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March 27, 2024

Five questions about medical weight loss

Can't I just eat less and run more? Many have tried quick-fix/yo-yo diets and counting calories. It often results in rapid weight loss but is almost impossible to maintain. Embla founder (and doctor) Nicholas answers your questions about why medical weight loss differs.

Can’t I just eat less and move more?

Many people have tried this - the critical mistake is usually going to the extreme and trying very low-calorie diets or jumping straight into a vigorous exercise program. This results in yo-yo dieting and fluctuating weight gain. This is because the body wants to maintain the amount of fat it has built up - and does everything it can to keep it. Your body will burn fewer calories on a very low-calorie diet. It's a very clever mechanism if you lived back in the Stone Age when there was a risk of going through a long winter with very little food, but it doesn’t benefit today's society, where food and temptation are around every corner. It's a little more complicated than just eating less and running more to lose weight and maintain that weight loss.

So what are the options when it comes to weight loss?

One way is medical weight loss. In the body, the gut hormone, GLP-1, helps to regulate your appetite. If you add GLP-1-like medicine to the body, you can experience being full faster and thus consume fewer calories without feeling hungry. In this way, medical weight loss can help overcome the body's tendency to make you hungry and gain weight again.

How well does medical weight loss work?

Medical weight loss can help you achieve and maintain weight loss. A recognised study showed that by combining GLP-1-like medication with advice on a healthy lifestyle, a three times higher weight loss was achieved than if you only received advice on a healthy lifestyle. Most members at Embla lose around 1 kg per week in the first months, which is perfect. It must go slowly - otherwise, it will be challenging to maintain the weight loss, and the whole point is to help you achieve lasting weight loss!

How long will my weight loss last?

A long-term study showed that medical weight loss was sustained on medication over a three-year period. However, the weight loss stops once the medication is terminated, which is why it’s so important to combine the medication with a healthy lifestyle. This is more than just calorie/portion control but also entails: 1) getting enough sleep at night, 2) eating high-quality foods, and 3) making sure you move more. If you sleep less than 7 hours, you are more likely to crave unhealthy foods. If you eat high-quality food, you get a higher intake of protein and fibre, which helps you get full faster. Exercise and movement are good for maintaining weight loss, but it doesn't require you to become a marathon runner; walking every day also makes a big difference.

What are the specific medicines you use?

There are various options to choose from when it comes to medical weight loss. At Embla, we use precisely the drugs that mimic the effect of the appetite-regulating gut hormone GLP-1. One option here is Ozempic ®, which requires a prescription and is approved in the UK for weight loss. Medical weight loss is a relatively new method of achieving lasting weight loss, and if you look at the latest research, there will inevitably be even more treatment options over the next few years. (Word of warning: make sure that you always check with a Medical Doctor or consult your GP before trialling any over-the-counter medications, as these can be unregulated and dangerous if taken incorrectly). At Embla, all our medications are prescribed by a Registered Doctor, and your response to medication is monitored consistently throughout your journey with us.