Does the weight loss jab work? We’ve looked into the data and suggested some much cheaper alternatives.

We’ve worked with thousands of women over forty who were looking to drop a couple of dress sizes and fit back into all their favourite clothes. 

Perhaps you can relate: These women had tried what felt like EVERYTHING! From cardio to low carb, no matter what they tried they struggled to see results.

They’d still step on the scales after a hard week of dieting and see ZERO movement.

This is never a nice position for anyone to be in. And many of the women we’ve worked with had started to consider going to extreme measures to drop the excess weight… like weight loss injections.

A weight loss jab that has gained popularity in the US has recently been approved for use by the NHS in England. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) concluded semaglutide, marketed as Wegovy, is safe, effective and affordable.

Celebs such as Kim Kardashian, Elon Musk, and Jeremy Clarkson have reportedly used the drug to aid their own weight loss.

But the question is…

Does the Hollywood Weight Loss Jab work, and should you consider weight loss injections as a woman over 40?

In today’s blog we reveal the truth about Wegovy weight loss injections and how that compares to other weight loss methods for women over 40. You can also listen to this blog as a podcast.

What is the Wegovy weight loss jab and how does it work?

Wegovy is the trade name for Semaglutide – a drug developed to aid with weight loss. Wegovy is a once-a-week injection, which you can inject into your leg, stomach or arms.

It works by suppressing appetite by mimicking the hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). Essentially, it tells the brain it’s full so you’re less likely to overeat. The average person on the drug consumes about 35% fewer calories.

It sounds like a bit of a miracle drug, right? So, what are the drawbacks?

Most people have to pay for it

The drug is only going to be available to people with a BMI of over 35 on the NHS (or those classed as morbidly obese). 

For the average female who’s 5’6” – this would mean they’d need to weigh around 16 stone to be eligible. Plus, they must have a weight related comorbidity – i.e. any health problem that commonly develops alongside obesity, like diabetes.

So, if you can’t get it free, then what are the costs? It’s quoted at starting from £73 a week, although we’ve only seen it listed for much more – up to £170.

This doesn’t sound too bad, but it’s also been shown in studies that the weight loss stops and you start regaining the weight as soon as you stop taking it. So you’ve got to take it for as long as you want to keep the weight off – even for the rest of your life.

If you wanted to sustain the weight loss for 10 years, this would cost approximately £38,000 at its current price.

If you want to keep it off for the rest of your life – say for 40-odd years – it’s going to cost over £150,000.

And even if you initially got it free on the NHS, you’d have to start paying for it once it started working and your BMI dropped below 35.

It won’t work if your weight gain is caused by these two things

One factor which will cause the drug to not work is drinking too much.

This is one of the most common problems we see in clients before we start working with them. Wegovy is an appetite suppressant, so it won’t stop you from reaching for that glass of wine after a stressful day at work.

Wegovy also won’t help with emotional eating. A lot of people eat, not because they’re hungry, but for emotional reasons. For example, after a hard day of work where everything seems to have gone wrong. This isn’t driven by hunger, it’s driven by emotions.

These are both very common problems for the women we work with who work in high-pressure jobs.

So, unless you’re only eating too much because you’re hungry all the time, then it may actually not solve the problem.

Hormonal changes

For women over 40, hormonal changes can be a major factor in not being able to lose weight. Hormonal changes related to menopause can make it easier to gain weight around the middle area – and more difficult to lose it again with normal dieting.

Weight loss injections essentially just make you eat a bit less food. This might work for women in their 20s and 30s but won’t necessarily work for women over 40 if hormones are the main thing stopping you from losing weight.

If you’ve already been struggling to see movement on the scales through dieting due to hormonal changes, you’re unlikely to see a massive difference if you add in weight loss injections. 

Muscle loss

Losing weight with injections doesn’t involve any exercise. It’s hard to find the energy to exercise if you’re not eating enough by suppressing your appetite.

And if you don’t exercise, you will lose muscle mass. This may look like progress on the scales, but it’s actually got a lot of downsides.

Less muscle means you might:

  1. Feel more flabby
  2. Feel weaker
  3. Have less energy
  4. Develop a slower metabolism

Lots of the clients we work with explicitly say they don’t want to end up losing the weight only to look worse because of these factors.

Instead, make subtle lifestyle changes

Here are a few easy changes you can make to get the same weight loss effects, for free.

Get more sleep

Lack of sleep disrupts hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin. Studies have shown people consistently eat significantly more when underslept. 

One study presented two groups of people with a buffet and told them to eat until full. One group were sleeping 8 hours a day and one sleeping 5 hours a day. Those sleeping 5 hours a day ate 300 calories more in one sitting… That’s a similar change in appetite as Wegovy.

If you’re experiencing sleep issues due to hormonal changes, you may want to investigate HRT – as well as other lifestyle factors like caffeine. This his will likely solve the root cause of the problem, and a number of other menopause side effects. Whereas a weight loss injection will only work on the symptom of the problem.

Eat more protein and fibre

Protein is satiating and most people don’t get enough of it. It digests really slowly, and when we eat protein, the gut releases cholecystokinin (CCK) – telling your brain (through the vagus nerve) to stop eating.

Fibre, similar to protein, slows down digestion keeping you full for much longer. 

Adding these foods into your diet can significantly aid in weight loss.

Improve stress resilience to avoid emotional eating

If you’re always turning to food or drink after a hard day of work, then you need to deal with the root cause of the problem.

We need to manage stress in a better way – there’s lots of tools to do this.

We use a tool called the Stress Shield which takes less than 10 minutes a day and enables our clients to consistently make better food and drinks choices. Plus, they can enjoy life better as stress isn’t always getting the better of them.

We help our clients to make all of these lifestyle changes and they typically lose 1-2 stone every 12 weeks. The best bit? Over the course of just one year, they learn how to lose weight and sustain it for good, not just whilst they’re paying for it.

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