals and will keep providing support.
You may need more practical support, like help with how to fit exercise time with your childcare schedule or how to afford healthier food options. Find organizations in your community, online, or create your own that can provide your needs. If you need inspiration, this can come from someone encouraging you to stick with a plan or even finding inspiration on websites.
The important thing is understanding that if you are trying to lose weight or get better control of your diabetes, even with the use of a medication like semaglutide, this is not going to be a straight line to your goal. Sharing your progress and the challenges you are experiencing can help you know what you have achieved and overcome in your journey.
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- Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (2023, June 8). Locate a state-licensed online pharmacy. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/drugs/besaferx-your-source-online-pharmacy-information/locate-state-licensed-online-pharmacy
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- NewsWire, H. (2020, January 15). Yes, drinking more water may help you lose weight. The Hub. https://hub.jhu.edu/at-work/2020/01/15/focus-on-wellness-drinking-more-water/
Ashlie MorrisseyDNP, AGNP-C